The veer offense, whether it’s the split back veer or a gun option run “spread offense’ (the 4 receiver version), or something else, is an explosive offense that forces the defense to play sound fundamental football. However, besides the base option plays, the veer offense needs a few constraint plays to make it very successful.
The veer offense though isn’t all about option plays, and I’m here to talk about those other plays. Yes, inside veer, outside veer, midline, load option, bubble screens, and speed options are all important. However, the constraint plays are what make them work. Let’s break down the veer offense’s constraint plays.
The Veer Offense Constraint Play #1: The Dive
Yep, it’s as simple as the dive. The veer offense often has problems with defensive gap exchanges. A gap exchange occurs when a defensive linemen steps down to replace an offensive linemen. The linebacker or sometimes safety needs to replace his outside gap as it’s unreasonable to expect the defensive linemen to do both.
Well, for the veer option versus a 5-2 or under front defense, this means that when the Sam linebacker (or 5-2 defensive end) outside the tight end steps down when he get’s a linemen blocking down (aka block down step down rules) taking the dive, that another linebacker/safety must take the outside gap and is now a QB player. This makes it hard for the tackle or tight end to “veer” block up to that replacing linebacker because he will be scraping so hard outside.
That’s when the veer offense can use the dive. You can block the dive a number of ways. Some people basically wedge it, while others like Milt Tenopir of Nebraska lore used inside zone blocking.
Regardless, the runner who would be the dive back is automatically getting the ball while we fake the option with zero intent of giving it. Because we don’t care about the pitch, we don’t really have to account for it in the blocking scheme. If the outside linebacker scrapes over the top because we used wedge blocking, then he’s not going to play the play within 4 or 5 yards. If you do that enough times, he’ll stop scraping over the top and your traditional inside and outside veer plays will open back up.
The Veer Offense Constraint Play #2: Play Action
When we talk about constraint plays, or plays that really take advantage of a defense’s reaction to a base play, we tend to forget about play action. Whether that’s power pass for a power-o based offense, or an inside veer pass for a veer offense, it’s an important element we cannot forget about.
One of my favorites is off of inside veer if you arc release your tight end to the safety. By using the arc release on inside veer, you accomplish 3 important things (1) slow down the end or Sam linebacker on the line to the QB because he has to respect the reach block of the tight end (2) make the safety play flat footed (3) add a 4th option responsibility, the receiver running a route.
Most defenses plan for 3 option responsibilities. Dive. QB. Pitch. Often forgotten about is the route run by the middle receiver.
In this example, I highlighted the free safety. The QB’s initial read is his level. He should ask himself, can my tight end break any CAP on the route by the safety (if you don’t know what the cap is, look for R4 QB materials)? After the snap he should confirm that. If the safety is looking run, then the tight end’s seam route should be open. If he’s reading pass every time there are 2 things (1) we should be arc blocking more and (2) the slant or the flare route that looks like the pitch should be open.
Notice of course how we protected this. You can use a BOB scheme, or big on big, or you can use a half slide protection. Half slide makes sense to me. Full slide can work too, except you’ll only have one back in the protection, but you will get more of the inside veer fake. Overall, I like slide protections for play actions for the veer offense because it looks a lot like the actual plays.
Conclusions on the Veer Offense
The Veer offense is terrific by itself. However, it does need some non-option plays to really get it working. These constraint plays, both the dive and play action pass, are really just two examples of how to make the veer offense really explode.