Category Archives: Spread Offense

Adding Unbalanced Formations to Your Offense

One of least utilized tools in the Offensive Coordinator’s toolbox has to be the use of the unbalanced offensive formations.

What I mean by unbalanced formations is either covering up an eligible receiver by other receivers to create an overload, or switching an offensive lineman and a receiver such as a TE to create dilemma between defending the passing or running strength.

Many option offenses often use different types of unbalanced formations, but not many Zone or Gap teams utilize these looks. The purpose of this article will be to present unbalanced formation concepts to these types of offenses to use against defenses when a schematic advantage might be needed versus a superior opponent. Continue reading

Basics of the Shotgun Power Read Concept

We see a lot of teams running Power Read concept. Some people call this Power Option, or Inverted Veer, or something else. Whatever you call the play, it’s the old school Power or “Power-O” concept.

What exactly is the Power Read concept? The offensive line is basically blocking Power, except the offense is reading the defensive end instead of kicking him out. If you do this from a 2 back set, the fullback or H-back player can now leak into the alley.

Power Read vs 4-2

Notice The Double Rather than a Combo Block on the 3 Technique

Let’s take a deeper dive into the play, including differences with the traditional power scheme and some clips from Baylor in 2013.
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Here’s 3 Quick Passing Game Keys to Ensure Offensive Success

Find out how coaches are easily transforming their offense with no-new concepts

There’s been a lot of emphasis on the middle to deep passing game lately that the quick passing game is losing it’s luster.

A quality quick passing game can transform your offense, eliminate tendencies, and improve 1st down efficiency.

Quick Passing Game Key #1: BE QUICK

Emphasis on the QUICK. The quick passing game depends on swift ball release. Continue reading

3 Reasons to Run the Midline Option

The midline option is often forgotten in today’s days of the spread offense. The Zone read, the triple option, etc… all still thrive, even when the team is in the gun.

But what happened to the Midline option? There are a few exceptions, for instance, Oregon has been known to run it – must notably getting it blown up by Auburn’s defensive tackles in their national championship game a few years ago.

But unless you’re going up against first round picks with freakish like athleticism every play, midline option is still a good concept.

QB Midline Option Pull

Here’s 3 reasons you should run the midline option, no matter what offense you run.
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Two Constraint Plays to Make The Veer Offense Explode

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.
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4 Keys to Option Football

There are four keys to option football. Option football, whether you use the triple option or a double option, can stress the defense and force them to avoid blitzing or overloading one side of the ball.

Whether you are a team that focuses on running the option, or do it to keep your base bread and butter plays running smoothly, these four keys should add to your option football offense. Continue reading

Football Passing Play Series: The Smash Route or Smash Concept

The smash route in football, better known as the smash concept or smash pattern in football, is pass pattern designed to attack the defense vertically. When used as a full field concept, rather than a two man half field concept, it becomes both a horizontal and vertical pass pattern. The smash route or smash pattern is one of the most utilized football passing plays.

Defining The Smash Route or Smash Concept

We say the smash route pattern is a vertical pass pattern because it stretches the defense between the corner and safety mainly. When a single route (like a drag, in or dig) stretches from the backside or the backfield, it becomes a horizontal stretch as well. This is because your attacking more areas of the defense (specifically the hook to curl zone). This defender can usually help defend the hook or curl, but with the drag coming across, he can only occupy one or the other. If the drag route identifies a hole in the zone, he should slow down and settle in that area for the QB. He should keep moving however.

smash route smash concept 2x1 slot i formationThe #1 receiver runs a quick hitch route. A number of people run this hitch route differently, sometimes even depending on where they are on the field. The idea is the same though, someone to occupy the flat with the #1 receiver. I like to have the receiver try to force an outside release because that tends to scare clouded corners. This makes them forget about sinking with the #2 receiver’s vertical route. By attacking the corner, we make his life harder. In the worst case scenario, we get an easier outside release and a fairly easy catch.

The #2 receiver should work vertically to a distance of 10-12 yards before breaking to the corner (ironically, this is called a corner route). For added enhancement, if this player is athletic, a double move at the top of the route can be effective. One step or even a head jab to the post can get a safety flat footed. This player needs to be athletic to do this however. If the safety fails to fall inside, he should be prepared for the throw to be flatter from the QB in-case the corner doesn’t sink, almost like a dig route, but to the outside. It is up to the receiver to find the ball on the smash route and adjust his route.

To make the play most effective, someone should occupy the hook to curl or curl to flat defender. That could be a play action pass, or a receiver from the backside.

Formations for the Smash Route or Smash Concept

The smash route can be run from many types of formations. For instance, the Smash route can be run from 2×1 receiver 21 personnel sets, like the I formation. The smash concept can be run from 2×2 receiver 11, 10 and 12 personnel sets as well. Finally, the most interesting use, in my opinion, is running the smash route out of trips sets, regardless of the personnel and specific variation. For those curious, trips would be a 3×1 receiver set and potentially a 10, 11 or 12 personnel set.

Trips Variations for the Smash Route or Smash Concept

When running the smash route out of trips sets, you can do it a number of ways. My favorite is a vertical stretch with the #3 receiver, especially if that player is an athletic tight end who is closed to the trips side, however it can be run out of any of these sets.

Smash Route or Smash Concept out of 2x1

Smash Route out of 2×1

The #1 and #2 receiver would follow their same basic rules for the normal smash route concept, a hitch and a corner respectively.

The #3 receiver can run a go or streak route. He should use his hands and not get knocked off his route. He should fight pressure with anticipated pressure and stay in the seam. If the middle of the field is open, he should take that area and bend inside slightly. If the middle of the field is closed, he should lock eyes with the middle third defender and force him to be covered. If the tight end is an athletic target, or a tall target, this could be a great mismatch.

QB Reads on the Smash Route or Smash Concept

I like the R4 system. I would look for pre-snap “caps” to accelerate the read. If any receiver is re-routed, I would accelerate the read again past that receiver.

The rhythm route would be the #2 receiver. The Read route would be the hitch. Rush route would be the drag.

In the R4 system, two rhythm’s make a read. So for the trips variation, you would go corner as the rhythm, vertical as the read, and hitch as the rush route. Thanks to Coach Thompson and Coach Maddox for the assistance with regards to that.

Conclusions on the Smash Route Or Smash Pattern Football Passing Play

The smash route is a great concept overall. The smash concept is utilized in a variety of forms, plenty of which I have not described here. I encourage you to take a look at other resources as well on the topic.