Sunday, August 14, 2011

Counter Iso

In the flexbone offense, there is not a better counter to inside veer (IV) than counter iso.  With most of us playing under Federation rules, cut blocking is not allowed, and to be honest, most of us don't have all that athletic of guards anyway!  I know Navy and Georgia Tech have the counter option, but counter iso is a much simpler play, that requires no additional reads by the quarterback (QB).  I'm going to explain not only the "in's and out's" of the play, but I'm going to describe the "when and why" as well.  So sit back, hold on, grab a beer, and let's talk about one of the best misdirection plays in all of football.

The rules for counter iso are very simple, and are shown below:

Playside Tackle: #2 LOS
Playside Guard: #1 LOS
Center: Scoop
Backside Guard: Scoop
Backside Tackle: Scoop
Playside Wide Receiver: Stalk
Playside Slot: Twirl motion, iso block first linebacker to the playside
Backside Wide Receiver: Across field technique
Backside Slot: Drop step, come flat off fullback's tail (fake) take handoff and cut up in B gap area
Fullback: IV path opposite of play
Quarterback: Flash IV fake to FB, hand ball off to slot, carry out book fake.

Very simple, now let's look at this play vs. several defenses, first up, the 4-3.

The PST will take the DE, who is used to having the tackle veer release, and now has to deal with the kickout block.  The PSG, and C handle the nose in this illustration, however if it was a three technique, the guard would have the three by himself.  The PSSB: goes in twirl motion and on the snap, isolates the first LB to the playside.  I do not consider a middle LB a playside LB, so he will block the OLB in this case.  The center and PSG scoop the one, to the MLB, and the backside scoops.  Now let's look at a common odd front, the 3-4 or 5-2 defense.

Here, the DE/OLB is treated as #2 on the LOS, so the PST will kick him out, and the PSG will kick out the four or five technique (or four-I).  The rest is scoop blocking, with the PSSB taking the PSLB.  Staying with odd fronts, let's look at the 5-3, or 3-5 (also the 3-3).

Again, treat the OLB/invert/dogs (whatever you call them) as the #2 LOS and all the blocking rules hold true.  Even if you tackle has to chase this player in space, block the defense the same way.  This keeps things consistent. 

Counter iso is great against a good fast flowing defense, especially ones that employ a MLB.  In triple option football, as an offensive coordinator, when IV quits working it is because of two things:
  1. You are physically whipped at the point of attack.
  2. The defense is getting too many players across the "crease" and overplaying the triple option.
When number one happens, it can be a long day, and the counter iso, certainly will not make your players superhuman.  When number two is occurring however, you have the answer with counter iso!  When players are jumping your motion, or action to get across the crease you call counter iso.  Now, these players are slower to the point of attack and have to stay honest with the counter threat you have shown.  This makes them easier to block, and you can get back to running IV again! 

Another good time to look at running counter iso, is when the secondary rotates with you motion (even shell).  This usually means a LB on the backside is having to play the force player, and if this backside force player is getting "nosey" on IV, you've got em' right where you want em'! 

Secondary rotation with motion

From a defensive standpoint, counter iso is so much more dangerous than the old counter trey or GT counter as some call it, simply because it's a key breaker.  The reason for this is, there are NO pulling linemen.  Good LB's are taught to read either backfield to OL, or OL to backfield.  Well, in the case of counter iso, there is not much in the way of good keys to read.  I have defended this play for years, and I can honestly say it's a very tough football play to get your players to read and defend. 

GT counter

I liked, and used this play so much, we even used it as a counter to Rocket as well.  The blocking was the same, but the handoff was over the top, instead of underneath.  The FB was also the lead blocker instead of the slot.  Again, another excellent key breaker to use against the defense if they overplaying motion, or the play itself.

Here are some video clips of both counter iso and rocket counter iso.  You can see, we had some very small and weak players who were able to execute this against some formidable opponents.  It is a good play, and should be in every flexbone coaches arsenal. 

Well, getting ready for practice this week, can't wait, looking forward to the challenge of dealing with a different age group.  Posts may be few and far between so bear with me.  For those that have already started, stay the course, and knock em' dead!