As the triple option play evolved, defenses were forced into finding new ways to defend this new triple threat in ways that had never been done before. Enter in the technique known early on as wrong arming, but referred to in this text as block down, step down (BDSD). BDSD is a technique used by defenses that allow them to attack gap blocking schemes and veer schemes by having a defensive lineman squeeze a down block and close the gap being run to with his body and the body of the offensive player attempting to inside release. The defender, usually a linebacker, behind this defensive lineman, will then execute a scrape technique and work over the top of the down block and essentially, run a gap exchange with the defensive lineman (as shown in figure 5-1). This technique, all but killed the triple option in the mid to late 80's and early 90's. Many triple option coaches did not have an answer for this and quit running the play altogether. The main reason this technique was so effective is that the technique, by design, took away the heart and soul of the triple option offense, the fullback.
Figure 5-1 (Gap Exchange)
The play that put the triple option back on the map was known early on as the Zone Dive (Figure 5-2). The zone dive is just what it explains, it is a dive play that is zone blocked. The basic premise of the play, is that all the offensive linemen will scoop block toward the playside, or in the case of both the playside tackle and playside guard being covered they will base block the play. The playside slot will get up field and look to block second to third level trash that may be attempting to come inside on the B back. The quarterback's job on this play is to get the football as deep as possible to the B back, then carry out the triple option fake. The backside slot will go in two step motion and carry out the pitch fake. The B back, will take the normal steps as on the triple option play, but will receive the ball deeper than normal. Getting the ball deeper, will allow the B back to read the blocks of the playside guard and tackle. The B back should hug the block of the guard and either stay on track, or cut the ball back against the grain. The B back should never allow this play to bounce wider than the normal inside veer track.
Figure 5-2 (Zone dive)
The purpose of the zone dive is to keep the B back in the game, if the defense is playing sound football and taking the B back out of the running game using BDSD. However, there are other ways to still keep the B back involved in the run game without zone blocking. A way to get the B back the ball without zone blocking is the Give play.
Figure 5-3 (Give play)
The give, as shown in Figure 5-3, is blocked somewhat similar to the zone dive, however, in the author’s opinion it packs a little more of a punch than the zone dive. The rules for the give play are as follows:
· PST: Block number two on the line of scrimmage
· PSG: Block number one on the line of scrimmage
· C: Scoop
· BSG: Scoop
· BST: Scoop
· PSWR: Stalk
· PSSB: Fold, block first linebacker to the playside
· BSWR: Cutoff
· BSSB: Two step motion, run pitch course
· B back: Lateral step, explode downhill reading the block of the playside guard, run to daylight.
· QB: Get ball back as deep as possible to B back, hand ball off and carry out option fake (key coaching point, is do not look back)
With the play side slot folding inside for the linebacker, everyone is accounted for. Having run both these plays at the high school level, the author has had a lot more success running the give play than the zone dive. That's not to say one is better than the other, the point behind this chapter, is to show the importance of establishing the B back in the run game. The benefits of running either play are:
· Keeps one of the best runners on the field in the ball game, doing what they do best, running the football
· Added with twirl motion (Figure 5-4) this play can be an easy counter play to keep the defense honest and not rotating or jumping motion
· Keeps the defense honest in having to defend all three phases of the triple option
· Allows for the playaction passing game to still be effective off of the triple option look
· Allows the offense to gash the defense if they are overplaying the pitch phase of the triple option
Figure 5-4 (Give play with twirl motion)
It is imperative that the flexbone offense, have a way to keep the B back involved in the run game. As will be shown in later chapters there are other ways to get the B back the football, however the zone dive, or the give play, are plays that keep the B back with the football, and force the defense to be honest when facing the triple option.