Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Flexbone Supplemental Running Plays

In the flexbone triple option offense, every supplemental play is used to do one thing and one thing only...attack what the defense is doing to stop the triple option. Yes, this offense is that simple. The goal of the offense should be to line up and run 60 offensive plays with all of them being the triple option. Knowing that won't be possible, because defenses will begin to jump motion, or start doing things that have them overplaying the triple. This is when the supplemental run game comes in to play. Again, refer to the "If-Then" sheet in this book (Table 2-1) for a user's guide on when and where to run certain formations and plays to take advantage of what the defense is doing to take away the triple option.
Midline-The Triple Option's Cousin
Midline is the author’s favorite play in all of football. Midline has many faces, and serves many purposes within the flexbone offense. Like the inside veer, midline attacks a down defensive lineman by reading him, most notably the three technique (figure 7-1). Midline can be run as a double or triple option, and has numerous ways that it can be blocked, which is what makes the midline option such a dangerous option play in and of itself.

Figure 7-1 (Three Technique)
Midline Blast
Blast is a power midline play, that is meant to put as many blockers on one side of the offense so that it overwhelms the defense at the point of attack. Blast (figure 7-2) is the first midline variation that should be installed. The Blast play is a very good power or short yardage play, that is still an option play. The name Blast was derived from telling the slots both backs in the B gap, so the name of the play began with the letter "b". The rules for the Blast play are as follows:
·         PST- On to outside
·         PSG- Inside gap, playside linebacker to backside linebacker
·         C- On, backside gap, backside linebacker
·         BSG- Scoop
·         BST- Smart scoop
·         PSWR- Stalk
·         PSSB- Fold, block inside half of B gap, first defender to show, do not touch the HOK
·         BSWR- Cutoff
·         BSSB- Tail motion, lead through B gap and block outside half of the B gap
·         B back- Midline path, secure ball if given and bend back behind the HOK, if ball not given absorb the tackle and keep running
·         QB- Step off the midline, and read the first down lineman outside the B gap. Same reads as the inside veer handoff phase. If a give read is made, seat the ball in the B back's pocket and carry out option fake. If the defense gives a pull read, allow the B back to clear and then run the ball in the B gap, following the BSSB; it is important to stay in the B gap.

Figure 7-2 (Midline Blast)
Midline Seal/Fold
Some defenses will attempt to key the slot back, and this can really be detrimental to the success of the blast play. This is where both Midline Seal and Midline Fold come in to play. Midline Seal simply tells the play side slot to execute a seal block instead of a fold block (see Figure 7-3). All the other rules stay the same as Midline Blast. This will pull the outside linebacker and not allow him to attack the B gap on the quarterback pull.

Figure 7-3 (Midline Seal)
            Midline Fold is a similar play, however the play side slot will fold block instead of seal block. The backside slot, instead of lead blocking through the B gap, will now get into pitch relationship on the snap, and is simply used as a decoy (Figure 7-4). Midline fold is also a very good play to run with twirl motion to help further confuse the defense (Figure 7-5).

Figure 7-4 (Midline Fold)

Figure 7-5 (Midline Fold with twirl motion)
Midline Triple
A dangerous weapon that can be employed by the Flexbone offense is the Midline Triple Option. This play is deadly as there is not a single defensive lineman that will be blocked to the play side. The play is tagged by either calling it “arc” (Figure 7-6) or “switch” (Figure 7-7) to determine the perimeter blocking scheme. The rules for Midline Arc are listed below:
·         PST- Easiest release, play side linebacker to near safety
·         PSG- Inside gap, play side linebacker to backside linebacker
·         C- On, backside gap, backside linebacker
·         BSG- Scoop
·         BST- Smart scoop
·         PSWR- Stalk
·         PSSB- Arc block near safety
·         BSWR- Cutoff
·         BSSB- Pitch course, there is no motion used on this play
·         QB- Step off the midline, and read the first down lineman outside the B gap. Same reads as the inside veer handoff phase. If a give read is made, seat the ball in the B back's pocket and carry out option fake. If the defense gives a pull read, attack the pitch key and make the same pitch reads as the inside veer.

Figure 7-6 (Midline Arc)

Figure 7-7 (Midline Switch)

The only difference in arc and switch is who the play side slot and play side wide receiver block. When switch is called, these two players simply switch assignments.
            Some things to consider about adding Midline Triple to the offense’s arsenal is the experience of the quarterback. Midline Triple is a very fast hitting play, that takes very quick reflexes to run. The author does not recommend running this play with a first year quarterback, until they are completely sure of themselves with the other option plays within the offense.
            Midline Triple is also a very good play to run with twirl motion. Since the pitch back has plenty of time to get in pitch relationship, It is recommended to run this play with twirl motion (Figure 7-8).

Figure 7-8 (Midline Arc with twirl motion)
For more on midline, go here.
Other Supplemental Runs
Quarterback Follow
The follow play (Figure 7-9) is a very good way to keep the ball in the hands of the quarterback, and is a great short yardage or goal line play. The blocking on the play is very simple and can even be run with twirl motion to add a counter-effect to keep the defense guessing.

·         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 inside half of the B gap.
·         BSWR: Cutoff
·         BSSB: Run pitch course
·         B back: Inside veer fake block outside half of the B gap.
·         QB: Flash veer fake to B back, and follow B back into the B gap.

Figure 7-9 (Quarterback Follow)
Counter Iso
Counter iso is a play used when the defense is over committing to stopping the triple option. The key to look for is if the backside linebacker is making the tackle on the dive phase on the triple option. The counter iso is a very simple play, that is deadly to the defense because the play gives no keys to what's being run. There are no pulling linemen for the linebackers to key on, and there is twirl motion, so if the linebackers are sliding with motion, then they will be severely out of position.
            There are two ways to run the counter iso, the first, shown in Figure 7-10, is run the slot back. Here are the rules for how to run the play:
·         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: Twirl motion, block first linebacker to the play side
·         BSWR: Cutoff
·         BSSB: Drop step, take outside handoff from quarterback; upon receiving handoff plant and follow PSSB into the B gap
·         B back: Inside veer fake and block first threat to show outside of BST
·         QB: Flash veer fake to B back, make outside handoff to slot back and carry out option fake away (do not look back)
With no moving parts for the linebackers to key on, the counter iso can be a very deadly play if the defense if jumping the triple option.

Figure 7-10 (Counter Iso)
            Another way to run the counter iso, is with the quarterback. All the rules are the same except after the fake, the quarterback reverse pivots and follows the play side slot into the B gap. The backside slot will simply run the pitch course, as show in Figure 7-11.

Figure 7-11 (QB Counter Iso)
Counter Option
Counter option is another good play to run when the defense is over playing the triple option. This is a tough play to run, if the offensive players are not allowed to cut block. If  in an area that does not allow cut blocking, The suggested play is the Counter Iso play. If blockers can cut, then the Counter Option is the play that should be utilized. The rules for Counter Option (Figure 7-12) are shown below:

·         PST: Release inside and block inside to the first linebacker over you or to the inside (you will block a four-eye).
·         PSG: Base (inside, over, outside or nearest linebacker) to “ace” with the center.
·         C: Block back for pulling guard.
·         BSG: Pull play side and log block the handoff key.
·         BST: Scoop
·         PSWR: Stalk
·         PSSB: Twirl motion, arc to near safety.
·         BSWR: Cutoff
·         BSSB: Run pitch course.
·         B back: Dive fake, block first threat outside the BST.
·         QB: Flash dive fake, reverse pivot, and attack pitch key, follow normal pitch phase rules for pitching the football.
            The simplicity of Counter Option is what makes this play so special. The offense is essentially blocking the inside veer play (as shown in Chapter Four), with the backside guard pulling to block the handoff key. The trick here is that log block is tough if the guard cannot cut block. For this reason, the author recommends, in areas that do not allow the cut block, running the Counter Iso play instead.

Figure 7-12 (Counter Option)
Rocket Toss
Rocket is a great way to get the football to the edge of the defense in a hurry. Rocket is run when defenses attempt to stunt or blitz inside to stop the triple option. Rocket Toss will burn a stunting or blitzing defense every time, due to their weakened flank, and lack of inside pursuit. Here's how to run Rocket Toss (Figure 7-13):

·         PST: Dip and rip outside handoff key, block linebacker to near safety.
·         PSG: Pull and lead play into alley, block first opposite color jersey to show.
·         BSG: Scoop
·         BST: Scoop
·         PSWR: Stalk
·         PSSB: Arc block alley, block first opposite color jersey to show.
·         BSWR: Cutoff
·         BSSB: Tail motion, run full speed, and catch pitch no closer than behind the PST, run hash, numbers, to sideline; do not cut back.
·         B back: Block first defender outside the BST.
·         QB: Reverse pivot and pitch the ball to the slot back. Reverse out and fake bootleg away.

Figure 7-13 (Rocket Toss)

            It is the responsibility of the quarterback to get the slot the ball. A coaching point that should be engrained in the runner's head is that he cannot get wide enough on this play. To further illustrate this point, the coach should tell the quarterback if he feels he cannot pitch the ball to the slot, then throw it. This play is meant to attack the flank of the defense immediately.
            Some adjustments that can be made to the play are to crack block the perimeter with the wide receiver. To add to this play, run it out of the Tight formation as shown in Figure 7-14.

Figure 7-14 (Tight Rocket Crack)
            Against seven man fronts, the perimeter can be blocked by utilizing arc blocking (Figure 7-13), or switch blocking (Figure 7-15). The crack block scheme can be used as well. No matter, which scheme is utilized, varying the perimeter blocking is sure to keep the perimeter defenders guessing.

Figure 7-15 (Rocket Switch)

Speed Option
Speed option (Figure 7-16) is not a play necessarily designed to attack defenses that are taking away the triple option, yet it is a play that is designed to keep the B back in the run game. Even more so, the speed option involves the B back in the perimeter run game. The B back is usually one of the offense’s best athletes, so why not have a play that keeps him involved in the running game? This play is best run out of the Trips formation as shown below.

Figure 7-16 (Speed Option)

·         PST: Scoop
·         PSG: Scoop
·         C: Scoop
·         BSG: Scoop
·         BST: Scoop
·         PSWR: Stalk
·         PSSB: Block the handoff key, if he disappears inside, work second to third level.
·         BSWR: Cutoff
·         Flexed Slot: Crack block first defender aligned head up to the inside; no defender head up to inside work inside second level to third level.
·         B back: Drop step, open play side and run pitch course.
·         QB: Reverse pivot, and attack pitch key; pitch off first unblocked defender outside the handoff key.
            This play is not run as some traditionalists run it. The author has attempted to run this play in its traditional form (that involved a pulling guard), but did not have much success with it. Utilizing scoop blocking along the offensive line helps prevent stunts and blitzes from destroying this play. The speed option is a quick, explosive way to get the football to one of the offense’s best athletes on the perimeter of the defense.
            The supplemental run game is based on one premise, and that is to take away what the defense is doing to stop the triple option. These supplemental plays are not a grab bag offensive scheme where the coach picks and chooses what to run. There is a basic formula, as discussed in Chapter Two about how and when these plays are to be called.
Additional Run Plays
Some additional run plays that can be added to the offense are the Rocket Counter Iso, Trap (both counter and give), Belly, Iso, and the Lead Option. These plays are not necessary however, and should only be added once the basic running game has been established and perfected.
Rocket Counter Iso
Rocket Counter Iso, is basically the Counter Iso play, but off of Rocket action. The blocking is exactly the same as Counter Iso, except that the play side slot that goes in motion, will fake receiving the toss, and the B back will be the lead blocker (Figure 7-17).

Figure 7-17 (Rocket Counter Iso)
This is a great play if Rocket has become a staple of the offense.
Give Trap
One good play off Midline action is the trap play. Trap, when coupled with Midline, is the perfect way to make a three techniques life miserable. The rules for the Give Trap (Figure 7-18) are similar to the rules for the Midline Triple play:

·         PST: Easiest release, play side linebacker to near safety.
·         PSG: Inside gap, play side linebacker to backside linebacker.
·         C: Block back for pulling guard.
·         BSG: Pull, trap first man on to outside the PSG.
·         BST: Scoop
·         PSWR: Stalk
·         PSSB: Arc near safety (can run with twirl motion too).
·         BSWR: Cutoff
·         BSSB: Pitch course.
·         B back: Midline path.
·         QB: Midline steps, give ball to B back, and run option fake.

Figure 7-18 (Give Trap)
Counter Trap
The Counter Trap, in Figure 7-19, is blocked the same as the give trap, however the action is off of the Rocket Toss play. The B back will step play side one step to clear the quarterback and then will cut back taking the handoff and run directly over the center.

Figure 7-19 (Counter Trap)
Belly (Figure 7-20) is run much the same as the Give play discussed in Chapter Five, but the backfield action is slightly different. The quarterback simply reverse pivots and gives the ball to the B back, running behind a fold block by the play side slot.

Figure 7-20 (Belly)
Iso is a good way to get the ball to a downhill runner that the team might have at the slot back position. This is usually rare to have since the B backs and quarterbacks are usually designated as good downhill runners, however sometimes the offense needs a way to simply hand the ball off to a runner running inside the tackles. The backside slot will go in tail motion and will plant and drive to the B gap following both the B back and the play side slot, as shown in Figure 7-21.

Figure 7-21 (Iso)
Lead Option
The lead option (Figure 7-22) is similar to the speed option, yet the pitch back is a slot instead of the B back. The play is blocked exactly like speed option (Figure 7-16), so it's an easy install for the offense if speed option is already installed.

Figure 7-22 (Lead Option)
These additional run plays are just some extras that can be utilized. It is suggested to only use these plays once the base offense is installed and perfected. These plays give the play caller other possibilities in attacking the defense, but they are not a must have to run the Flexbone offense.
The draw play in the Flexbone offense can be run either by the quarterback (Figure 7-23), or the B back. There are two types of draw plays in the Flexbone, based on the pass protection being utilized. The 70 draw series is based off of big on big, or BOB pass protection, and the 88 or 99 draw series is based off of sprintout pass protection.

Figure 7-23 (70 QB Draw)
            The 70 draw is very simple to execute, and is an easy install once the passing game has been installed. The offensive line will pass set for a two count, and invite their defender to rush up field. After the two count, the tackles will force their defender wide and release up field looking to block near linebacker to near safety, as shown in Figure 7-24. The guard's rule is if they are covered, then the guard must stay on the defender and shield the ball carrier from this defender. If the guard is uncovered, after the two count, the guard will work up field looking to block the first linebacker over to the inside. The center will also follow the same rule as the guards. If the draw is going to the B back (figure 7-24), then the B back will slide to the right on the snap, as if to pass protect, then will square the shoulders, take the handoff from the quarterback and run to daylight. The quarterback drops back, holding the ball higher than normal to sell the pass fake. Once the quarterback hits the third step in the drop, the ball should be handed off to the B back. The only difference if the quarterback carries the ball (as shown in Figure 7-25) is that the B back will not receive a handoff, but will lead block for the quarterback.

Figure 7-24 (70 B back draw)

Figure 7-25 (70 QB draw)
            The 88 or 99 series draw, is based on the sprintout pass. The offensive line will execute either 88 or 99 protection (88 is to the right, and 99 is to the left) for a two count. After a count of two, the uncovered offensive linemen will drive up field and block the first opposite color jersey they encounter on the second level of the defense. If the B back is running the draw, as in Figure 7-26, then the B back will open toward the sideline as if to lead the quarterback on the sprintout pass, yet after the third step, the B back will plant off the deepest foot, and drive toward the middle of the formation. The B back takes the handoff and runs to daylight. If the quarterback draw is called off of sprintout action, then the B back will lead block instead of getting a handoff. The quarterback will roll out to the call side, and on the third step, will drive off the deepest foot, and follow the B back (see Figure 7-27).

Figure 7-26 (88 B draw)

Figure 7-27 (88 QB draw)
Trick Running Plays
Trick play possibilities out of the Flexbone offense are endless. However, a good reverse play is a great way to deal a fast pursuing defense a crushing blow. The reverse, illustrated in Figure 7-28, is executed as follows:

·         PST: Circle block, be sure to get head in front of defender; don't attack, sit and wait for defender to see reverse and change direction; if first level defender does not see reverse, climb and work to next level for first opposite color jersey to show.
·         PSG: Scoop
·         C: Scoop
·         BSG: Veer
·         BST: Veer
·         PSWR: Lazy stalk block, let corner run, once the corner reads reverse then block the corner.
·         PSSB: Two step motion, pitch course
·         BSWR: Open inside and aim for the middle of the B back, keep eyes on quarterback the entire time awaiting the pitch; after securing the ball, work around PST's block and run hash, numbers, sideline.
·         BSSB: Seal block
·         B back: Dive fake and block handoff key.
·         QB: Dive fake, work to B back's block and pitch football to receiver, carry out option fake.

Figure 7-28 (14 Reverse)