Thursday, October 07, 2004

Option from the Gun

alternate title: How to be a He-Man Run-Over-Em Coach while Pretending to "Air it Out."

Remember the term "sensitive guy?" I sure do. My friends and myself make a lot of jokes about it... until we found out that the girls just weren't going out with you unless you were indeed "sensitive." (Remember, this was high school) So we did like many red-blooded American males of the day did. We swallowed our pride and faked it with the best of 'em. I got real "sensitive" in a hurry!

Fast-forward to present day. You're running all over every opponent but then IT happens. You know what I'm talking about. Every running team and every option Coach goes through it at some point. Suddenly, the "Fans" think you're not "throwing it enough." (BTW, by "fans," I'm talking about those in the stands who watch way too much SportsCenter, don't know the difference between a pro vs. college vs. high school athlete... who don't know horsesh*t from good applebutter... you get the picture.)

I don't know what they're thinking. Why not ask us to forgo the usual Khaki shorts and staff shirts and take the field in pink tu-tu's and high heels? It would be simpler, that's for sure... possibly kinder as well But here you are suddenly feeling the heat for not being "progressive" enough, "mod" enough, "smart" enough to join the "moo-ing herd" and go to 1-back shotgun and (say it together, folks) "Air - It - Out!" So what's a coach to do? Should you actually forgo common sense and throw out your offense for the run and shoot? Heck no! I'll tell ya what you do, you pull a page outta Steve's old high school dating playbook and "fake it." Yep, when all is said and done everybody's happy and no one's the wiser. Sounds like a win-win to me!

So how do you "fake" throwing the ball, you ask? Here's what ya do... take a base set like your "Pro Right" (or whatever you call it) and tag it "Gun." (BTW, this might be a good time to see if your center can actually execute a decent shotgun snap. ...enough coaching points... I'll get on to the good stuff!)

Now I'm not advocating you do the unthinkable and actually "throw" the ball downfield... I'm just giving Joe Sixpack the proverbial "shiny object" with which he will become mollified and enter that fugue-state where he's much quieter and easier to tolerate. (okay, okay... I'll give ya the definition- fugue state: A pathological amnesiac condition during which one is apparently conscious of one's actions but has no recollection of them after returning to a normal state. This condition, usually resulting from severe mental stress, may persist for as long as several months.)

Now here's the good part- you run speed option at 'em from the Gun. One bonus is that the new angle taken by the QB to the DE keeps him (the DE) from "feathering" and really makes him decide in a hurry who he's gonna take. I've seen a "dead" speed option come back to life from the gun for no other reason than the steep downhill angle of the QB.

Now here's the REALLY good part. After the game when you're giving the paper a quote or two, work into the mix the following statement; "Well, we were really hoping to air it out tonight when we got in the gun, but the defense, well, the defense just kept jumping into a 'nickel and dime' package (!) forcing us to check-off to the option. We really wanted to throw it deep, but when the defense is just giving you the red carpet to the goal line, you just have to take it!"

So there you go... you are off the hook so to speak. You really, really, really wanted to sling it all over the field, but that darned ol' defense was so scared of your (obviously) superior game plan, they took the pass away from you and you had to limp along with those old 6, 7 and 15 yard ground gainers. SIGH... Oh, well, we'll get 'em next time!

You can actually get in the gun ever so often and throw your 3 step game out of it... set up some draws and screens out of it without too much trouble... and all the while using it primarily for speed option. The real laff-riot will be the inevitable comments about how Ol' Coach has really "opened it up..." "gotten with the program," etc.

Have fun with it,

Coach Smith

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I need to sign up to this great site. When I was a young coach in the early 80's we ran the Wacker Veer and I wouldn't mind running it again, however I currently coach in Marlin, Tx.,a small 3A school and we lost last week in the quarter-finals to Jasper and last year played in State Championship d-2 and lost to Atlanta. The reason I mention that is because we run the "Spread" but we do run a ton of option out of it. We run the speed,speed loaded, and fake a counter and run option out the backside but we put our backs behind the tackles so the blocking can take place with the pulls they have to make. you can e-mail me at Really enjoy this site.