Calling Plays in an Option Offense
I mentioned in a previous post that when I first starting calling plays, I was convinced that you needed a minimum of 3 things offensively in order to be successful:
1. An off-tackle play of some sort good enough to make the defense over-commit in order to stop it.
2. A counter play to take advantage of a defensive adjustment dealing with the front 7.
3. A play action pass to take advantage of a defensive adjustment with respect to the 4 defensive backs.
While this was a somewhat simplified view of running an offense, I still feel the overall premise is sound on any level.
PART ONE: Off- Tackle
The great thing about some type of option being your "bread and butter" off-tackle play is the fact that it is really 2 or 3 plays in one (2 if a double option or 3 if its a triple option.) Let's choose the Inside Veer (ISV for short) as our main off-tackle play. Depending on the reaction of the defensive reads, the ball may go off the guard with the dive back, off tackle with a QB keep, or around the end if the ball is pitched.
The diagram above is a generic Flex formation ISV right. The football might end up in the FB's hands, the QB's hands, or the WB's hands. The PsDT is the dive read and the PsDE is the pitch read in a traditional 52 defense ('Scuse me... the 3-4 defense for you younger coaches!)
The PsG and PsTk release to psLB while the C and BsG Scoop the NG to BsLB. The BsTk cuts-off Bs B gap then goes second/third level. The PsWR has #1 and the PsWB has #2 in the base perimeter blocking scheme. The BsWR releases to the middle cutting-off whoever tries to cross his face.
In the screen captures below from Navy's great win vs. Notre Dame , the Midshipmen are using a modified blocking scheme.
Navy's Tight Slot Set
The WR's have moved down to what I call the Nasty Set (recalling the old Nasty Slot Set).
Backfield Paths for the FB, QB, and WB
The PsWR's block has been adjusted so that he is now responsible for cracking down on the fast-flow ILB. I have used the word "Seal" to tag this adjustment in the past. The PsTk is doing what we've called a "round" or "loop" release. I'm using the term "Loop" for the tackle releasing not only outside the DT, but also the DE as well. He will end up blocking the SS.
At the high school level, vs. a 4-I DT we sometimes give a "Round" call for him to release outside the DT (but still inside the DE) as his route to the PsLB (or SS if the PsLB isn't there to be blocked.) Again, I'm calling the technique that Navy employs a "Loop."
In the shot below, the QB has pulled the ball due to the DT pinching. In fact, the DT is "squeezing" down on the PsTk and keeping him from getting upfield. It is just as well, as the PsLB is scraping hard C to D gap. This is why the formation was tightened down - to allow the WR the ability to seal the LB.
Dive Read, Pitch Read, and Looping Tackle
Dive Read pinches
Pitch Read takes QB - ball is pitched
WB has ball and is getting North and South
WB accelerates through traffic for a big gain
Notre Dame's 2 weeks of defensive preparation are rendered useless by a simple change in formation and a built-in adjustment to the perimeter blocking.
By running fewer plays but knowing how to block them against a host of defensive schemes, Navy is on track to pull the upset and end the losing streak to N.D.
PART TWO: The Counter
Whether its to slow down pursuit, take advantage of an unsound secondary rotation, or simply as a change of pace, the Counter-Option is one way to do it.
The play starts with "Twirl" motion (PsHB motions away from the play before coming back (to the left in this case.) The FB dives and fills for the pulling guard and the QB opens right - faking the ball to the FB before turning back to the left and acquiring the Pitch Read, the left DE.
Everything looks the same...
My attempt to show the backfield action!
The DE will be the pitch read.
The pulling RtG will try to seal the ILB.
The play is underway... notice the LB's and secondary are frozen
In the case of this particular play, the N.D. linebacker does it right - he stays at home then sniffs out the play. The pulling RtG takes a slightly bad angle and instead of sealing the LB, he lets him cross his face... almost resulting in a loss.
The LB has crossed the RtG's face. The guard has no choice now except to try and wash the LB upfield.
But the wingback proves the wisdom of Tony DeMao's phrase, "Getting Speed in Space..." he makes a nifty cut and breaks the play for a 10+ yard gain.
Below is the entire sequence again.
Backfield fake right- freezing the LBs and secondary
The QB has faked away from the pitch read... so even thought the DE is charging him, the QB has time to make a good decision.
The ball is pitched... The pulling Guard knows the LB has beaten him
This not being the Wingback's first "rodeo," he jukes the LB and cuts back up inside.
The Wingback is heading North and South on his way to a another big gain.
PART THREE: Play Action Passing