(Alternate Title: The "well, hell..." Article. Read on. You'll figure out why.)
The Flexbone Counter Option was a conundrum for us this past year. We kept repping it, and repping it, and repping it... but never could get up the nerve to run it for quite a few games. I think it was the "watch the QB turn and get flattened by a fire-breathing 5 Tech coming Hell-for-leather nightmare" that Coach Wells and I both seemed to have concerning the play.
Ironically, it wasn't the concern about not being able to cut the 5 tech... unlike a lot of the guys I've read over at the Flexbone Assoc. Nah, neither of us worried too much about trying to log the psDE and pitch off the OLB. It just seemed natural to pitch off the 5 tech and wrap the pulling G up on the psOLB. If you're faking it well, he will at least be planted for a count, and that should give the pulling G a pretty good angle on him. If the pulling G ends up colliding the psDE (the pitch read for us,) he should collision the outside hip... and the QB should work past it until he gets a pitch read - probably the psOLB. We worked this in individual periods, inside run... and in team.
And by the way, our QB never got hit in the chops running this play. Are you kidding? If anyone had been stupid enough to fly their 5 tech in for a kill shot, the give on ISV would have eaten them alive... and they knew it.
We will double a playside 3 tech if we get one. If the linemen smell a rat (look for the cheese!), they will call "Down" and we should pick up trash. But it's nice to have the FB to fill for the pulling Guard nonetheless.
I tell the Twirl WB to align a little wider... and since the pitch WB has no motion "One and None" is the alignment rule for him. We will try and widen the read with the psT... unless we have a 3 tech, which will cause him to tighten just a bit.
The QB is to do exactly what we DON'T want with our point-mesh veer, we step back off the LOS and ride the FB... then turn inside and attack the outside shoulder of the DE. We want to make him make us pitch... and won't try and keep it unless he just comes upfield something ridiculous. I picked that up from Coach George DeLeon's Freeze Option Video. It works. Good stuff. His take on the Freeze can also be directly applied to the modern-day Midline 100%.
It's good to "X" block with the SE and WB on th e perimeter... although we frigged that up a few times... yet it still seemed to work okay for us. In fact, the pulling Guard often had no one to block as the OLB would fly across the formation thinking Veer. When this happens, Life Is Good - buy a tee shirt.
This play works well out for the Nasty Slot as well. I love saying "Nasty Slot." Anyway, it also works well weak in Unbalanced SE-Over sets as well. It's not bad when run to the boundry since you usually pitch behind the Tackle... leaving room for the WB to get north and south.
We will run this vs. a 52 (or 3-4 if you're into all that 3-stuff). It helps if the DT's are pinching or at least playing B Gap. However, if the psT can just stalemate and the QB works his magic and forces the DE to take him... that pitchback going up the sideline for a big gain is a wonderful sight to behold.
I'm not going to get into debates about the pros and cons of logging the DE and pitching off the OLB. While it can happen... for us, it's an accident at best. This is the way we run it. In the words of the immortal Flip Wilson, "What you see is what you get." Feel free to improvise - just don't waste time trying to convince me to do so as well (why do guys attempt this? I think it makes you feel good if you can talk me into something... I don't know.)
Anyway, here are a few last thoughts... we won't run this if the 43 OLBs are Eagled outside the 5 tech in 90's. Why the hell would we? Find the 1 tech and run Belly, Belly, and more Belly until the OLB lines up where you want him or you score. Run Midline Double at the 3 tech. Don't try and force a play to work against something where it can't, Grasshopper. Ommmmmmmm...
It helps to spend some quality time with the QB and backs explaining what it is you're trying to accomplish - in a perfect world we'll get a pitch every time and score up the sideline. I tell the QB, "look, Johhny, don't be a hero..." sung out of tune. He has no idea what the hell I'm talking about, but it eventually sinks in that is not one of those plays where we expect him to be running the TD. It can happen, but we really want to get a pitch. He will eventually get this. I tell him not to worry, he will get much better chances on ISV and Belly Option. Maybe Freeze Option, too... if we can get it in. We're going to try and two-platoon this season... which will give us much more time to do such things. We have around 100 boys out for football and I honestly think we'll have at least 22 that CAN play dead in that proverbial Cowboy movie. Yippee Ki-Yay, Mother- "watch yo mouth... Shaft!"
I'm full of it tonight.
ps. if there's a video clip of us here running Cntr-O, then I had insomnia and got it finished. If not, look for it Monday or Tuesday night. Oh, hell, it's 1 am. I'm going to bed. Goodnight.
pps. If you don't like the SS left untouched, you can have the bsT release off the bsDE for him. With the Twirl motion and counter action, inevitable secondary rotation, etc, the Tackle should have no trouble getting in the way if he takes an intelligent cutoff angle.