Chalk it up, mark it in your calendars – this is the day when Coach Steve Smith said, “no, I don’t think you need to run the Triple Option, guys.”
What’s this world coming to?
Okay, here come the caveats, men. By all means, drop everything and start running the Triple - if you manage to hire a couple of coaches who have experience installing and running it. But if you’re an old Wing-T coach, or Spread Gun Coach who hasn’t had a QB under center for years, and you don’t magically have a few new hires who are God’s Gift to installing the option, then you might want to calm down and consider a less radical approach.
All things considered, unless you’re just blessed with all things happening at just the right time, such as the planets aligning or such, then you might want to put the Triple on hold for a while and start off by putting your toe in the water – not holding your nose and jumping in off the deep end. In your current offense, you may already have the makings of a nice called-dive and double option package. So let’s take a look at some of the possibilities and see if this makes any sense. If you do and if it does, then you may find out that running “an” option (or two) can be almost as good as running “the” option.
The Belly Option Series:
Basis – I’m not sure of the exact origin of the Belly Series, but it looks like something a Wing-T coach cooked-up somewhere along the line. (It wouldn’t surprise me if those guys at Delaware didn’t dream it up.) The whole notion of the Belly Dive appeals to me due to the old quote attributed to Lou Holtz. “Easy to Read, Hard to Block -- Hard to Block, Easy to Read.” Stemming and slanting teams can make an option coach’s life hell if he doesn’t have an answer ready to dial in. But if you consider that quote and what it says, then you can begin to see why a simple play like the Belly Dive can be a great supplementary play for an option team. The defense is trying to blow-up your QB’s reads – but in doing so it can provide easy angle and fan blocks for the linemen… while the LB’s and DB’s still have to play their assignments and can’t just run to the ball. So even when you’re not actually running the Triple Option, the threat of it can assist you nonetheless.
But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Belly Dive and Belly Option can be the meat of the offense – and not just the potatoes. I’ve seen huge gains made on simple dive plays made by option teams facing defenses hell-bent on stopping the option. The same goes for the Rocket Toss – when you get a 5 and 9 tech pinching so hard that they are helpless against a simple pitch to a wingback motioning to the perimeter. But why were they pinching so hard to start with – to get heat on the QB.. trying to give him hot 1st and 2nd reads in succession so he will make a bad read. As for a counter play, either the Counter Trey or the Sally complement the backfield action of the Belly Dive and Belly Option well.
But the Belly Series isn’t the only one available for those seeking to ease into running the option. Attacking right up the gut is the Freeze Option Series – which like the Belly Option – eliminates the QB’s dive read and takes the pressure off making a correct read right after the snap. Like the Belly Option, the QB has some time before making a pitch or keep read- and doesn’t have to worry about defenses forcing him to make two correct reads quickly. Between the two series, I like the Freeze a little more. By using some different backfield motions and actions, both the called FB dive and the perimeter Double Option can be used as counter plays as well. If you’ve seen Navy’s or GSU’s Counter Option, then you’ve seen pretty much seen the Counter Freeze Option.
Hey, any time I can teach two plays to my linemen yet make the defense think we’re running as many as six different ones (using sets and motions), I’m going to do it.
Okay, now you’ve heard my reasoning. In the next installment, we’ll look at some diagrams and see how the Belly and Freeze Series can help you get some option into the mix.
(to be continued)