Splitbacks and I Formation Playbook

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Splitbacks and I Formation Playbook
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Introduction to Offensive Schemes
It is said that great offense puts people in the stands but great defense wins championships. To be successful on the field of play you need
to be solid in both phases of the game as well as in special teams. It is important to plan how your team is going to approach the game from
an offensive point of view. What type of offense will you be; a tough grind it out running team or perhaps a wide open spread team that
wants to throw the football on every down? The key to answering that question is a core understanding of what your strengths, and more
importantly, what your weaknesses are as a coach. Coaches must always be learning, educating themselves on the basic fundamentals of
the game, learning new and better ways to teach those fundamentals, and learning to develop an organized approach to practice and game
management. Therefore, the best offense to run for your team is the offense you can best teach, and most importantly, the offense your
players can learn and then execute. The best coaches put their players in positions that ensure that they can be successful; kids will
respond to being successful and will enjoy their experience and continue to play this great game.
SCHEME
Offensive schemes have evolved over time and they continue to evolve every fall with new twists and wrinkles to basic schemes.
While scheme is important in that it does give your team an approach – a philosophy if you will – the most important element
to scheme is being fundamentally sound in your approach. The basic fundamentals of stance, first step, blocking, ball security,
and the Center-Quarterback snap exchange must be worked on every day. Never think of these things as the “little things”
but rather these are the “important things.” Teams that do those things the best are almost always more successful. For this
playbook we have employed very basic split back and I formation schemes with basic plays to attack all areas of the field. This
is a great offensive scheme to teach young players and to expand on as the players become more experienced and skilled.
This playbook was developed for coaches who are new to using this scheme.
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Glossary
“BINGO” CALL – This refers to a call a ball carrier will make to alert the rest of his team that he is changing the play during the action. For example, a pass play may have been called in the huddle but the player with the ball may have to run with the ball instead of passing it. He calls “BINGO” or another designated word to alert the linemen that they can get down field.
BOX – The Box area is generally considered the area from just outside the Tight Ends or Tackle (when an End is split) and about 3 yards
on each side of the Line of Scrimmage.
DIRECTIONAL STEP – This is a first step from a stance position where the player aims directly for his assigned location. For instance, on a straight ahead dive play the back receiving the hand off will take a directional step towards the hole called in the huddle.
EDGE – The edge is the area outside the Tight Ends or Tackle (when an End is split) and out to the sideline on each side of the ball.
GAP – The Gap is the area between each Offensive Linemen in any given formation. They are lettered from the Center going out, for
example between the Center and each Guard is the “A” Gap and the area between the Guards and the Tackles is the “B” Gap, the area
between the Tackles and the Ends is the “C” Gap.
ICE – This is short for Isolation and defines a series of plays where a Back will lead a ball carrier through a hole and block the defender
the play has called to be Isolated.
JAB STEP – This is a timing step that Backs will use to ensure a play fake has time to materialize and not get them to the ball too quickly.
A Jab Step almost always is a step in the opposite direction from where the Back will end up going.
LOS – This stands for Line of Scrimmage and is the imaginary line that runs from the football to each sideline.
OPEN PLAY SIDE – This describes the direction the Quarterback goes once he has received the snap from the Center. If he Opens Play
Side then he turns in the direction that the ball will end up going.
POINT OF ATTACK – This describes the specific hole or gap in which the ball is designed to go. If a dive play has been called for the 2
Hole then that spot is the Point of Attack. Offensive Linemen must understand where the Point of Attack is to apply their blocking rules
properly.
REVERSE OUT – This describes the direction the Quarterback goes once he has received the snap from the Center. If he Reverses Out
then he turns in the opposite direction from where the ball will end up going.
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Introduction to Formations
All offensive plays start from a formation that dictates where all 11 players line up prior to the start of the play. Our playbook will utilize three
different line formations and two different backfield formations. There are always adjustments and changes a coach can make to these
formations, however, it is important when coaching young players that you focus more on the basic fundamentals of the game and less on
complicated formations and motions. Teams that do just a few things very well will be more successful than those teams that do many things
less than well.
LINE FORMATION
The basic rules of football require that 7 Offensive players be on the line of scrimmage and set for a second before the ball is snapped. You can have
more than 7 on the line, but only the widest player on the LOS on each side of the ball is eligible to go downfield and catch a pass.
Double Tight Ends
LE
Unbalanced Line
LT
LG
C
RG
RT
RE
Pro Set Left
LE
LG
C
RG
RT
LT
LT
LG
C
RG
RT
RE
RE
Pro Set Right
LE
LT
LG
C
RG
RT
RE
LE
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Introduction to Formations (Cont’d)
BACKFIELD FORMATIONS
Since 7 players are required by rule to be on the LOS prior to the start of a play, 4 players can be off of the LOS and rules allow them to move sideways,
backwards, and reset. We will not show any motion or resetting in this playbook. We will, however, move our Wing Back, including setting him in a
natural Wing position and also flanking him out as a wide receiver. We will show the deep Backs in a Split Backs formation as well as an I formation.
You should set their depth away from the football based on their speed and how long it takes them to execute a simple dive play. In the Split Backs
formation it is best to set them at 4 yards from the ball and then adjust it accordingly. In the I formation, before the ball is snapped, the up back should
be at 3 yards and the deep back at 4 yards. Finally, when in a Split Back formation, we will always line the 3 back on the same side of the formation as
the Wing (2 back), the Quarterback is designated as the 1 back.
Split Backs Wing Left
Split Backs Wing Right
2B
3B
C
C
1B
1B
4B
4B
2B
3B
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Introduction to Formations (Cont’d)
Split Backs Pro Set Left
Split Backs Pro Set Right
2B
C
C
1B
1B
3B
4B
I Wing Left
4B
2B
3B
I Wing Right
2B
C
C
1B
1B
2B
3B
3B
4B
4B
(Continued on next page).
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Introduction to Formations (Cont’d)
I Pro Set Left
2B
I Pro Set Right
C
C
1B
1B
2B
3B
3B
4B
4B
PLAY CALLING
For the purpose of understanding the various formations, backfield action, and blocking schemes we will use clear language throughout this playbook to identify all these elements. Coaches can elect to simplify some of the terms to make play calling a little easier. For example, as opposed to
using “ I Formation” or “Split Backs” you can use colors to define each formation. Whatever plan you use it is important to keep the terminology
consistent beginning on the first day of practice. The players will learn through repetition.
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Introduction to Formations (Cont’d)
NUMBERING SYSTEM
In order to have all players understand what the desired point of attack is we will assign a number to the gaps between the Offensive Linemen. Using
numbers to both assign the hole we are aiming for and for each of the backs it makes it easier to call a play in the huddle and have everyone locate
the Point of Attack. We will however, call some plays such as the Wing Trap and the Sweep Play by simply calling a direction: Right or Left.
We will number the holes to the right of the Center with even numbers and holes to the left with odd numbers.
Numbering System
7
5
3
1
2
4
6
8
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Blocking Rules
The most important element to any offensive scheme is blocking. Football games are usually won by the team that wins the battles up front. You
want your Offensive Linemen to be quick, aggressive, and fundamentally sound on every snap of the ball. If they are confused as to whom to
block on a given play, then they will likely loose the ability to be quick and aggressive because their mind is confused. The best remedy for this
problem is to try and keep your blocking schemes simple, drill them every day in practice, and be familiar with your opponents so you can show
your players the Defensive Alignment they are likely to face from week to week. It is also important that the Offensive Linemen learn to communicate
at the LOS as to which player each of them is blocking. Encourage this, it does not have to be a secret, and will minimize the confusion.
BASE BLOCKING RULES
Many of the plays in our playbook call for base blocking rules. Base blocking rules are as follows: #1 Playside gap, #2 Head Up, #3 Back side
gap, #4 Linebackers. The Offensive Linemen come to the ball, get set, and progress through these rules. If we are trying to run the 2 hole
between the Center and Right Guard those two players will check the “A” gap first. If there is a defender lined up in that gap they check to see
if they have a defender head up on them, if the Center has a Nose Tackle on him the Right Guard will block the player in the gap and the Center
will block the Nose Tackle (FIG. 1). If the Center does not have a Nose Tackle he will check the back side “A” gap and block that player (FIG.
2). Their final check is for a Linebacker, if the Linebacker is outside the “A” gap defender the Center will block the gap defender and the Right
Guard will block the Linebacker (FIG. 3).
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
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Blocking Rules (Cont’d)
32 Dive vs. 5-3 Defense
32 Dive vs. 4-4 Defense
Ball Carrier makes adjustment off of block
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Blocking Rules (Cont’d)
TRAP BLOCKING
A Trap play is designed to get the Defense flowing in the wrong direction with backfield action and then have the ball come back the other way.
The Offensive Line allows a down lineman (the first down lineman beyond the “A” gap) to come across the LOS, and the backside Guard pulls
down the line to execute the Trap block, he should block him from the inside out. The playside Tackle, Guard, and Center all down block in the
opposite direction of the Trap. The playside End out blocks, while the back side Tackle and End apply base rules.
Trap Left
Trap Right
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Blocking Rules (Cont’d)
HOOK BLOCK
This is a block usually executed by an End when trying to run the football out to the Edge or wide. The Offensive player tries to get his head and
shoulders to the outside of a defensive player and try to turn him back inside.
Hook Block
STALK BLOCK
A Stalk Block is performed by the Split Ends or Flankers when they are set outside of the box and when trying to run the ball to the edge. The
players take off as if they are running a pass pattern and they attack the Defensive Player without passing him. Once the Defender reads that it
is a run play and begins to attack the ball carrier the Offensive players begin to block them, it is important that they stay between the ball carrier
and the defender with quick feet and contact.
Stalk Block Start
Stalk Block Finish
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Blocking Rules (Cont’d)
DOUBLE TEAM
We use the Double Team block on all of our Ice Series plays. The Offensive Linemen must work together and not allow the Defensive player to
split the double team. They should drive the defender into the second level and shut down any back side pursuit. You have to win every double
team block and communication is important.
Double Team a Head Up Defender
Double Team “A“ Gap Defender
CRACK BLOCK
We will use a Crack Block when running a sweep play to the outside. The Flanker or Split End will come down from the outside to block the first
defender he sees coming from the box. It is important to note that the rules of football do not allow a player to come from the outside and into the
box area and block a player in the back, the Crack Block should be under control and contact should be made above the waist and in the chest.
Crack Block
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Blocking Rules (Cont’d)
FINAL POINTS
To execute during games you must perfect all the fundamentals of blocking in practice. A great block starts with a great stance, great first step,
great pad level, and explosion through the defender. Players should block until the referee blows the whistle to stop play and never stop moving
their feet. Communication is very important so all Linemen are on the same page.
If you are finding it difficult to run inside, try taking bigger splits (the space between each lineman) and see if the defense will continue to line
up wider and wider with the splits.
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Inside Running Game - THE DIVE PLAY
The Dive Play is a staple of this offense not only because it can yield positive yards on a consistent basis, but also because it sets up other plays
within the offense. It requires a great line surge by the offensive line and an explosive take off by the running back to fight for tough yards.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight Ends or Pro Formation
4 May also use an unbalanced line if the defense does not adjust to the extra man.
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Base rule
Backside End – Inside release, downfield block
Backside Guard – Base rule
Wing Back – Playside: base rule • Backside: inside release, downlfield block
Center – Base rule
Ball Carrier – Explode out of stance, low pad level, solid pocket, hit the hole with power
Playside Guard – Base rule
Quarterback – Open playside, deliver ball to ball carrier, carry out sweep fake
Playside Guard – Base rule
Opposite Back – Open up down the line with sweep speed for fake
Playside End – Base rule
*If using unbalanced line all playside lineman use base rule
COACHING POINTS:
4 Ensure that the Running Back depth is such that the handoff is a quick exchange, move the backs up if needed.
4 Do not allow the ball carrier to bounce the play outside, the Dive play will set up outside runs, emphasize to all Running Backs they
have to be tough and stay inside.
4 Ball carrier pad level should be low, ball must be well secured, and the feet should never stop moving forward.
4 Carry out the post handoff fakes, do not get lazy.
4 Linemen should communicate on the Line of Scrimmage, if they have a gap defender they need to know who is blocking him.
A double team that moves the gap player into the Linebacker works just as well as two single blocks.
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Inside Running Game - THE DIVE PLAY (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Right 32 Dive
I Unbalanced Left 31 Dive
Split Backs Double Right 41 Dive
Split Backs Pro Set Left 42 Dive
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Inside Running Game - THE SLAM PLAY
The Slam Play is a variation of the Dive Play and is used to set up the Scissors Counter Play. The Running Back in the Slam Play approaches the
point of attack at an angle and often has a great cut back lane once he hits the Line of Scrimmage.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight Ends
4 Pro Set is also an option to move defenders out of the box and to move the Safety further away from the ball.
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Base rule
Backside End – Inside release, downfield block
Backside Guard – Base rule
Wing Back – Playside: base rule • Backside: inside release, downfield block
Center – Base rule
Ball Carrier – Explode out of stance, directional step w/ inside foot, low pad level, solid pocket, hit the hole with power
Playside Guard – Base rule
Quarterback – Open playside, deliver handoff, take second step away from LOS, fake counter handoff, then bootleg around formation
Playside Guard – Base rule
Playside End – Base rule
Opposite Back – Jab step with outside foot away, then directional step with inside foot, create pocket, execute fake handoff and attack opposite “B” gap
COACHING POINTS:
4 Depth of Running Backs should be close enough to ensure a quick handoff.
4 Do not let the ball carrier attempt to bounce the play outside, keep the play inside to force the defense to load up the box.
4 The counter fake with the opposite Running Back is a big part of the Slam Play, ensure that the QB and RB create a strong fake to keep the backside defenders honest.
4 Practice fakes as much as you practice handoffs.
4 Linemen must block to the whistle and keep driving defenders into pursuit alleys.
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Inside Running Game - THE SLAM PLAY (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Left 34 Slam
Split Backs Double Right 31 Slam
Split Backs Pro Set Left 43 Slam
Split Backs Double Right 44 Slam
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Inside Running Game - THE SCISSORS COUNTER TRAP PLAY
The Scissors Counter Trap Play is part 2 of the Slam Play. If you are having solid success with the Slam and Dive plays the Counter provides
great misdirection and takes advantage of an over aggressive defense. We would like to trap the first down lineman outside of the “A” gap,
which is usually the Tackle.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight Ends
4 Pro Set is also an option to move defenders out of the box and to move the Safety further away from the ball.
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Base rule
Wing Back – Playside: base rule • Backside: inside release, downfield block
Backside Guard – Pull and execute trap block. Trap first down lineman past the “A” gap
Ball Carrier – Jab step with outside foot away, then directional step with inside
foot, create pocket, take handoff and attack hole reading
the trap block
Center – Double NT with guard or block backside “A” gap
Playside Guard – Double NT with Center or block backside gap
Playside Tackle – Down block, force DT to come outside and up for trap
Playside End – Block DE out
Backside End – Inside release, downfield block
Quarterback – Reverse out fake slam handoff, take second step away from LOS, deliver handoff, then bootleg around formation
Opposite Back – Explode out of stance, directional step with inside foot, execute fake handoff, hit the hole vacated by pulling Guard and block defender
COACHING POINTS:
4 Depth of Running Backs should be close enough to ensure a quick handoff.
4 Ball carrier must read the trap block and adjust his angle accordingly. Keep play inside of Trap.
4 The slam fake with the opposite Running Back is important; ensure that the QB and RB create a strong fake
to keep the backside defenders honest.
4 Practice fakes as much as you practice handoffs.
4 Ensure that the pulling Guard stays close to the LOS and does not step back into the backfield.
4 Linemen must block to the whistle and keep driving defenders into pursuit alleys.
(Continued on next page).
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Inside Running Game - THE SCISSORS COUNTER TRAP PLAY (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Left Scissors Counter Trap Left
Split Backs Double Right Scissors Counter Trap Right
I Pro Set Right Scissors Counter Trap Right
Split Backs Double Right Scissors Counter Trap Left
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Inside Running Game - THE WING TRAP PLAY
The Wing Trap Play is an excellent misdirection play that counters the Dive play. It is an excellent play to run on a short yardage down, when the
defense may be expecting a simple Dive or Slam play. A great surge by the Offensive Line is important due to the slow development of the play. Trap
the first down lineman outside of the “A” gap.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight Ends
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Base rule
Backside Guard – Pull and execute trap block. Trap first down lineman past the “A” gap
Center – Double NT with Guard or block backside “A” gap
Playside Guard – Double NT with Center or block backside gap
Playside Tackle – Down block, force DT to come outside and up for trap
Playside End – Block DE out
Wing Back – Jab step with outside foot then square up and come down the
line for inside handoff, secure ball and read trap block
Dive Back – Explode out of stance, execute fake dive handoff, hit the hole
vacated by pulling Guard and block defender
Quarterback – Reverse out, fake dive handoff and continue outside and execute inside handoff with Wing Back, continue to fake sweep around edge
Fake Sweep Back – Open up down the line with sweep speed for fake
Backside End – Drive block and prevent any penetration
COACHING POINTS:
4 Width of Wing Back should not be adjusted, work on timing with the jab step so the handoff occurs at the backside “C” gap.
4 Ball carrier must read the trap block and adjust his angle accordingly. Keep play inside of Trap do not go outside.
4 The dive fake must hit quickly to ensure the back replaces the pulling Guard and blocks.
4 Quarterback must stay close to the LOS and protect the ball at all times.
4 Ensure that the pulling Guard stays close to the LOS and does not step back into the backfield.
4 Linemen must control the LOS and not get downfield too quickly.
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Inside Running Game - THE WING TRAP PLAY (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Right Wing Trap Left
Split Backs Double Left Wing Trap Right
I Double Right Wing Trap Left
I Double Left Wing Trap Right
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Ice Series
The Ice Series of plays are designed to create a double team at the point of attack with the Offensive Lineman and a lead block on an isolated
defender by one of the Running Backs. In an odd front defense you can Ice the “A” gap by doubling the Nose Tackle and leading on the inside
Linebacker or Ice the “C” gap by doubling the Defensive Tackle and leading on the outside Linebacker / Defensive End.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight Ends
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Lead Back – Explode out of stance, aim for outside leg of double team
block and lead on the “Ice” player. Get square and drive through the block
Backside Tackle – Base rule
Backside Guard – Base rule
Center – If Ice is “A” gap - double team NT • If other hole - base rule
Playside Guard – If Ice is “A” gap - double team NT • If other hole - base rule
Playside Tackle – If Ice is “C” gap - double team DT • If other hole - base rule
Playside End – If Ice is “C” gap - double team DT • If other hole - base rule
Backside End – Release inside and get downfield for block
Wing Back – Playside: if Ice is “C” gap, block out on outside LB, or base
rule backside: release inside and get downfield for block
Quarterback – “A” gap Ice: reverse out, let lead back clear and make handoff.
“C” gap Ice: open playside and get depth for handoff so back
can adjust to lead block, after either handoff bootleg away
Ball Carrier – “A” gap Ice: explode out of stance, take handoff, read lead
back Ice block and attack the hole. • “C” gap Ice: take directional step to get square, take handoff, attack hole
from inside out and read the lead block.
COACHING POINTS:
4 It helps to widen the Offensive Line splits slightly to create a larger gap for the lead block.
4 Ball Carrier must stay behind the lead block and work through the gap of double team block and the lead “Ice” block.
4 Offensive Lineman must communicate prior to the snap to ensure they agree who the double team is on. Must drive the double team block off the ball and into the alley.
4 Quarterback needs to get depth on “C” gap Ice play so the ball carrier can get square and attack the hole with speed.
(Continued on next page).
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Ice Series (Cont’d)
I Pro Set Right 42 Ice (“A” Gap)
I Double Left 41 Ice (“A” Gap)
Split Backs Double Right 46 Ice (“C” Gap)
Split Backs Pro Set Left 45 Ice (“C” Gap)
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Sweep
The Sweep Play is designed to get the ball carrier outside the end and into open space where he can use speed, elusiveness, and even power to
advance the ball down the field. You can transfer the ball from the Quarterback to the ball carrier with a hand off, however we will show it as a pitch
here; this allows the play to develop quicker. It is not recommended that you run this play from a hash mark to the short side of the field.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Wing Back – Crack block inside. Do not block any players in the back, come
down inside and as defenders turn to stop sweep - block first
man that appears
Backside Tackle – Release inside and get downfield for block
Backside Guard – Base rule
Center – Base rule
Playside Guard – If uncovered: pull and get around end to block inside.
If covered: base rule
Playside Tackle – If uncovered: pull and get around end to block inside.
If covered: base rule
Playside End – Hook block on Defensive End
Backside End – Take off release then work towards middle of the field to block
Lead Back – Explode out of stance, aim for widest defender (usually CB) if CB is squeezing in - block him. If CB maintains spacing to the
sideline - stalk and get up field
Quarterback – Open playside with two step mechanics and pitch the ball to the ball carrier. Then replace the Offensive Lineman that
pulled and block inside
Ball Carrier – R
eceive the pitch and follow the lead blocker reading
his block on the CB. Do not string the play outside to the
sideline, get square and get yardage downfield
COACHING POINTS:
4 Work on the angle of crack block from the flanked out Wing Back, his aiming point should be just behind the down defensive lineman.
4 The pitch needs to be quick and accurate, practice this everyday with backs at full speed.
4 Pulling Offensive Lineman need to get around the End quickly and pick up the pursuing defenders coming from the inside.
4 Do not string the play out to the sideline, the ball carrier must get his shoulders square and attack the LOS and get positive yards.
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Sweep (Cont’d)
I Pro Set Right 48 Sweep Right
I Pro Set Left 47 Sweep Left
Split Backs Pro Set Right 48 Sweep Right
Split Backs Pro Set 47 Sweep Left
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Bootleg Series
The Bootleg Plays plays are great when defenses over adjust to stop a play that has been working. You can run the Bootleg off of many of the
inside runs and having a great fake by the Backs is the key to making this “home run” play work. Coaches should watch the Cornerbacks on inside
runs, if they get over aggressive by coming down in the box or get lazy, that is the time to call the Bootleg.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Release inside and get downfield for block
Backside Guard – Base rule
Center – Base rule
Wing Back – Try to hook outside LB, if hook block is not possible - drive block and allow QB to cut off of block
3 Back – Carry out play fake called
Playside Guard – Base rule
Quarterback – Fake called play, then hide ball as you attack the edge and read the block of the end and wing back
Playside Tackle – Base rule
4 Back – Carry out play fake
Playside End – Hook block on defensive end
Backside End – Release inside and get downfield for block
COACHING POINTS:
4 Play starts with an excellent fake by the Quarterback and Running Backs; this must be executed to perfection. It should look like the real play.
4 The Quarterback must hide the ball and use quick feet to get to the edge.
4 The End and Wing Back have tough blocks but once those defenders see the action in the backfield they may attack that side and make the hooks easier to execute.
4 If the Quarterback finds himself one on one with a Cornerback that is a battle he can win, have him attack the defender using speed or power, do not stop and start or stretch the play out.
(Continued on next page).
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Bootleg Series (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Left 17 Bootleg / 36 Ice
Split Backs Double Right 18 Bootleg / 35 Ice
I Double Left 17 Bootleg / 31 Slam
I Double Right 18 Bootleg / 32 Slam
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Passing - ROUTES
Passing the football is something that Coaches should embrace and commit to and not be afraid to implement into their offensive
scheme. Like any other phase of the game, it requires practice to attain the proper skills, coordination and timing. A solid passing
game will involve more players and force the defense to respect the threat, thus making the running game more effective.
ROUTES:
We use several routes in the playbook and the depth of the routes should be adjusted for the age and skill level of your players.
It does not make sense to have a player run a 20 yard post route if the Quarterback can not throw the football that far. Coaches may
elect to number pass routes using a standard passing tree. The Passing Tree assigns numbers to each route. Making it possible to
call pass plays with a three number system. Even numbers are inside routes and odd numbers outside, the call always goes from
left to right across the formation for the eligible receivers.
(0) Hitch – The receiver sprints up field, stops his movement at 4 yards with his outside foot, and turns back inside, moving towards the LOS.
(1) Dump – The Dump route is a very quick pass to a Tight End. He releases inside his defender and clears the LOS and looks for the
pass inside. The receiver should not slant into the box, but rather go straight down field.
(2) Slant – The receiver sprints up field, at 4 yards he plants on his outside foot and angles into the center of the field.
(3) Out – The receiver sprints up field, at 6 yards he plants on his inside foot and squares off his movement towards the sideline.
(4) Hook – The receiver sprints up field, stops his movement at 9 yards with his outside foot, and turns back inside, moving towards the LOS.
(5) Curl – The receiver sprints up field, stops his movement at 9 yards with his inside foot, and turns back outside, moving towards the LOS.
(6) In – The receiver sprints up field, at 6 yards he plants on his outside foot and squares off his movement towards the middle of the field.
(7) Corner – The receiver sprints up field, at 10 yards he angles out and upfield towards the corner pylon in the back of the end zone.
(8) Post – The receiver sprints up field, at 10 yards he then angles inside and upfield towards the goal “post.”
(9) Up – The receiver sprints up field, working close to a straight line towards the end zone, looking for the ball after about 15 yards.
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Passing - PROTECTION SCHEMES
PROTECTION SCHEMES
Pass protection for the Offensive Linemen can be very difficult and often times it is not their fault when things break down. For younger players
it is important that the pass plays called are quick hitting plays where the Quarterback gets rid of the ball quickly. Often times coaches teach
pass blocking in a retreat manner, where the Offensive Linemen back up and then try to block the defenders as they pursue the quarterback.
Teaching the Offensive Linemen to fire out and attempt to block on the LOS (not getting down field) may prove to be more successful.
ZERO PROTECTION
The Offensive Linemen fire out of their stances as if running a Dive Play and both sides of the ball block to their Inside Gap, towards the Center.
Zero Protection
(Continued on next page).
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Passing - PROTECTION SCHEMES (Cont’d)
LAKE AND RIVER PROTECTION
This is a directional protection package where the Offensive Linemen step in the called direction – Lake is left and River is right – and protects
the gap in the direction they are stepping. The Linemen must move together to avoid creating large gaps where Defensive players can shoot
through and get into the backfield.
Lake Protection
River Protection
(Continued on next page).
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Passing - PROTECTION SCHEMES (Cont’d)
POCKET PROTECTION
This scheme incorporates the two backs in the protection package. This is used primarily for straight drop back passes and deeper patterns.
The Offensive Linemen account for the defensive players from the Center out and the backs will block the defenders coming off the edge. If an
Offensive Lineman does not have a defender rushing over him he should set up and help other linemen keep defenders on the LOS.
Pocket Protection vs. 5-3
Pocket Protection vs. 4-4 with Blitz
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Dump Pass
The Dump Pass is an excellent high percentage pass play that can be run with the youngest of players. It can be run out of various formations
and while it is not a traditional play action play with a ball fake, the explosion of the backs out of the backfield in a Dive fake will often bring the
Linebackers up to stop the run creating a great passing lane to get the ball to the Tight End.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Zero pass protection
Opposite End – If tight: zero pass protection • If split: run a fly pattern
Backside Guard – Zero pass protection
Wing Back – Block edge defender to the outside,
or if flanked out wide - run a fly pattern
Center – Zero pass protection
Playside Guard – Zero pass protection
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
Playside Tackle – Zero pass protection
Quarterback – Take one step as if running dive, set feet and deliver dump pass, if covered keep ball and run inside
Receiving Tight End – Inside release / look for pass
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
COACHING POINTS:
4 The Offensive Linemen must fire out low and sell a run block look without getting downfield.
4 The Quarterback must read the defender closest to the Tight End prior to the snap to ensure he does not get into the passing lane.
4 Backside effort applies to the Backs and the split receivers in a Pro Set; they must come out of their stances as if they are getting the football.
4 The Tight End going out for the pass must force his Defensive End to the outside with an inside release and a shoulder strike to gain separation.
(Continued on next page).
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Dump Pass (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Left Dump Pass Right Zero Fake Dives
Split Backs Pro Set Left Dump Pass Left Zero Fake Sweep Right
I Double Right Dump Pass Right Zero Fake 41 Ice
I Pro Set Right Dump Pass Right Zero Fake 41 Ice
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Wing Seam Pass
The Wing Seam Pass, like the Dump Pass, is a high percentage pass and can be executed by the youngest of players. Its success requires a
great play action fake and proper timing on the release of the Wing Back from the Line of Scrimmage. This is a great change of pace call on a short
yardage down when the defense may be expecting a power run like an Ice Play. In Split Backs, fake the “C” gap Ice Play and have the Offensive
Line down block away. In I formation, fake “A” gap Ice Play and Offensive Line blocks to zero.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight
ASSIGNMENTS:
Left Tackle – Pass protection called
Left Tight End – Pass protection called
Left Guard – Pass protection called
Wing Back – Down block for a count of 1-2 and then run a seam pattern
and catch the pass
Center – Pass protection called
Right Guard – Pass protection called
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
Right Tackle – Pass protection called
Quarterback – Execute play fake, set feet and deliver pass to the wing back, if not open follow backs and call bingo
Right Tight End – Pass protection called
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
COACHING POINTS:
4 The Offensive Linemen must fire out low and sell a run block look without getting downfield.
4 The Quarterback must execute a great play fake and then set his feet quickly to deliver the pass.
4 If for any reason the pass is not an option the Quarterback must make a “BINGO” call to alert everyone he is running and follows the
backs he just executed the fake with.
4 The Wing Back must first execute a down block and then get up field to receive the pass. If he leaves too early he will hold the Safety in
the middle of the field and may get too far down field for the Quarterback’s arm strength.
(Continued on next page).
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Wing Seam Pass (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Right Wing Seam Pass Lake 46 Ice
Split Backs Double Left Wing Seam Pass River 45 Ice
I Double Right Wing Seam Pass Zero 42 Ice
Split Backs Double Left Wing Seam Pass River 45 Ice “Bingo Call”
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Bootleg Pass
The Bootleg Pass plays directly off of the Bootleg Run and will place a tremendous amount of pressure on edge defenders like the Cornerback
and outside Linebackers. The movement of the Quarterback allows him to build up momentum as he attacks the Line of Scrimmage which helps
his ability to pass the ball downfield. The Quarterback always has the option to tuck the ball away and run for positive yardage if a good passing
opportunity does not present itself.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight
ASSIGNMENTS:
Left Tackle – Pass protection called
Backside Tight End – Down blocks for a count of 1 and then runs drag route
Left Guard – Pass protection called
Wing Back – Provides edge protection for QB. Do not allow penetration from the outside
Center – Pass protection called
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
Right Guard – Pass protection called
Right Tackle – Pass protection called
Playside Tight End – Down block for a count of 1 and then runs corner route
Quarterback – Execute play fake, hide the football with quick feet, get around the edge and read the passing options. Always throw while attacking the Line of Scrimmage
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
COACHING POINTS:
4 The Quarterback has a basic read as he attacks the LOS: where is the Cornerback? Where the Cornerback is will tell him where to
deliver the football.
4 The Offensive Linemen must fire out low and sell a run block without getting downfield.
4 The Quarterback must execute a great play fake and then use quick feet to get around the edge and put pressure on the defense
to cover pass or run.
4 Running Backs must protect the back side and not allow pursuit to catch the Quarterback from behind.
4 The Tight End should hold his block for a count of 1 before releasing. This will help sell the play as a run and keep the receiver from getting
too far downfield.
(Continued on next page).
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Bootleg Pass (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Left Bootleg Pass Left Lake F36 Ice
Split Backs Double Right Bootleg Pass River Right F35 Ice
I Double Left Bootleg Pass Left Lake F 31 Slam
I Double Right Bootleg Pass River F 32 Slam
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Bootleg Throwback Pass
The Bootleg Throwback Pass is an adjustment to the Bootleg Pass that Coaches should call once they see the Safety begin to rotate over to
cover the playside Tight End on the Bootleg Pass. The Quarterback does not attack the edge like in the traditional Bootleg Pass – this pass can be
a bit more difficult for the youngest of players to get downfield. Quarter back must have a strong enough arm to complete this pass on a line.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Double Tight
ASSIGNMENTS:
Left Tackle – Pass protection called
Backside Tight End – Down blocks for a count of 1 and then fakes corner and runs a post route
Left Guard – Pass protection called
Center – Pass protection called
Wing Back – Provides edge protection for QB. Do not allow penetration from the inside
Right Guard – Pass protection called
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
Right Tackle – Pass protection called
Quarterback – Execute play fake, hide the football , set feet and deliver pass to open tight end based on location of the safety
Playside Tight End – Down block for a count of 1 then runs corner route
Back – Explode out of stance, stay low and run play fake as called
COACHING POINTS:
4 The Quarterback must read the position of the Safety, it is likely that the Safety will read Bootleg Pass and rotate over to cover the corner route he expects from the Tight End.
4 The Offensive Linemen must fire out low and sell a run block without getting downfield, block to the whistle and protect the pocket.
4 The Quarterback must execute a great play fake and then set his feet quickly, read the Safety and deliver the ball to the open Tight End.
4 Running Backs must provide pocket protection for the Quarterback after executing a great fake.
4 Timing with the Tight Ends is important to ensure they do not out run the Quarterback’s arm strength.
(Continued on next page).
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Bootleg Throwback Pass (Cont’d)
Split Backs Double Right Bootleg Throwback Left River F 35 Ice
Split Backs Double Left Bootleg Throwback Right Lake F 36 Ice
I Double Left Bootleg Throwback Pass Right Lake F 31 Slam
I Double Right Bootleg Throwback Pass Left River F 32 Slam
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Sweep Pass
The Sweep Pass play is designed to give the ball carrier a run / pass option from the Sweep Play. If you are having success with the Sweep Play
then defenses will make adjustments to get more defensive players to the edge to stop the run. This is when calling the Sweep Pass is the right
call. It is important that the Ball Carrier understands if he has daylight in front of him then keeping the football and running with it is always the best
choice. It is best to not run this play from the hash mark to the short side of the field.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Check for an edge blitz and protect inside out
Backside Guard – Playside slide protection
Center – Playside slide protection
Playside Guard – Playside slide protection
Playside Tackle – Playside slide protection
Playside End – Playside slide protection
Backside Split End – Run a deep drag across the field
Wing Back – Come down inside as if running the crack block on the sweep and then run a corner route back to the sideline
Lead Back – E xplode out of stance and aim for widest defender. The most
dangerous edge defender must be blocked.
Quarterback – Open playside with two step mechanics and pitch the ball to the ball carrier. Then step back and away from sweep and protect backside.
Ball Carrier – R
eceive the pitch and follow the lead back. Sell that you are
running the sweep. Read the cornerback and safety, if they
are attacking the sweep the then pass routes will become open.
If they stay back and play pass, protect the football and run.
COACHING POINTS:
4 For the Sweep Pass to work it has to look like a run for as long as possible.
4 The Wing Back must attack as if he is running the crack and be patient before breaking out to the corner route.
4 The offensive line is working on slide protection and they must move together without creating seams for defenders to run through.
4 Have the Back practice throwing on the run, if he stops to set up he will tip his hand.
(Continued on next page).
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Sweep Pass (Cont’d)
I Pro Set Right 48 Sweep Pass River
I Pro Set Left 47 Sweep Pass Lake
Split Backs Pro Set Right 48 Sweep Pass River
Split Backs Pro Set Left 47 Sweep Pass Lake
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Swing / Screen Pass
The Swing / Screen Pass is a high percentage pass that can gain big yards against an undisciplined defense. The difference between the two
calls is how you choose to block the play. In the Swing Pass we try to get a Back out of the backfield out in open space without Offensive Linemen
downfield ahead of him. However, the Screen Pass is a play designed to get Offensive Linemen out in front of the Back and can be difficult to
coordinate. Both calls require the Quarterback to take a great deal of pressure from the defense before passing the football.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Backside Tackle – Block defensive end out and away from the pocket
Playside End – Block defensive end out and away from the pocket
Backside Guard – S
wing: zero protection • Screen: force defender
outside, then release downfield
Split End – Take off and stalk technique
Center – Swing: zero protection • Screen force: defender away, then release downfield
Blocking Back – Protect QB from most dangerous defender
Playside Guard – Swing: zero protection • Screen: force defender outside, then release downfield
Playside Tackle – Block defender inside, limit penetration
Wing Back – Take off and stalk technique
Quarterback – Take 5 step drop looking downfield to sell throwing the deep pass. Continue to drop and take as much pressure as
possible before delivering pass to the back.
Receiving Back – Set up as if blocking. Then swing to opposite side to receive pass from QB. Secure ball and get downfield.
COACHING POINTS:
4 Timing is key to this play. Must practice at full speed with pressure on the QB.
4 The Split End and Wing Back must sell deep pass and then become blockers only when the defenders reads the play and comes up field.
4 If pressure is getting to the QB too quickly then run this play without screen blocking, leave the Offensive Linemen in to provide more protection.
4 Pass must be caught behind the LOS to avoid Linemen downfield penalty.
(Continued on next page).
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Swing / Screen Pass (Cont’d)
Split Backs Pro Set Left Swing Pass Left Zero
Split Backs Pro Set Right Swing Pass Right Zero
Split Backs Pro Set Left Screen Pass Left
Split Backs Pro Set Right Screen Pass Right
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Passing Tree Routes
The Tree Routes use the concept of the passing tree, which gives the Quarterback a couple of simple reads to determine who receives the
football. The protection package on all these plays is Pocket Protection and we will show various routes that can be adjusted to accommodate the
Quarterback’s throwing arm strength. The pass routes are called for the 3 receivers from left to right in the formation.
LINE FORMATION:
4 Pro Set
ASSIGNMENTS:
Tackle – Pocket Protection
Split End – Called Route
Guard – Pocket Protection
Wing Back – Called Route
Center – Pocket Protection
Back – Protect pocket from outside in
Guard – Pocket Protection
Quarterback – Take the appropriate drop and find your keys, read them and deliver the pass
Tackle – Pocket Protection
Tight End – Called Route
Back – Protect pocket from outside in
COACHING POINTS:
4 A solid passing game requires a commitment to practice. Practice these plays at full speed and give your Quarterback different defensive looks to prepare him.
4 Protection up front is the key, Offensive Lineman should win their blocks on the LOS and not give up too much ground.
4 Put cones out in the field during practice to show the receivers the proper depth for their routes.
4 Do not ruin your Quarterbacks confidence, he will make mistakes at first, provide him with fixes and the mistakes will decline.
(Continued on next page).
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Passing Tree Routes (Cont’d)
As shown Split Pro Right Post - Out - In (836) Pocket Pro
As shown Split Pro Right Hitch - Hitch - Hitch (000) Pocket Pro
As shown Split Backs Pro Right Slant - Slant - Hook (224) Pocket Pro
As shown Split Backs Pro Left in - Out - Post (638) Pocket Pro
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COPYRIGHT © 2009 BY USA FOOTBALL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The information in this publication has been compiled to aid youth football coaches. No part of this
publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without prior permission of USA Football, 8300 Boone Boulevard, Suite 625, Vienna, VA 22182. None of the activities depicted in this publication should
be performed without qualified adult supervision. Use discretion, place safety above all other goals and always make certain that players are wearing proper safety
gear. Writing, technical editing and diagrams by Larry Canard. Cover and layout by HeadRush Creative. Printed in the United States of America. A USA FOOTBALL BOOK.

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