Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Air Force — Offensive Preview
Join GBMWolverine and read on for a technical look at the options that are similar to the Air Force offense. Thank CoachBT for his time and effort.
Option football has been around for a long time. And some would say that the first time a back pitched to another back option football was born. Option football became high powered in the 1970’s when the powerhouse names such as Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Ohio State ran up big numbers. The Oklahoma wishbone changed the face of offense and Coach Switzer referred to a new statistic of pitch-outs attempted and pitch-outs completed as the Sooners stopped themselves more than the opposition could. The triple option can be run out of many formations including the I, the power wing, the veer, the flex bone, as well as the wishbone. Read on for Coach’s tech analysis based on his use of the option.
QB- His steps are exactly the same as the Trap/freeze option. Readers may want to think UM in the 70’s under Bo. Trap option was one of his favorite plays. We use a technique learned from Syracuse where the quarterback steps to an open 6 o’clock position and pushes or hops away from the line of scrimmage.
This clears the quarterback out of the way of the fullback. His heels and toes are pointed to the sidelines. The quarterback then reaches back to get the ball to the tailback as far back in the backfield as possible, the entire time keeping his eyes on the 1st defensive linemen past the offensive guard. By reaching back the quarterback has a longer read, which makes life tougher on the DT.
We teach reading the inside number of the defensive tackle. If that number closes to the hole (down) pull the ball out. If the defensive tackle stays wide (away from the hole) give the ball to the back. If the DT closes down fast and hard the quarterback simply pulls the ball out and replaces the defensive tackle, that is, the quarterback goes where the defensive tackle was.
If the quarterback pulls the ball out but does not hit the tackle slot, the quarterback’s course is at an angle to the outside. This keeps him in phase with the pitch back. Even if the quarterback hands off, he MUST continue with his option fake. In the good old slobber knocker days, the quarterback could expect to take a shot every time, pitch or no pitch. Rules protect the quarterback in this era on a quick toss.
FB/RB- His aiming point is the center’s midpoint/right up his backside. Note carefully: an important part of any option series is the mesh and mesh point. That is why defenses try to get a defender to the mesh point when defending the option, creating chaos and turnovers. The running back must have his head up as he goes through the hole. The running back must also have a huge pocket to make the quarterback’s life easier. When the running back’s head goes down the pocket for the hand-off tends to squeeze smaller making fumbles more likely. The running back must run as if he is getting the ball each time. We line the RB/FB at 4 to 4 1/2 feet depending on his quickness. The running back cannot show any hesitation, he must hit the hole aggressively. The speed at which the mid-line play hits the hole (the first option) is the single biggest key to success, after making the proper read.
Pitch Back- He needs to get downhill in a hurry and attack the outside shoulder of the contain defender. This keeps the tailback in proper phase and occupies the outside defender, which is usually either the outside linebacker or the strong safety. The worst thing the tailback can do is get either too deep or too wide. This mistake literally makes the pitch back a non-factor and the series is much easier to defend.Blocking- There are so many adjustments that I could write forever, but fear not, this will be short. So here are the basics. The key to option success is blocking the play side middle linebacker and free safety. This is done with the playside offensive guard and either the tackle, tight end, running back, slot or wing depending on the formation. One thing to watch for is the quarterback turning up too early and colliding with the blocker. The quarterback must be sure to let the blocker get out of the way by keeping his course to the outside.
Center- Our rule is if he is covered block that man, if the center is not covered block the backside A gap to catch the back side linebacker.
Play side offensive guard- Step hard with the outside foot and attack the defensive tackle, either in a 2 or 3 technique, with the outside arm of the blocker ripping through the defender’s inside shoulder and then attack the play-side middle linebacker. He steps to the defensive tackle to help set up the trap which is used to keep the defensive tackle honest and to make him sit to help the quarterback with his read. Got that one from Syracuse. If a team has a 0 tech or 1 tech tackle we have the play side offensive guard shuck the tackle on the shoulder pad to give the offensive center a better shot at blocking him.
Play side offensive tackle- Attacks the defensive end and then turns his hips and seals him. He cannot let the defensive end beat him across his face. That is one of the things defenses try, to slant the defensive end hard into the B gap.
TE/Slot/Wing/RB- Tracks the free safety- my personal favorite is folding the tight end back inside. But any variation can be effective.
Backside offensive guard- Blocks the backside defensive end.
Backside offensive tackle- Blocks the backside defensive end, the same basic technique as the front side tackle. He cannot get beat across his face.
Split ends- Block the cornerbacks.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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