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Journal extolls run-pass option play

Posted by John Reed on

The 1/9/17 Wall Street Journal says the run-pass option play is unstoppable.

Well, I really like the play, but I don’t know about unstoppable. My single-wing offense book only has 12 plays total, but if I recall correctly, three are run-pass options.

Option plays give the quarterback the ability to change the point of attack AFTER the snap. But all the traditional options were all runs. I discuss that kind of thinking my book The Contrarian Edge for Football Offense.

The Contrarian Edge for Football Offense book

For example in the triple option, you had dive, keep, and pitch.

Fake field goal speed option

I had a lot of success with a fake field goal speed option. The holder would become the quarterback and the kicker would be the pitchback and you would run it away from the kicker’s kicking foot side. So with a right-footed kicker, it would be speed option left and with a left-footed kicker, speed option right.

A speed option is a triple option only without the dive option so it is only a double option, although I have never heard it called that.

But after I would run my speed option left fake field goal once in a game, the defense would be looking for it and stop it. I figured, but never tried, a fake field goal triple option where the third option would be a forward pass to the playside tight end running a delay bench route would succeed.

In other words, the left tight end blocks the defensive end in for a count of “one one thousand two one thousand.” Then he runs toward the left sideline only a couple of yards past the line of scrimmage—like on the goal line—and immediately looks for the ball from the quarterback.

Push pass

The “pass” would likely be a one-handed push like the pitch because the receiver is so close and it’s quicker when the QB is holding the ball with two hands in front of his chest as he should be.

The key coaching point here, as on all TE–delay routes, is the TEs must hold the block tor two full seconds. The consequence of them leaving the block too soon is the QB gets sacked by the defensive end or tackle whom the TE left too early.

It is maddening trying to get TE to hold the block long enough. You must put great emphasis on the delay before release or this play will not work—maybe a thousand reps with the TE getting criticized in between each until he gets it right.

It is a simple instruction—block for two seconds then release and run the pass route—but the TEs act like you asked to do something unthinkable like murder his mother or tuck his shirt in.

Good play but tough to coach correctly

I recommend run-pass option plays highly. But you have to work out and coach the details of each version of it. It may be unstoppable if you coach it right and your players execute it right, but it is a very difficult play to coach.

I think it would able great if you added the TE delay pass route to a regular triple option thereby making it a quadruple option. And you probably need to run that only to the wide side of the field.
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The Journal says the play may be illegal. Ineligible receivers downfield. I have no idea what they are talking about. My books say that all run-pass option plays require that the interior line not downfield and that’s how we coached it. Seemed simple to me. The NCAA allowed the blockers to to three yards downfield, then changed it to one, then beat a hasty retreat back to three. I can see where that could cause confusion, but the NCAA needs some guys. Make it one and tell the offensive coordinators to shut up.


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