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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Offset Up H-Back Formation Run Game

This is the second part of a three post series about using the offset up H-back formation in your offense. To see why you should consider the offset up H-back formation please follow this link. For this post I will be covering the inside zone, outside zone, and power run game.

In the main images I will include position assignments for the plays as ways you could block. But I will say that it is up to you and your offensive coaches how you want to block these plays. This won't be a fully comprehensive post but it will give you an idea of plays you can run and also how this formation can fit into your current run game.  

Inside Zone

Below are two pictures of inside zone with and without reading the end man on the line of scrimmage. As mentioned in my previous post even though I have this drawn in the gun, this formation will work with pistol and under center.

Click To Enlarge
The wham block action in both plays will cause the defensive end to be slower in his reaction because he will be unsure if he is being blocked, read, or if the H-Back is running a route. As you can see, this play will work whether you are a pro-style or spread read option team. Below are some other example of other inside zone plays using the offset up H-Back formation.

The first two plays have RPO's attached and the second two fit more with traditional pro-style offenses running inside zone from under center and the pistol. The versatility of this formation gives the offense a lot of options that put pressures on the defense.

Outside Zone

Outside zone from this formation can be really nice because of the H-Back being able to hide behind the line and act like a lead blocker. Instead of having to pull a second O-lineman, the H-Back can be a puller if you have pin pull as part of your outside zone scheme. The H-Back can push on the tackle or Tight End's back helping to block then popping out at the last second to pick up the backer.
As before here are two outside zone plays, one with and without a read.
Click To Enlarge
For the read play I have the offense reading the Will. You can read the end and have the H-Back lead for you on the Outside Zone. I could put the F to the QB's right and run QB lead with two lead blockers. Here are some other variations of the Outside zone as well. Again because of the flexibility of this formation you can be creative with your blocking schemes.
I have a play running outside zone away from the H-Back so that you don't get predictable always running to the H-Back side. Also the last play has the H-Back leading up on the Sam, with both guards pulling around. I didn't include it, but Jet Sweep can be blocked the same with the only difference being the F helping lead.


Quite simply put, this is the run play that fits best in the offset up H-Back formation. Because of the proximity to the line, the H-Back can kick out the end before he can react and wrong arm or squeeze. Power away from the H-Back is also a possibility with him following the pulling guard. That is tough on a defense if you can run power both ways. 

For short yardage situations if you're a shotgun spread team this gives you the option of a power run game with the same flexibility for your pass game. 
Click To Enlarge
To me this may be one of the most difficult plays on an inside backer, especially if you run an RPO. In both examples, the Will is going to be either blocked or read, so he will be slow to react because he will be unsure what the offense is doing with him. 
In these variations you see I've included a power play with the H-Back following the guard. There's also QB Power with 3 blockers at the point of attack. I didn't include single back power that a lot of spread offenses run from the gun where only the guard pulls up the hole. Could you run that with the H-Back instead of the guard? Sure but then it wouldn't be a true single back power. It is however another play you could put in your playbook which doesn't change much for your offense.


Hopefully this has given you an idea of ways to run your plays using the offset up H-Back formation. Next up we're going to talk about the passing game. That post will be available in the next few days, make sure to check it out.

As always I would appreciate any comment on your thoughts down below. Let me know if you liked what I said or not. I enjoy getting feedback, helps me grow as a coach.
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Using The Offset Up H-Back Formation In Your Offense

This is a formation that I find myself liking more and more as I study the game. Typically called the sniffer formation, I think it's seen an increase in offenses because of it's versatility. It adds another formation the defense has to prepare for while it fits into your current run or pass game. This will be a three post series covering first formation, run game, and finally the pass game. It will not be completely comprehensive, but it will give you ideas on how to use the formation in your current offense.  

Why The Offset Up H-Back Formation?

1. These formations can work with the type of players you have on a year to year basis. Do you not have a good blocking back but instead a couple really good TE's? These formations allows you to adapt to the players you have, and keep the plays you want to run.    

2. It puts pressure on defensive alignment.  Diagram 1 below shows how a 4-2-5 defense will typically align to an attached TE. Other defensive fronts usually do something similar to account for the extra gap created by the offense.

Diagram 1

In Diagram 2, because the TE is now off the ball, the defense will align to the tackle. The extra gap created by the TE is not technically there anymore. The wing can run a wham block to the left or can lead on a zone read play. Because the wing is tighter to the line his block is flatter and harder for an end or defensive player to see.

Diagram 2

The offset up formation blends the benefit of having that wing player with having a second back in the backfield. It's tougher for the defensive player to see the offensive player tight to the line at the snap because he will be hidden by the offensive linemen.

To give you an idea of what I mean, the next three images will show the view from the Mike and Will of a 4-2-5 defense vs a split back gun formation, wing gun formation, and the offset up formation.

Standard Split Back Gun Formation

In this first image the Mike and Will backers can see all three players in the offensive backfield. Because of this, after reading run or pass, they are able to react to the backfield actions accordingly. Any wham block by one of the backs is easier to be seen because he has to come at an angle.

Wing Gun Formation


In the second image the Mike sees the wing with his peripheral vision, while the Will can't see him at all. As I mentioned before the wham block will be flatter, but because the wing is outside the tackles, it will take him longer which can be the difference between making the block and not.

Offset Up Gun Formation

Same as above, the Mike sees the H-back, and the Will can't. The H-back is tight to the line like the wing, yet also in the backfield like a second back. Because of this alignment he is closer to any wham block he will make, yet still able to lead out to the defense's left if needs be.

Now that I've explained they why, let's take a look at four offset up H-back formations.


Here are the four formations that make up this offensive package for me. You don't have to use my names, you can name them whatever fits in your system.

I have given the two formations with 11 or 20 personnel smaller cat names like Cheetah or Puma. The formations with 21 or 12 personnel I have given bigger cat names. I didn't use Lion because that could be a part of many team's line protections and want to avoid confusion. You will also notice that the Y stays on the same side as the H-Back and I move the Z around to a slot position. In my offensive system that keeps it simple for me, but for you it may be different.

For my system the starting point of the H-back alignment is splitting the guard and tackle with being a yard and half to two yards behind the line. This allows him to avoid tangling legs with the guard or tackle if they pull. If the player isn't as confident or needs to based on the play he can cheat a half step to the right or left. 


I want to make it clear that even though I have drawn these up as being in the shotgun, these formations can work if you are under center or in a pistol offensive scheme.

I do hope that this post has made you think about the possibility of a few things with regards to your offense. If it did, then make sure to check out the post on the run game from the offset up H-Back formation which you can find here.

Let me know what you think down in the comments below Or share with any other coaches you think may like this content. Thanks for checking it out.
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Running Shallow Cross Route Concepts in Your Pass Game

I like running shallow cross routes in the passing game.  Let me rephrase that, I love them.  It probably has to do with the fact I am a big fan of Air Raid pass concepts.   Nevertheless the more I study it has become clear that no matter your offensive system, you need to include some form of the shallow concept in your pass game.

This is a topic which has been covered extensively on the internet by various websites, most notably by Chris Brown on his website.  There are different variations of these concepts coaches run with the shallow at four yards, the dig at twelve yards; with complimentary routes of streaks, posts, or comebacks. My contribution will show how I will run these plays as an offensive coordinator.

Here are a list of reasons of why you should consider adding the shallow cross pass concept to your pass game.
  • Can be run from multiple formations.
  • Easy throw and catch.
  • Can result in explosive plays
  • Attacks multiple coverage's.
  • Defense can never key which receiver is running the shallow route.
The first play shown here is the infamous Y-Shallow Cross made popular in the Air Raid.  This is probably the most popular of shallow cross plays and is simple to read and install.

Ace Right Flex 60 Y-Shallow Cross
OL60 protection is the half slide protection to the left.  Against a four down front as shown, the right guard and tackle will block the man over them.  Center, left guard, and tackle will slide left.  If it is a three down front, then the right guard slides left as well while the right tackle stays on the end.
Yis aligned four yards from the right tackle in a flex position.  At the snap he inside releases at a 45 degree angle left to two yards depth and then flattens across going no deeper than two yards.  It is important he gets an inside release, or else this messes up the timing of  the route.
His aligned 4 yards from the left tackle off the ball.  At the snap outside releases and gets to 10 yards depth then stays flat across at that depth.  Needs to outside release to help read of either man or zone for the QB.  If it is man get across the formation.  Against zone he finds the hole in the coverage and sits.
Xis aligned middle to bottom of numbers and runs a 12 yard post.  This is the alert route, thrown either in zero high or if the safety keeps jumping the dig to then take a shot down field.  MOFO split the safeties, MOFC keep it a skinny high post between numbers and left hash.
Zis a -3 to top of number split and runs a 16 yard comeback.  This is the last route in the read, usually will be thrown if getting soft coverage on the outside.
Fcheck releases checking the called Mike to SS.  After releasing aims for a four yard route.  This is the check down during the read for the QB.
QBthis is a three step drop from the gun.  Read is low to high, with primary key being man over the H. Shoulders turn to run with H, it is man and look to throw shallow. Square shoulders is zone, area read linebacker drop on whether to throw Y or H.  Third read is Z on the comeback and finally check down to the F or run.  Footwork progression is drop steps reading to throw Y; first hitch step looks H; second hitch look Z; third hitch is run or throw check down.

I run the shallow route at two yards because of the pressure it puts on linebackers.  They want to re-route receivers coming across the middle while in zone coverage; running the shallow at a four yard depth makes this easier for them to do.  Receivers are affected in that either they get stopped coming across or to avoid contact will run the routes at the wrong depth.  Running the shallow at two yards makes linebackers commit in their zone drop to either step up or not, which cleans up the read to throw the shallow or dig.  By running at two yards, my shallow receiver doesn't sit vs zone, putting pressure on the linebackers even more against a receiver going full speed

I like the comeback as part of the read because I feel it helps attack a team that is playing zone coverage.  It helps attack the flat defender.  If a backer or safety doesn't widen enough and cheats on the dig, this allows the window to open and throw this route.  It also fits with the fact that I don't like to just have a clear out route and make sure the defense has to cover all five potential receivers.

Here are some of the shallow cross plays I will run as OC.

Ace Right Flex 60 H-Shallow Cross

Ace Right Flex 60 Z-Shallow Cross

Ace Right Flex 60 X-Shallow Cross

Now one of the first things you may notice about my plays is I have my back stay on the same side.  If the shallow route is coming towards him he will run a check circle instead of a check arrow.  This is different than other versions that coaches run where the back flips sides and just runs the arrow when in a 2x2 formation.  I personally feel that by flipping the back,  it can give a key to the defense that if a shallow cross is being run it will come from the same side as the back.  I could be totally wrong about that being a key, any feedback would be appreciated in the comments.

You also may have noticed that with the shallow routes being run from the outside receivers I have the slot player to their side running a corner route.  A comeback isn't practical and a corner still attacks zone coverage while providing a read on the flat defender.  A better option may be a choice route of either a corner or deep out based on safety looks, but that is something to look deeper into at a later time.

Here is how I would run the drive pass play from a 3x1 look.

Right Trey 60 H-Shallow Drive.

Pretty much the same that most coaches have.  I have thought about flipping the back to the other side and having the X run a post with a F wheel and Z comeback.  Any coaches had any experience running those route combo's?

And lastly I have already mentioned I like empty.  I can even run the shallow crosser from an empty look.

Empty Right 50 Y-Shallow Cross

Hopefully I have made clear why I like running the crosser route concepts.  As I mentioned at the top, this is how I will run these plays.  There could be better ways to run these pass concepts and I would like to hear what other coaches think or do.  Please leave your thoughts in the comment form below.
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Moving On From Snow College

Well after some thought and prayer I decided it was time for me to leave Snow College.  I am thankful for the opportunity and players I got to know as a coach but it is just right for me to go on.  I am looking for new opportunities and if any coaches hear of something please let me know.  I would prefer to stay at the college level and am looking to be the offensive coordinator.  I will update my resume, but also have a portfolio to send to any openings that you may know about.

I will continue to post on the site and hopefully can share information that coaches will like.  Hope everyone has a good holiday season and look forward to what the future holds.
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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Best Moment in Coaching

This is video after last night's game between Louisville and Rutgers.  Louisville's QB and Offensive coordinator embrace after a tough emotional win on the field.  This is for me the best moment in football, not just winning a tough emotional game but the bonds that have developed between players and coaches.  As you watch the video listen near the end a man says, "This is what people don't see."  And it's true, most people never see after an emotional win or loss what happens between coaches and players.

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