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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Run Game Out of the Empty Set

I really do like going empty on the offensive side of the ball and find that it puts the defense into a bind on what they have to do.  While spreading the defense out, this formation also allows you the opportunity to still have a run game out of empty.

Jet Sweep

A great play that is commonly used is the Jet Sweep by teams.  You bring the slot back in motion and at the snap as he is going full speed is given the ball by the QB or if you are really good, he can read the backside D with the QB keeping.  Line blocks just like a stretch play and the ball carrier reads and makes his cut upfield.  If the defense starts to cheat a backer to cut off the run on play side, the slot on the 3 receiver side can align closer to cut that player off.  

If the backside backer goes in motion with the motion of the slot, then your QB will want to pull the ball.  A great compliment play especially if a defense starts cheating to the motion is a QB counter play.  

QB Counter Play

This play is a great way to take advantage of an aggressive defense and allow you the opportunity at some big plays.  As you fake the hand off to the motion back, the QB follows the pulling tackle.  The back can carry out his jet sweep fake or you can have him go pick up the backside end to prevent him from disrupting and chasing the play down from behind.  

Another way to take advantage of an aggressive defense as well is to play action off of the motion and try to take advantage of a safety that is rolling or coming up early to stop the jet sweep play.

Play Action Post SE Drag

This is a just an example of using the run to also set up your play action passing game as you take advantage of a defense that rolls to the 4 receiver side.  By isolating 1 on 1 backside you can have a favorable match up.  If the safety rolls too far the post can take advantage of the defense.  If the safety stays in the middle you can look at the post if the defense isn't in a zone or check down to the drag or swing route.  Another play change that you can do is have the 3 players actually slow block a screen to the motion player if the safety stays in the middle and it looks like the defense is staying in a 3 deep zone.  

There you go just a few examples of having the run game out of an empty set and how you can also take advantage of what a defense gives to you.  You really can force the defense to run a coverage that you like and get them into a position that favors your offense.  Coaches let me know about your experiences running the ball out of an empty formation.  Also what your opinions are of the example plays I have shown here.

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