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noufbBy Mike Kuchar, Senior Research Manager, X&O Labs

 

Our research shows that one of the more prevalent formations used to run the single pull Power concept has been what most coaches are referring to as the Stack formation. It’s a 3x1 formation with the sniffer (or H back) aligned in the B gap to the trips side. Find out how it is used here...



By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar

 

Introduction:

The following research was conducted as part of XandOLabs.com special report on “Spread Gap Schemes,” which can be accessed in full by clicking here.

20 Personnel Groupings

Stack Formation:

We found one of the more prevalent formations used to run the single pull Power concept has been what most coaches are referring to as the Stack formation (Diagram 21). It’s a 3x1 formation with the sniffer (or H back) aligned in the B gap to the trips side. The name “Stack” is derivative of Auburn University head coach Gus Malzahn, who ran the same formation while he was at Shiloh Christian High School (AR) in the late 1990s. Jeff Conaway, a Malzahn disciple who is now the head coach at Shiloh Christian is still using it to run Power with a great deal of success. In Coach Conaway’s system, the Stack is a 20 personnel grouping that puts the H, slot and A back to the right side. The H in “rip” alignment, which he calls in B gap and in easy arms reach of the offensive tackle while the back is aligned in what Coach Conaway calls a 1.5 alignment, which is six yards deep straddling the inside leg of the guard.

Slide21

The Power, Counter and Buck Sweep concepts are the most effective runs in Shiloh Christian’s offense so in order to keep the integrity of these concepts without giving tailback alignments as indicators, Coach Conaway has developed a system of where to tell the A back where to line up. “If we are running down hill Power or Inside Zone, we tend to align deeper with our back,” said Coach Conaway. “If we run Buck Sweep, we tend to align wider with our heels on the toes of the quarterback to get the natural mesh in the backfield.” So in order to break tendencies, Coach Conaway will use the following numbering systems to help the A back in his alignment. The back knows where to align based on the play concept:

“0” alignment: A back is in a Pistol alignment (Diagram 22).

Slide22

“1” alignment: A back slightly outside, straddling the outside leg of the guard, two yards behind the QB (Diagram 23).

Slide23

“2” alignment: A back is right behind the tackle, two yards behind the QB (Diagram 24).

Slide24

1.5 alignment: A back is a combination of both 1 and 2. Gets him tighter to the QB and while still being able to run outside zone schemes (Diagram 25).

Slide25

Slant Formation:

Similar to a Stack formation, the Slant formation tells the H/Y (sniffer to align away from the twin receiver set (Diagram 26). Not only is this an advantageous formation to run Counter (which we will address in case three), but it limits two-high safety defenses from having an apexed player at the point of attack. The play side tackle is able to work to the play side inside linebacker while the sniffer is able to kick the play side defensive end. Choate Rosemary Hall (CT) will use both the Slant and Stack formation to run its Power concept.

Slide26

 

Spread Personnel Groupings:

Single and Double Pull Gap Runs

 

"We needed something different."

- Steve Addazio

  

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs 

The vision is thought to have originated in Gainesville, Florida during the Tim Tebow era. It was then, when University of Florida offensive line coach Steve Addazio, found himself trying to concoct ways to separate dominant SEC front sevens without using the traditional Zone concepts that Spread offenses were employing. 

"I remember thinking that we didn't have the size up front to go toe-to-toe with some of the defensive units we faced in the SEC that season," Addazio recalled. "We couldn't just hang our hat on the Inside Zone play. We needed something different." 

The "difference" lied in utilizing down, down, kick schemes at the point of attack which provided for front side gap double team blocks (rather than Zone Combination blocks). This change, in turn, produced vertical displacement of down defenders. Problem was those schemes were tied more into two-back structures and Addazio and head coach Urban Meyer didn't want to sacrifice taking the Gators lightening fast speed off the field by changing personnel groupings. 

So the Gators began to creating angles and misdirection up front by utilizing ageless Gap schemes like Power and Counter from one-back (10, 11 and 12 personnel) groupings). 

Two national championships, and nearly a decade later, another viable run option continues to infiltrate itself into the playbooks of Spread coaches who previously hung their hat on the Inside and Outside Zone schemes. 

Now, programs like Auburn University, Urban Meyer's Ohio State University, Clemson University and the University of Mississippi (to name a few) have integrated these same Gap schemes, with the inclusion of another timeless classic the Buck Sweep, into their offensive arsenal. 

With these new trends, my team and I set out to research the single and double gap runs in spread offenses. 

We segmented our research into the following run concepts.

  • Single pull Power concept
  • Single pull Power Read concept
  • Single pull QB Power concept
  • Double pull Counter concept
  • Double bull Counter Read concept
  • Double pull Buck Sweep concept 

But we only wanted to study programs that were using these concepts from the following personnel groupings:

  • 10 personnel (one back, no tight end) Gun or Pistol formations.
  • 11 personnel (one back, one tight end or sniffer) Gun or Pistol formations.
  • 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends or sniffers) Gun or Pistol formations.
  • 00 personnel (no backs with or without sniffer) Gun formations. 

Some of the programs we studied included, but were not limited to:

  • Shiloh Christian High School (AR): Several staffers worked/played under Auburn University head coach Gus Malzahn, they've averaged 7.5 yards per carry on their single pull power concept and 7.2 yards on Counter concept.
  • Bryant High School (AR): Averaged nearly 9 yards per carry on its Counter concept.
  • Ohio Northern University: Averaged over 5 yards per carry on its Buck Sweep concept.
  • Ocean City High School (VA): Averaged over 12 yards per carry on its Counter concept and over 8 yards per carry on its Buck Sweep concept.
  • Nassau Community College (NY): Averaged over 5 yards per carry on its Power Read concept, finishing with a 9-2 record.
  • North Davidson High School (NC): Averaged 5.4 yards per carry on its Counter concept. 

Our research found using Gap run concept from these personnel groupings has several advantages:

  • It loosens the tackle box and provides for optimal angles at the point of attack.
  • It separates the defense by employing down, down, kick blocking concepts to the front side of the scheme.
  • Its constant use of double team blocking angles at the point of attack provide for vertical displacement of down defenders.
  • It eliminates defensive gap integrity by the constant moving and exchanging of gaps centered on down blocks and pulls. 
  • It provides for extra blockers at the point of attack by using single and double pullers.
  • Its malleability of using different pullers (either based on formation or defensive personnel) disrupts the continuity of defensive run fits.
  • It expands running lanes by employing crack blocks on the perimeter and seal blocks through the alley. 

Our research also found many new trends in using Gap schemes in the Spread. That is why we've have put all of our research into a brand-new special report... 

The Spread Gap Scheme Study

I'll show you how to access this exclusive research in just a second. But first, let's take a look a closer look at this powerful new study. 

We published The Spread Gap Scheme Study in four cases... 

Case 1: Teaching the Fundamental Block Concepts in Gap Schemes 

If you run all or just one of the Gap concepts mentioned above, you are going to need to teach your offensive line how create movement at the point of attack by producing devastating down blocks and double teams on the front side of the scheme. Regardless of the defensive scheme you are facing, you will need to make certain types of blocks to achieve maximum efficiency in these concepts. 

In case one of our special report, we studied only those programs who had a winning percentage of .500 or better and averaged more than 5 yards per play on these concepts and asked them the following:

  • How they teach the down block at the point of attack.
  • How they teach the back block of the center on a 3-technique.
  • An analysis and coaches perspective of the "flat step" methodology on the back block.
  • An analysis and coaches perspective of the "angle step" methodology on the back block. 
  • Why some coaches are using more Zone blocking schemes in their gap runs.
  • The distinction between various aiming points on the back block including distinctions between the "V" of the neck aiming point or the near hip aiming point.
  • Research on the double team block, including why some coaches prefer not to use gap double teams at the point of attack in these schemes. 

Case 2: The Single Pull Power and Power Read Concept

The single pull Power concept was the most utilized run concept out of Spread personnel groupings, with 89 percent of coaches using this scheme. What's more is that over half of the coaches that responded to our survey have averaged between 5 and 6 yards per play on this concept alone. 

While the Power scheme may be one of the eldest run concepts in football, how these Spread coaches are formationing the scheme to reach maximum efficiency continues to be of interest. The Power concept is the truest form of a Gap scheme because it produces the "down, down, kick" component that these Gap concepts employ. 

Some of the research uncovered in this case includes:

  • How coaches are formationing the Power concept to generate positive run angles at the point of attack.
  • Analysis of the Stack and Slant formation, two of the most widely used formations to run the Power and Power Read concept and what benefits these produces in blocking angles.
  • The exact verbiage Spread coaches are using to correlate the alignment of the sniffer (Y or H off the ball) to achieve optimal blocking angles.
  • How coaches are teaching the kick out block of the sniffer, and what they are doing against "spill" teams who will gap exchange at the point of attack.
  • An analysis of the most preferable A-back alignments (Offset and Pistol) to run the Power and Power Read concept successfully and the various mesh points coaches are using to make the scheme more fluid.
  • Why not all coaches are teaching the Power as a pure A-gap concept.
  • How coaches are blocking problematic fronts including a backside B gap defender (3-techique in the even front or 4i-technique in the odd front).
  • How coaches are formationing the Power Read concept and using it to get +1 on the perimeter.
  • The Power Seal concept that coaches are using to handle C gap exchanges or roll down safeties to the read side of the concept.
  • The Power Crack option that coaches are using to alternate the blocking assignments of the sniffer and slot receiver.
  • The Power Arc concept, which is a pre-snap adjustment that coaches are using when a defensive presents four defenders to the read side. 

Case 3: The Double Pull Counter and Counter Read Concept

Chances are if you're an offensive coach that utilizes the Power concept, you also have the Counter concept on your menu. It makes sense, particularly if you are using sniffer formations. While some offensive coaches feel that the Counter concept is the stepbrother of the Outside Zone scheme, formationally it marries up with the Power scheme because of the positioning of the sniffer in one back offenses. 

In the Power scheme, that player is responsible for kicking out the C gap defender to the play side whereas in Counter schemes, this same player is assigned as the lead puller to the backside. We found that nearly 67 percent of coaches use the single pull counter concept in Spread personnel groupings. 

Some of the research included in this case includes:

  • Various blocking philosophies to the front side of the scheme, including Nassau Community College's (NY) "leave two" methodology and why Bryant High School (AR) chooses to use sprint out protection.
  • How coaches are formationing the concept to get numbers in the box, including analysis of formations from 11 personnel, 10 personnel and 12 personnel groupings.
  • Why Nassau Community College (NY) uses and "Even" formation as to not tip away ball carrier tendencies based on formation.
  • The backfield numbering system that Shiloh Christian High School (AR) uses so defenses won't get a beat on which type of scheme is being run.
  • The exact verbiage that coaches are using to correlate the alignment of the sniffer as it pertains to his blocking scheme.
  • How coaches are teaching the wall pull block of the sniffer, including "2 to 1" blocking concept that Bryant High School (AR) uses to identify "bluffing" second level defenders at the point of attack.
  • Analysis of the lead puller (guard or tackle) including research behind the skip pull fundamental, the square pull fundamental and the jab away fundamental.
  • An analysis of the most preferable A-back alignments (Offset and Pistol) to run the Counter and Counter Read concept successfully and the various mesh points coaches are using to make the scheme more fluid.
  • How some programs, like North Davidson High School (NC), are using same side alignments with the offset back and the footwork that goes along with it.
  • Research behind various ball carrier aiming points and how North Davidson High School (NC) is teaching the ball carrier to read the backside linebacker for cutback.
  • How coaches are blocking problematic fronts including a backside B gap defender (3-techique in the even front or 4i-technique in the odd front).
  • Contributions from various programs on Q Counter and Counter Read concepts, which can be used as both play side and backside read schemes. 

Case 4: The Double Pull Buck Sweep Concept

One of the more popular Double Pull run concepts that has been gaining traction among Spread coaches is the ageless Buck Sweep. It first originated in the days of Tubby Raymond and his University of Delaware units. What once was purely a two to three back run concept, has found itself into the menus of many Spread-based systems including Auburn University head coach Gus Malzahn who has been using the run since his days at Shiloh Christian High School in Arkansas. 

 At its core, the Buck Sweep toes the line between a Gap and Man run schemes that combines crack and down blocking at the point of attack with the pulling of both guards. 

According to our research, we found that 41 percent of Spread coaches run the Buck Sweep as part of their run game. This concept continues to gain popularity due to the success of programs such as Auburn University, Clemson University and the University of Mississippi, each of which use this scheme frequently as part of their offensive arsenal. 

In case four, we present our research on the varying blocking assignments of the scheme, how coaches are formationing the concept to attain optimal results, the preferable QB/RB alignments and mesh points, the technique behind the crack and pull blocks as well as the Read concepts that coaches are using off the base run. 

Some of the research uncovered in this case includes:

  • How coaches are formationing the concept to get numbers in the box, including analysis of formations from 11 personnel, 10 personnel, 12 personnel and empty/compressed formation groupings.
  • The exact verbiage that coaches are using to correlate the alignment of the sniffer as it pertains to his blocking scheme.
  • Analysis of how coaches are teaching the crack block technique of the H/Y off including research on the flat step methodology, vertical burst methodology and why some coaches say it's not necessary to get a knockdown block. 
  • Analysis of how coaches are teaching the play side guard block including the various distinctions between whether or not it needs to be a kick out or log block.
  • How coaches are blocking what can be problematic fronts including an A-gap defender play side in the form of a shade nose or 2i-technique.
  • An analysis of the most preferable A-back alignments (Offset and Pistol) to run the Buck Sweep concept successfully and the various mesh points coaches are using to marry it with Outside Zone schemes.
  • Research behind various ball carrier aiming points and why coaches are now teaching their backs to "be patient" when running this concept.
  • The various read concepts coaches are using to the backside of the Buck Sweep concept, which influence the weak side linebacker. 
  •  Video, Video and More Video 

This brand-new special report, The Spread Gap Scheme Study, includes over 37 videos. That is over 2 hours of game film provided by the programs featured in this study. 

So now, you'll be able to read about the concepts, see the diagrams, and then watch the concepts in real-game situations. 

The Spread Gap Scheme Study is available right now in our exclusive membership-based website, Insiders. 

When you join the Insiders, in addition to The Spread Gap Scheme Study, you also get 100% of every special report, research report, clinic report, drill report, game film and interview we've ever published in our five year history. 

That's literally hundreds and hundreds of reports and videos on virtually every offensive, defensive and special teams topic trending in the last five years. 

Join X&O Labs' Insiders. Go Here.

 

 

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