Shallow cross is one of the most versitile concepts in football today. Coach Wallace expalains how he uses it to beat teams that like to bring the heat. Read about it here...
By Kevin Wallace
Robert B. Glenn High School (NC)
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Beating the blitz doesn’t have to be difficult. We have found that the shallow cross concept is a simple and flexible concept that is great versus the blitz and on any normal down and distance. In our six years running this concept, it has been the most efficient play for us and this article will help you understand why. Additionally, it has proven to be very productive. 1 out of every 7 times we ran this concept this past year it resulted in an explosive catch over 16 yards.
The shallow cross is the first drop back pass we install each year. We can tag the concept to be into the boundary or to the field. We also will tag different concepts on the backside to help defeat the blitz.
This concept starts with a 5-man protection with a free release from the running back. We have used this concept with 6-man pass protection and just felt we gained more by putting the running back out in the pass concept. We mainly utilize half-man, half-slide protection here at Glenn High School. It is easier for our players to execute and understand and gives us the ability to slide to dominant defensive lineman or to cover up a young and inexperienced offensive lineman that may need help. We determine the slide side with the call.
Our rules for Scat Protection are:
Tackle: C gap Defender
Guard: B Gap Defender
Center: A Gap Defender, unless defender slants to the backside. The center is the fulcrum point and can teeter to the slide side or the man side.
Guard: #1 down linemen from head up on the center out
Tackle: #2 down linemen from head up on the center out
In figure 2, the protection is drawn up versus a 3-4 defense. The man side’s #1 is the Nose and the #2 is the Defensive End. If the nose goes into the slide side’s A-gap, then the guard sinks and looks to help with a possible linebacker blitz or some type of twist game. We tell him to sink so he does not pick off any other offensive lineman and to be able to see any type of delayed blitz.
We will free release the back to the man side of the pass protection. You can get creative here and use motion to release the back early or slide to the same side the back is releasing. These can change up depending on tendencies and “window washing” for the offense.
We are a concept based offense. This means we tag names to the concepts and a single name can tell everyone on the field what to do. This makes signaling easy and efficient for our players and coaches. A single word can tell the pass protection, the frontside routes, backside routes, and the progression for the quarterback. We play an up-tempo style of offense and look to simplify the offense every year. Our off-season evaluations of the offense are currently being done by the offensive staff and we are looking for simple adjustments to make plays more efficient and successful and concepts we need to subtract or add to the offense to help benefit the team.
The routes on the call side are from the most outside receiver to the innermost receiver:
- Shallow Cross at 2 yards burning the heels of the defensive linemen
- Get Open- vertical stem for 12 yards, turn inside and retrace back to 10 yards
- Wide- Go now flare route staying flat to the sideline and turn up at the bottom of the numbers like a wheel route.
The routes on the backside are:
- 10 yard Rhythm out
- Inside seam releasing through the outside should of the 1st inside linebacker
The shallow route aims at the heels of the defensive lineman and continues to fun full speed over the ball. We do not tell the shallow to find a void and sit in this concept. We want the receiver to be full speed running to the sideline if we deliver the ball to him. The yardage on this route is outside, up the sideline. If the receiver turns up in the middle of the field, there is not much room for yardage after the catch. He must outrun everyone to the sideline and get his large yards after the catch near the sideline.
The get open route has a conversion if the safety over top of him screws down on the snap or if there is some type of roll coverage. He will then win deep. The quarterback will look to deliver the ball around 18-22 yards deep on a 1 inch throw over top of the linebackers extended arms.
The quarterback has a pre-snap read with the rhythm out. We say if it is a “slam dunk” then throw the out and take 10 yards. This means there is no alley defender and the corner is playing soft in some type of ¼’s coverage. If he does not like the rhythm out, the quarterback has a progression read of get-open, wide, shallow. Any quarterback that has played for me will remember these key words. This shows how engrained into the offense this pass concept has been. The quarterback takes a one-step rocker step ready to deliver the ball.
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- What Coach Wallace tells receivers that are running in-breaking routes to do if the defender inside of them blitzes.
- The hot throws that Coach Wallace teaches the quarterback if blitz indicators are showing.
- How the running back ties into the hot route adjustment, which allows him to win outside with speed.
- The pre-snap adjustment Coach Wallace will use if there is no safety over the get open route.
- The quick game tags Coach Wallace will use to the backside of the shallow concept based on the alignments of the safeties.
- Plus narrated and raw film cutups of this concept.
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With the age of multiple blitz schemes and disguises, this shallow cross concept has been very successful for not only Glenn High School, but every team I have coached. It is a simple concept that can be perfected with reps. The adjustments are clearly explained and repped during practice to get good at the fundamentals. Our quarterbacks understand all of the hot routes built into this concept and feel confident on this play in any type of situation. If you have any questions, please contact me and I will gladly explain this play in more detail.
I appreciate the opportunity that X&O Labs has given me to talk about the way we have beaten the blitz with this simple pass concept over my years of coaching. I want to thank everyone who has worked with me and taught me this concept, which has become a staple in our offense here at Glenn High School.
Meet Coach Wallace:
Kevin Wallace is the Offensive Coordinator at R.B. Glenn High School in NC. This is his 2nd year at the school. Prior to Glenn High School, he was the Offensive Coordinator at Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC for the 3 years. He has also coached at the Apprentice School, Frostburg State, and LaSalle University, where he began coaching as a student-assistant after he was done playing.