Tagging passing concepts in the run game is a growing trend. See how Coach Knight and his offense structured their concepts to result in over an 85% completion percentage on these calls. Read the report...
By Jacob Knight
Waverly High School (OH)
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At Waverly High School, we are big believers in getting our best athletes the football in space. Our other belief is we do not want to run the football into bad looks. These are concepts most teams adhere to, but our issue going into this past season was that we had a different kind of QB.
He is a hard worker with a great deal of arm talent, but he isn’t a great runner by nature. It isn’t that he was slow, but it was obvious that his legs were not what we were going to live on. To address this, we sat down and tried to construct ways to give our guy answers in the run game where he didn’t have to pull the football, and run. So through this, and research we decided the best way was to tag quick game to run plays.
We run the following base runs; Inside Zone, Power, Counter, Stretch, and Pin& Pull. We are a team that operates exclusively out of the pistol. Because of this, we will not have tags on Stretch, and Pin & Pull (though we do allow our quarterback to take matchups to the backside 1v1 if he has them). We will tag quick game on Inside Zone, Power, and our Read counter play.
On every inside run concept our offense runs, our receivers have specific rules. If it is a 3 receiver side, our H (#3) knows that he is running a bubble, the single side knows they are running an option (hitch, slant, fade). Our receivers are going to block for the bubble, or run a route on every single inside run play we call (Diagram 1).
In the 2015 season, this was a big thing for us, and got us out of a lot of situations where had we just run the football, we probably would have been in trouble. Our big thing this past offseason was how can we expand this, and make it better. So we came up with basic tags that we were going to use to get ourselves out of bad situations.
Protecting the Quarterback:
When we decided to do this, our number one priority was making sure we put our quarterback in position to not only be successful. We also wanted him to feel protected while executing the play. We focused on tagging our power play because on power we always have the backside tackle execute what we call a step hinge (stepping inside, cleaning the B gap, and hinging on a defensive end). On our Inside Zone scheme, we decided to put the TE/H-back on the backside of the run and have them block the backside end. We also will tag quick game without quarterback protection. These are generally quick developing that get the ball out of our quarterback's hands very quickly, but we wanted to have options to make sure he felt secure in these concepts.
Quarterback Coaching Points:
Coaching Point #1: “If you have a matchup you like, take it. Regardless of what else happens, take the match-up.”
If our guy has leverage or can win a one-on-one to the single side, we want our QB to take that matchup right away. The QB needs to know that he has this freedom and he won’t be second guessed for doing this at any time.
Coaching Point #2: “If the overhang (conflict/read player) can play the run, we must throw the football.”
We don’t try and make it any harder than this for the QB. If he can’t play the run, then give it. In other words, don’t let that guy make a tackle on the ball carrier.
Coaching Point #3: “If you don’t throw it, fake like you threw it.”
Our quarterback did an excellent job with this as he took pride in selling the fake. There are several times you can see players move late because they believed that he threw the football.
Continue to the full-length version of this report…
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- The quick game tag that Coach Knight uses against quarters coverage teams that places seven in the box.
- The quick game tag that Coach Knight uses against when the overhang defender lines up on the number two receiver in trips formations.
- The quick game tag that Coach Knight uses against two-high teams that places six in the box.
- How Coach Knight game plans these concepts and builds them into his weekly menu.
- Plus game film on all these concepts.
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Tagging quick game to run game is a great way to protect your base runs and keep all 11 of your offensive players engaged in the run game. We no longer have receivers taking plays off in the run game because they know they aren’t getting the football, because there is always a chance that they could receive the football. We also found that we no longer tag a lot of play action, because we don’t feel like we have to protect our runs with that. Tagging quick game on run plays, and throwing bubble takes care of that for us.
The largest piece of advice that I have for any coach that is going to tag quick game is that you have to be prepared to live with the decision your quarterback makes. There are going to be times where you go “oh, if he had given it we would have had a big gain”, but you look and he threw slant for 12 yards. Our thought is, “yeah we blocked the run well, but we just called power and gained 12 yards.” It doesn’t matter to us how the yards are gained as long as we gain them. It’s going to bail you out of trouble more than you’re going to wish you had called the run.
Meet Coach Knight: Jacob Knight just completed his second season as the offensive line coach at Waverly High School in Waverly, Ohio. The Waverly staff took a team that was 3-7 two years prior to the implementation of their new offensive system and grew it to 5-5 in 2015 and 9-2 qualifying for the state playoffs in 2016. Their offensive production grew from 2,800 yards of total offense in 2015 to 4,000 yards of total offense in 2016.