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By Cedric Pearl Offensive Coordinator Alabama A&M

Editor's Note:  Coach Pearl enters his 11th season with the Bulldogs, and was promoted prior to the 2007 season to offensive coordinator to go along with his offensive line coaching duties.  The 2007 Bulldog offense responded by leading the SWAC in scoring and total offense, plus boasting one of the most balanced and high-powered offenses in all of NCAA Division I-FCS.

Sprint Draw Philosophy:

The sprint draw at Alabama A&M is a great complimentary play to our sprint out passing game package. As a part of our passing game we like to take advantage of our quarterback athleticism by moving the pocket and getting him on the perimeter with a run/pass option. Getting to the perimeter is key because it forces flat defenders and linebackers to make a decision of whether or not to drop and defend pass or come up and stop the quarterback from running.

Once the defense has committed to stopping us from attacking the perimeter with quarterback we counter with the sprint draw. Typically, most defenses try to have defensive ends set edge by getting wider when the fullback attacks. With the sprint draw we use the fullback now to kick the defensive end (end man on line of scrimmage) out. This creates the initial running lane for the tailback. We mainly run our sprint draw package out of 21 personnel look.

Watch Game Film of Alabama A&M's Sprint Draw Scheme. You'll See Why They Averaged Over 12 Yards Per Play in 2012. Join X&O Labs' Insiders and Start Watching Right Now!

Sprint Draw Rules:

  • Fullback: attack the playside defensive end (or End man on line of scrimmage) by attacking the outside leg of the defensive end and executing a cut block to get him on the ground.
  • Tailback: open step to play side and read the block of the fullback looking to block the first defender inside out. It’s his job to lead the quarterback outside towards the line of scrimmage.
  • Offensive Line: executes a turn back protection scheme. We call this technique "punch and turn." The punch is to provide some resistance to the defender aligned in the gap away from them to help the playside offensive lineman while he turns. This scheme requires the offensive line to turn away from the sprint outside and block their gap if covered. Their rule is block first defender that attacks their gap. It is important on the backside to keep moving and protect the quarterback’s blindside. If offensive linemen are uncovered or no defender on line of scrimmage attacks their gap then we climb to second level and block linebackers (Diagram 1).

Note: When attacking linebackers we do not chase to the play side if the linebacker has flowed too fast. This avoids penalties and it creates more running lanes for the ball carrier to cutback as they attempt to get to the perimeter. Once the linebacker beats you as you punch turn and attack, let him go to other uncovered offensive linemen (Diagram 2).

For example, the play side offensive tackle must read the B gap on his punch turn technique because that is his gap responsibility. If there is no three-technique and the shade does not attack B gap on snap, he climbs and reads playside linebacker. If the playside linebacker runs outside to get to perimeter let him go and look inside for linebacker inside of him flowing to play (Diagram 3). This rule applies to all uncovered linemen.

Quarterback:

Opens up at twelve o’clock for three big steps to get depth and gets to perimeter with the football in throwing position. We stress that our quarterback is at seven yards on his drop. This allows him to read the block of tailback and attack the flat defender. The quarterback hands the ball off and carries out his fake to influence the defenders to chase him.

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Tailback:

Executes three steps:
  1. Lead step with playside foot.
  2. Crossover with backside foot
  3. Plant.
This allows he and the quarterback to mesh at the playside offensive tackle at seven yards. The tailback’s read is front side linebacker. If he runs outside to get to perimeter attack c gap and find a crease (Diagram 4). Based on how fast the defense is flowing the tailback can run through a crease in backside a, b or c gap.

Additional Questions for Coach Pearl?

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