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A championship no-huddle offense. (Football).

DURING MY FIRST YEAR at Williamston High School in 1995, we won the 1A state championship with a Wing-T offense that found us running the ball 85% of the time.

As defenses became more athletic and better prepared for the Wing-T, we began diversifying our attack by spreading the field with three and four receivers.

By the time we won another 1A state championship in 1999, we were still using some of the basic principles of the Wing-T, but using formations to spread the defenses and force them to adjust to us.

With the help of our new one-back system, we averaged 43 points a game and finished the season with a 14-0 record. Our running back easily broke the state's single-game rushing record with 317 yards. Though we ran the ball a little less (70%), we achieved even greater success by spreading the defense all over the field and creating bigger lanes.

After the 1999 season, we became a predominantly one-back offense with three or four receivers. And when we stopped inheriting super athletes, we decided to install a no-huddle offense for about 30% of the time.

We started the 2001 season by losing three of our first five games, but that changed quickly once we began going to our no-huddle offense more often. We won nine straight games in our quest for a third state championship in six years, only to come up short.

Our offense now featured four wide-outs and one running back, which allowed us to exploit the defensive adjustments. If the defense stacked up to stop the run, we'd throw the ball, and if they set up strong against the pass, we'd run the ball. In short, we'd attack wherever they were most vulnerable.

That allowed us to average 180 yards a game rushing and 210 yards a game passing over the past two seasons.

Though we have about 30 plays in our no-huddle offense, we prefer to focus on the 10 that make up our basic package. Our base offense is very simple. All of the plays are numbered and our four basic formations have names.

We use a combination of hand signals to the backs and receivers, and have our QB make verbal acknowledgements to the offensive line.

The no-huddle plays can be broken down into four parts:

1. Calling the Play:

The coach calls out the formation as follows:

Base: The X and Y receivers always stay on their side, while the Z sets up on the right and the H on the left.

Trips Rt. or Lt.: The H is always the inside receiver on Trips to either side, while Z is in the middle.

Trey Rt. or Lt.: Our bunch information is a tighter version of Trips.

Triangle Rt. or Lt.: This is a very wide Trips set.

2. Reading the Defensive Alignment:

The coach reads how the defense adjusts to our formation and then calls the play accordingly. He first checks the number of defensive players in the box (tackle to tackle). If there are five in the box, he will run the ball. If there are six or seven in the box, he will throw the ball.

We have four basic running plays vs. five in the box:

Fullback Trap: We usually like to run a trips or triangle set to try to remove an extra LB. Then we trap the three technique or the four I side.

Toss Sweep: Depending on the defense, we will either zone block it or pull one guard or both guards. We like to look for an overshift by the defense and attack weak.

Zone Dive: We can also block this several ways, depending on the defense. Our two most used blocking schemes are straight zone across the front and gap down and pull the backside guard on the DE.

Open Option: Usually zone blocking to the play side, except for the play side DE. The QB is responsible for the first person head up or outside our tackle. He reads the option player and either keeps or pitches off of him.

We use six basic plays vs. six or seven in the box:

Smash Route: If we read soft corners, we will opt to run the smash route. The outside receivers put their inside leg back and run a four-step stop route. The inside receivers put their inside leg back and run a two-step hot route. The QB takes a three-step drop and delivers the football.

Fade and Flat: If we read hard corners, we will attack with an outside fade and a flat route by the inside receiver. The inside receivers put their outside leg back and run a four-step flat, while the outside receivers put their outside leg back and run a four-step fade to the sideline. The QB takes a three-step drop and delivers the football.

Bubble Screen: If the defense is in zone coverage or the OLB is covering the flats and taking away the smash, we will throw this screen. The inside receiver puts his outside leg back, takes two steps straight back, and then gets into the bubble, attacking the sideline. The outside receiver blocks the most immediate danger to the screen. The QB takes a one-step drop and throws the ball to the screen receiver.

Hot Route: This route will be run to an uncovered receiver or to a receiver from whose side we are expecting a blitz. We usually run this out of our trips formation. The outside receivers run fade routes. The inside receivers put their inside leg back and take two steps to cut in front of the defender. Then, the QB takes a one-step drop and hits the uncovered receiver.

Slip Screen: Best used against a heavy pass rush. The outside receiver in trips puts his inside leg back, takes two quick steps upfield, and then comes behind the LOS a yard back toward the offensive line. The slot receivers block out on the next receiver's man, while the OL blocks for two seconds, then releases upfield on the LB's and DB's. The QB takes a five-step drop, then drifts back, brings the defense to him, and dumps the ball off to a screen receiver.

Sprint-Out Patterns: QB sprints out to trips side and reads defense. The outside receiver puts his inside leg back and runs an eight-step stop pattern (12 to 10 inside stop). The middle receiver puts his outside leg back and runs an eight-step corner pattern (12-yard corner). The inside receiver puts his outside leg back and runs a four-step flat pattern (5-yard flat).

Note: Since all of our patterns are timing routes, we set up our receivers with either their inside or outside leg back and break their pattern off on a certain number of steps.

For all inside patterns, they must have their inside leg back, and for all outside patterns, their outside leg is back.

This really helps with the QB and WR's timing on all of our patterns, thus eliminating a lot of guesswork. This approach to our passing game has paid huge dividends.

3. Signaling the Play In:

The coach next signals the play in to the backs and receivers. (We have an indicator before each play is signaled.)

Number systems:

0 -- make an O with both hands.

1 -- top of head.

2 -- ears.

3 -- chest.

4 -- golf swing.

5 -- five fingers in air.

6 -- six-shooter from hip.

7 -- drink a 7-Up.

8 -- make an eight with both hands.

9 -- 9mm guns in the air.

Example of a play call from coach (wrist is the indicator): "Chest-Head-Wrist-7-Up-Head-Ears." The play signaled is 71, Bubble Screen.

4. QB Relays Play to OL:

The QB next calls the play to the OL along with the blocking assignment.

He uses any color before the play to call the blocking technique.

He then calls the play number to both sides of the OL, with a dummy number after it.

His third command is the pass-blocking assignment. "Ray" or "Luke" tells the OL which way to slide-protect. (The FB blocks the end on the opposite side.)

"Big" tells the OL to fan-protect a five-man front, man-on-man. (The FB checks backside for LB run through.)

Example of a play call for the bubble screen: "Gold 71-23, Gold 71-23, Ray, Ray, Set Go."

Our no-huddle offense allows us to make adjustments on the field during an offensive series. We use it going in, coming out, and in the middle of the field. We do not look at it as a hurry-hurry offense, but as a move-the-chains offense.

Every defense is left a little weaker in some areas more than others, depending on how the defense lines up to a certain formation. The use of this package enables the coach to exploit that.

This offense has been very effective in both running and passing the football and can be summed up in five words: "Hit 'Em Where They Ain't."
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Article Details
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Author:Bryant, Jim Bob
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:1488
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