Tip of the Week – December 11


Motion used with the Belly play – What’s the Difference?


The Belly is a FB off tackle play, usually run to the weak or SE side. Everything in this post assumes that the play is run to the weak side with a SE, like out of Red/Blue. If you visit my “Base Plays” page, half way down, you’ll see a description of the Belly play. Reading that will make my explanation of the various motions more beneficial.


There are four kinds of motion that I will discuss. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.


1. “No mo”: The first kind of motion is none. No motion at all. Part of the deception of the Wing-T comes from the backfield motion. You run your base play and get yardage. You then run a play from the same series with the same backfield motion, but it is a complimentary play going another way. The defense is adjusting to stop the base play, and the complimentary play makes them pay. In some cases, depending on experience and YOUR tendencies on film, a DC might gameplan to have the defensive linemen slant to motion. Once your RB goes in motion, the LBs call out the direction, and the DL slants to where he is motioning.


Advantage(s): You don’t give them a pre-snap read that will send them slanting hard in a specific direction.


Disadvantage(s): By going without motion, you can’t influence them with backfield motion. You also cannot gain the numerical advantage that the motion can sometimes give you.





2. Jet Motion: A second kind of motion is jet. Jet motion, as seen at the top of the diagram above, is flat, SPRINT motion before the snap. With Jet motion, you put the OLB (See the red arrow below) in conflict. If he flows out to stop the Jet Sweep (Where the WB is handed the ball). Then he cannot be a factor on Belly. If he stays flat-footed to stop Belly and ignores the motion, then you call Jet Sweep on the next play.


The scenario I just described has the WB use jet motion as a way to distract the defender(s). He does not block. As Gerry Gallagher, former HC at Montville HS (NJ), says, “A good fake is worth two good blocks.” The WB who runs his tail off and give a great ball fake will help the play go well.


In another scenario, the WB can start in jet motion, and at the snap of the ball he can kick out the DE. You will have to see how the DE reacts to the ST’s down block either in the game, or preferably on film a week earlier. If he squeezes with the down block, then maybe jet motion isn’t the best choice (see “flat” motion later). If he just charges upfield anyway, maybe to stop Jet Sweep, then your WB can kick him out and he won’t be a factor.


As I mentioned while explaining “No Mo,” a DC might gameplan to have the defensive linemen slant to motion. While this could be problematic when running Belly, it will make blocking easier when running counters like Tackle Trap or Jet XX.


Advantage(s): You can put the OLB in great conflict between Jet Sweep and Belly. He can help stop one, but not both. Also, it can give you another blocker at the point of attack if you have him attack the DE rather than carry out a wide Jet Sweep fake.


Disadvantage(s): First of all, do you want to run Jet Sweep?? If you do not have the Jet Sweep in your arsenal, then why would the defense bite on the jet fake? Second, motion often leads the defense to the ball. You had better be good at blocking when they KNOW where it is going. The counters work well when the defense gets out of position, but you can’t run counters all night.


Belly XB with Rocket motion vs. 44


3. Rocket Motion: A third type of motion is rocket. The diagram above show rocket motion to be deep, SPRINT motion, as opposed to jet’s flat motion. On the diagram, the difference is clear, but coaches who stand at LB depth on the other side of the ball say that the difference can’t be seen by the defense.


So why Rocket? If you have jet as an all-out sprint to the flank, why add another one? The diagram above has this symbol with a circle around the X  where the WB is going to catch the ball on the toss. Within a split second of the snap, the ball is already outside of the alignment of an imaginary TE. The WB has already flanked almost the entire defense. To stop this, the DC will have to play games with his DE, OLB, and maybe his S. If the OLB and S flow to stop Rocket Sweep, then (as I have indicated in the diagram above) they will be setting up a good running lane and a cutback opportunity for the FB. If they do not flow out there, then they are just giving yards to the WB on Rocket Sweep.


Advantage(s): Assuming that you run Rocket Sweep, they HAVE to loosen up the defense to honor the possibility that it will be called, and that opens up Belly. Also, Tackle Trap off rocket motion can be big. In my opinion, rocket motion does what jet motion does, but better.


Disadvantage(s): As with jet motion, you have to run Rocket Sweep for rocket motion to fool anybody. Some teams claim to be “Jet” teams and others hang their hats on the Rocket Sweep. I have always blocked them the same and felt that they could both be installed effectively in time for the season, but I tend to call more Delaware-based plays. If we revolved around Jet or Rocket, then this may be more of an issue.

Another potential disadvantage comes with the weather. I LOVE the Rocket Sweep, but that is when it is sunny and mild. When it is rainy, or windy, I worry about that forceful pitch. If I get “scared” to call Rocket Sweep, then my rocket motion fakes will not be effective.




4. Flat Motion: The final type of motion that I will explain is flat motion. Many, including the legendary Chuck Klausing, refer to this as Canadian motion. Rich Erdelyi also calls it Canadian motion, or slide motion. My former HC (Zak Taylor) called it flat motion, so I’ll roll with that.  Anyway, the WB takes off like he’s in jet motion for a second until he reaches the QB. He then squares his shoulders, getting them parallel to the LOS. From this position, he can go left, right, or forward. He kinda shuffles without crossing his feet.


How does flat motion apply to Belly? First of all, if you have the WB moving at a more controlled pace than with jet motion, he can get a better shot at the DE (or OLB, depending on the defensive front) to kick him out. If he can do that, the ST and SG can block down or climb to the LB. Additionally, by freeing up the SG whom would normally be kicking out the DE or OLB on the XB, that SG can help double team the stud NG with the C. This is dependent on the defense’s alignment, your gameplan, how they’ve been reacting, etc.


A second way to utilize the WB in flat motion is to have him climb to the LB on Belly. He can shuffle across, pause for a half second while the linemen clear out, and then climb to the first LB from the C.


Advantage(s): At the point of attack, you have an extra blocker. He may kick out or climb to LB, but he is in addition to the guys normally aligned on the split side of the ball.


Disadvantage(s): Well, there is not much “deception” to this kind of motion. He is moving fairly slowly, and that is not likely to send LBs or Safeties flying to the flanks. Having said that, once the defenders are sure that the flat motion guy is taking them to the ball, they are ripe for a counter like Tackle Trap.


**Please feel free to comment on my post, adding what YOU do or know.


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.