Tip of the Week – December 17

Tip of the Week          –           December 17

The Offset Fullback

 

First of all, why offset your fullback? When you offset your FB, you can add another blocker for the Rocket Sweep, which I believe is the biggest reason to do it. Of course, once the defense picks up on this additional blocker, they will likely adjust, and that’s when we roll out the counters. There are many ways to block the Rocket Sweep plays, especially when you start throwing in a hundred formations, but I am basing my offset FB comments on one way (see below) for the sake of simplicity.

ST: Reach outside and block first defender encountered

SG: Pull around ST and HB toward the CB; block first defender encountered

C, TG, TT, TE: Reach, rip, and run (“Train” blocking; reach playside, rip under any defender you encounter on/near the line, and get upfiled to the cutoff)

HB: Reach and climb (Look at the ST’s block. Is his guy getting upfield? Then take him. If not, then climb to a LB or S.)

 

 

I will lay out several scenarios where changing the alignment of your FB will benefit your offense.

 

While the traditional formations for the Wing-T are 100 and 900, Red and Blue have become widely used, especially with teams who run the Rocket Sweep.

 

 

100

 100

 

 

 

Red

 

Red

 

When I learned about offsetting the FB, it was referred to as + (Plus) if the FB aligns behind the tackle to the TE/strong side, and – (Minus) if the FB aligns behind the tackle to the SE/weak side (See diagrams below). I would use the name of whatever formation I felt was best and just tagged it as + or -. That is why they are labeled “Red +” and “Red-”   in the diagrams. The FB’s depth is the same as usual. Remember, you can change the alignment as you see fit, based on how many plays you run out of +/-, and depending on your personnel.

 

Red +

Red +

 

Red –

 Red -

 

 

Although Jet & Rocket can be run to either flank, they are often run to the SE side. Out of Red, many coaches will run their FB up the middle to the side opposite the motion, having him fake Trap/Dive. Say we start in Red -, like in the diagram below. Now you have that FB in a position to be a blocker at the edge for Rocket. At the snap, he takes the first defender outside of the HB’s block. Although you do lose the Trap fake, the extra blocker is worth it if you are a big Rocket team.

**The offensive line blocking is the same, the HB blocking is the same, the SE’s blocking is the same, the WB’s read is the same, and the QB’s pitch is the same. By offsetting the FB, only HE needs new/different instruction. This would likely be done in offensive group time (QBs and RBs), but I’d say a few minutes of discussion in pre-practice or maybe just in the locker room would cover it. When actually implementing it in team, it will take a little bit of polishing, but this is really a simple “add” with a big potential payoff.

 

red - jet rocket blocking

 

So, by simply offsetting your FB to the SE side, you get another solid blocker at the point of attack.

 

Like other plays, if you continue to run them the same way, out of the same formation, the defense adjusts. Once they do, you need to vary your play selection. Examples from Red -:

  • You can still run Bucksweep. You lose the Trap fake, and there is no Jet/Rocket motion, but just by offsetting the FB, you have gotten the attention of the defense. At the snap, the FB fakes his Rocket blocking, or an arrow route to the flat, or whatever, as long as it is a crisp fake. His motion will not interfere with the motion/path of the HB, who will be aiming for the heels of the FB in his normal position, behind the QB. The play hits on the opposite side of the FB’s alignment, so you break the tendency to just run to the FB’s side.
  • You can run Bucksweep with the FB as the ball carrier. He’s in practice with the other RBs everyday, so you probably don’t even need to teach him what to do. Probably. The HB can run to the cutoff, or fake KP to the flat, or fake whatever.
  • You can run Belly KP, especially with Jet motion. The FB takes a fire step to the outside, and then fills for the pulling Guard.
  • Waggle, with early motion by the HB, and the FB heading straight to the flat (Arrow route) on the snap. Again, you lose the Trap fake, but are now depending on the HB’s motion. You’ll still be able to high/low the CB with the FB and the SE.
  • My favorite play out of Red -, by FAR, is Tackle Trap with Rocket motion. Assuming that you have been having success with Red – Rocket Sweep, then they will be eaten up by this play. The OL blocks Tackle Trap, the WB runs like he is actually getting the Rocket pitch, and the HB fakes Rocket blocking. The FB takes a fire step toward the outside, like he would be doing on Rocket Sweep, then changes direction and comes underneath the QB for the inside handoff. The FB’s alignment is right where the HB (the usual ball carrier) would be in the 100 formation, so it works out really well.
  • The Quick Pitch play seems to be popular among some Wing-T coaches, so run a No Mo Quick Pitch to the offset FB.

**Again, the adjustments are made by the FB alone. These new responsibilities will require additional teaching, probably in group time. Although you may not expect your individual RBs to know all three RB positions, they are all in group together when plays are installed. It is likely that any one RB has a good idea what the other two RBs are doing on each given play, and I have found that these adjustments go very smoothly with my players. As far as the QB is concerned, he goes through the same motions, but just hands it to the FB instead of the HB in a couple cases.

 

Let’s move on to Red +. Now the FB is behind the Tight Tackle. I had mentioned that Rocket is run mostly to the SE side, and that has a lot to do with the alignment. The SE pulls the CB away from the formation, which does not happen on the TE side. The CB on the TE side, depending on the coverage, might be just outside the DE or OLB, and in a position to potentially blow up the play. If we run Rocket to the TE side out of Red +, we have that offset FB as an extra blocker. The concept is basically the same as I described with Rocket to the SE side out or Red -.

 

Other play suggestions out of Red +:

  • We talked about running Rocket to the offset FB. Try running it away from the offset FB. You have the same blocking that you would normally with Rocket, but the fact that the FB is on the opposite side will draw attention. With some luck, they’ll expect a play that is going to be run to the TE side, and adjust their alignment, putting them at a disadvantage.
  • Run Bucksweep with FB blocking at the edge (like on Rocket). Extra blocker.
  • Run Quick Pitch to the FB, blocking like Rocket.
  • Run Bucksweep to the SE side with the FB as the ball carrier.
  • Counter XX would work, but I expect that you’d need to play with the timing a little. (This is still a double handoff between the HB and WB, and the FB still kicks out the first man outside the TE’s block.)
  • Waggle TE with the FB running the arrow.
  • Cheat the FB inside, closer to the G (the defense won’t notice), send the HB in Rocket motion, and then run Down. The FB would have more of a “straight ahead” path, rather than the usual slashing path he’d take from his normal alignment. The QB will have to really stretch, but it helps to cheat the FB closer to the midline.

 

**Bonus Tip: At the National Wing-T Clinic a couple of years ago, a coach talked about a sneaky way to shift your FB to + or -. The team would line up and then trade their TE. As the TE is crossing the formation the FB would slowly shift to the side opposite of motion. He said that the defense apparently did not even notice that he had moved.

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One Response to “Tip of the Week – December 17”

  1. donbjacobs says:

    Please comment on the article. What do you do differently? Was I unclear on something? Was I WRONG about something? Let me know.

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