Pass/Screen and Screen/Screen Options Off Number 3 Defender

By Robin Bowkett
Head Football Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Souhegan High School (NH)
Twitter: @coachbowkett


We would classify ourselves as a multiple spread option offense. We have a read key or two on pretty much all our plays and concepts. We took this into account when building our screen game as well. Historically, our program has been a real solid screen team as our personnel upfront and on the perimeter helps dictate that. We devote a ten-minute screen period during our offensive practices in the preseason which helps emphasize the importance of screens within our offense. We feel the benefits of running read screens include, tagging off our base plays, carry over for the offensive line, can call on any down, gets athletes in space, and forces the defense to defend the whole field.


TB Slip Screen

The first screen we will talk about and install is TB Slip Screen. This screen generally is a PSO (pass screen option) and we like to pair it with one of our base pass concepts. We install this screen first because it marries up with our base pass protection. We like it best vs off zone coverage, but you can run vs man. This past year, we ran the stick concept with slip but in the past, we have mainly run 3-man snag. We like to run this out of 3×1 as we feel it is less crowded for the offensive line and simplest for the QB. We also like this screen because it an easy read for the QB regardless if the defense is in an Even or Odd front.  Versus a four-man front, the Read will be the Playside backer, the Sam in a 43 or the Mike in a 42 box.  Against a 34 look, the read is still the Mike backer and vs a stack look, the read will be the Frontside stack.   This is a great play vs pressure as long as the OL can account for the defender responsible for the back.

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RSOs (Run/Screen Options) and PSOs (Pass/Screen Options) From 10/11 Personnel

By Jeff Fischer
Offensive Coordinator/QBs Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Ventura College (CA)
Twitter: @coachfischer7


At Ventura College, we want to stretch the defense both vertically and horizontally on any given play. These concepts are meant to widen the field and use all 53 and 1/3rd, with simple quick “Candy” screens. We use these quick screens as a part of our run game, giving our athletes the most space possible with the ball. We all want an honest box for our run game, or we are going to “Take the Candy” on our quick screen game. The great thing is it is an easy concept for our players to understand and it forces the back end of defenses to either play tighter in coverage or must make a lot of tackles in space.

We run the quick screen game to both sides of the field if the run is intended to be between the tackles. Anything that is designed to be run outside we will stalk block to that side and we can run the quick screen backside.

We try to make the reads as simple as possible for the QB (counting). Including the QB read to run rules, do we have numbers to block the box? Or do we have numbers in the Quick Screen Game? The only time the QB needs to alert and possibly change the play is vs Cover 0 and pressed across the board.


10 Personnel:

5 or 5 ½ in the box = Run the ball!

6 in the box = Run or Throw depending on the depth of secondary or apex defender. (If they give you the candy, take the candy)

6 ½ or 7 in the box = (Depending on Run Scheme) Have to throw!  Press Cover 0 Quick Screens aren’t great (likely to change play).


11 Personnel (TE in Run Scheme):

6 or 6 ½ in the box = Run the ball!

7 in the box = Run or Throw depending on the depth of secondary or apex defender. (If they give you the candy, take the candy)

7 ½ or 8 in the box = (Depending on Run Scheme) Have to throw!  Press Cover 0 Quick Screens aren’t great (likely change play).


We do not play fake and we make the decisions pre-snap, giving us the ability to get the ball outside as quickly as possible. We want to play fast and not let the defense move around after we have made our decision, so we do not tell the RB if we are throwing when in the gun (RB takes regular run tracks). QB must take one clear step by throwing foot backward, so we do not hit the RB while throwing. From pistol, QB must tell RB if we are going to throw the ball (usually with hand signal right before the ball is snapped).


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11 Personnel Empty SRO Package

By Josh Barge
Assistant Coach
Red Mountain High School (AZ)
Twitter: @RMCoachBarge



The new craze in offensive football is to spread the defense out and chuck and duck the ball all over the field. Empty looks are a great formational edge, because it helps your coordinator and offensive players recognize defensive schemes much quicker. We are primarily an 11 Personnel program; our Empty package is 11 Personnel. Our Empty Package is a count-based package where three different schemes are being run at the same time, and our QB decides where we have a numbers advantage and that’s where the ball goes. Very seldom do we throw the ball past the line of scrimmage on this play, which leads to a very high conversion rate. We have been running this set for the last 7 years with a QB rating well over 150 and have yet to have a season with under 5 YPC.


Base Formation

Diagram 1

Diagram 2


Our Primary set is a boundary trips look with our X and H receivers to the field with our regular 2×2 field alignments. Our Y (TE) sets the trips set to the boundary side with our Z and RB flanking each side in a 1×1 alignment. We tend to run our plays out of this package as a one-word quicks. We are not changing out of our base personnel to run then. We can get lined up and run a play super-fast as the ball is being spot. This allows us to get lined up and either our coordinators or the QB can decipher were the ball needs to go with plenty of time to adjust as needed.


3-Man Spartan Screen

The boundary is running what we call our 3-man spartan screen. The Y (TE) has the key block we call our “ooze” block. It is essentially a down block in space, but it sets the crease for the Z receiver running our Spartan screen. He takes one step forward and then shuffles back one step and catches the ball. He needs to get up the field, make at least the first guy miss and get at least five yards. The running back has what we call the “kick or carry” block. He will take a flat angle with an aiming point of one yard in front of the receiver getting the ball. He has the corner. If he comes downhill quickly, kick him out. If he stays at depth, make the turn and carry block his declared angle.

Our field side is just running our 2-man bubble concept. The X is blocking first force. If everything is equal, we ask him to block the corner with slight outside leverage and stay square. But his initial track will always take him into the ally player. Find the guy that has the best chance of making the tackle and block him. Our H is always our speedster. He will cheat his alignment back a half a yard. Bucket step, cross over gaining depth and width. The quarterback, who is in the gun, will turn his shoulders on the first two steps. If he is under center, his shoulders must stay square to line of scrimmage. Catch the ball and get it to the edge. If the ball hits the ground, treat it as a live ball. Get on it!

Our line really has a week-to-week run set, teams that get upfield with their ends, we will block it as a draw. Teams that hang around and 2 gap everything, well block inside zone steps to the 3 tech. Teams with inside big men that wreck shop, we trap them to slow them down a bit. This can also be transformed into any scheme that fits your program the best.

Here is what the play looks like against some the of most common defensive schemes we see.

Diagram 3


Coordinator/QB’s Rules

Because this is a pre- or post-snap SRO, the quarterback or the coordinator has the final say on which concept (screen or QB run) to use. Not surprisingly, it’s all about numbers. In any five-man box, the QB/coordinator can activate any of the runs in our menu that week, including zone, trap, draw or pin and pull. In any six-man box, the screen game should be activated because of the numbers advantage. 


Essentials in Making Concept Efficient:

Surprisingly, you don’t need a dual threat QB to run this package, we have run it with pocket-passer and scrambling/wildcat style QBs and have had great success with both. Depending on your QB’s football IQ, these plays might need to be run as “Check-With-Me’s.” Have the eye in the sky (coach in the box) decipher the defensive look and signal in to the QB the best option. As he gets better at seeing it himself, start adding more responsibility on him. When teams start playing games with their alley defenders, the QB can make or break this play. Have them get their eyes on the alley defender and read his movements.

The biggest coaching point is regardless of which screen or run play gets utilized, it’s important that everyone still does their job. If the QB gets a run read, the wide receivers need to still run their screen full speed. The QB knows that there isn’t a guy blocking the second level perimeter players for his run. Teach your receivers to embrace blocking, their blocking ability makes this play work. “Return-the-favor” block for your buddy and everyone gets stats. This is a toughness play, we are going to out physical our opponent in this finesse set. Catch the ball and get to your landmarks as fast as possible and win your individual battle.

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