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By Thomas Hotmer, Head Coach, Princeton High School (MO)

See how Coach Hotmer used his unbalanced concepts to confused defenses and to gain an advantage. Find out here...


By Thomas Hotmer
Head Coach
Princeton High School (MO)
Twitter: @coachhotmer, @PrincetonTFbal



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The unbalanced line in our spread offense allows us to create more leverage space on one side for our passing game and the other side for our running game. The idea is to create confusion on the defensive alignment up front. Diversifying the spread in a new way to create spacing and matchup advantages creates nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators. At the same time, our players enjoy the creativity each week learning a new wrinkle and enhances their focus on play design with individual responsibilities. While we did not use this in every game, the threat of using it requires opponents to use practice time learning how to line up to it rather than only focusing on our base plays.

Rodeo/Lasso (Tackle Over)

When implementing our tackle over package, the main priority is to ensure your tackle understands the run blocking rules from the tight end position. In our system, we have base blocking rules determined from the defensive alignment. We coach our lineman from the idea of where the run play is called and if they are covered or uncovered by a defensive lineman. Beyond this simple blocking concept, our tackles can go unbalanced as a tight end and still be effective blocking in our run game.

Once we started doing this, we noticed the extra spacing to the opposite side of our call based on the defensive shifts. We mainly utilized this to create more space for our passing game on the backside with all players keeping their eligibility and creating an extra gap for our running game on the overload side. The extra gap and 4-6 extra yards of space on the backside has given us the freedom to keep all of our plays the same with the ability to make the defense have to tackle well in more space. If we call a pass play, we run it as called. If we call a run play, we always tag it with an RPO so our quarterback can read pre-snap leverage. The following diagrams will present a few formation ideas that gave us leverage advantages for both our run and pass game RPO’s.


Rodeo Trio Lt Coaching Points:

When using this formation, the main thing I want to know is how they will defend us up front and the space they will allow to the trips receivers. If they do not shift with our tackle over, we will run the ball to that side. If the defense over shifts and gives us more space, I like to throw bubble or now screens as well as all verticals.


Rodeo Eagle Lt Coaching Points:

This formation allows for us to get into a spread look with our two best receivers on the same side. This allows us to avoid brackets on our two best receivers and create the one on one mismatch we like with the space they give us.


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  • The play package Coach Hotmer uses when putting his tight end at left tackle, which allows the possibility of getting mismatches with a slot receiver on a linebacker.
  • The play package Coach Hotmer uses when putting his two best receivers on the same side, eliminating bracket coverage.
  • The play package Coach Hotmer uses in his Tackle over formation, including the RPO’s he’ll utilize from this unbalanced set.
  • Plus game film on all these formations.

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As a high school coach, I wanted to be able to run a balanced run/pass offense. We’ve been very close to 50/50 for my first 2 years as a head coach. We want to appear complex to our opponents by the amount of formations we run while remaining simple for our players to execute.  We can use both our run and pass plays from any formation. The unbalanced looks have paid off statistically for our team and has allowed us to look more complicated than we are. When using these unbalanced line options you can be as creative to your personnel as you want when aligning your skilled kids. Our rule for these formations is to keep all players eligible and creating as much space necessary for your athletes according to opposing matchups. The creativity has given our kids an opportunity to enjoy new wrinkles to the traditional football offenses and will continue to be more of a staple to our system moving forward.

Meet Coach Hotmer: Thomas Hotmer started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Bolivar High School (MO) for 3 years from 2013-2016. He is currently the head football coach for Princeton High School (MO) where he has been for 2 seasons.  



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