The Naked game is a concept in every offensive structure. Tyler Hughes, the former head coach at JUCO power house Snow College (UT) details the specifics behind his Naked concept that allowed them to be in the top five offenses nationally in his two years as head coach.
By Tyler Hughes
Former Head Coach
Snow Junior College
Editor's Note: Coach Hughes served as the former head coach at JUCO Powerhouse Snow College in Utah, leading his team to a 20-4 overall record, 2 bowl game championships and a top 5 national ranking in 2 seasons. Prior to being named the head coach, he served as the Offensive Coordinator leading Snow to a 70-13 overall record (.843 winning percentage) in 7 seasons as an assistant coach. Coach Hughes is currently at football intern at The Ohio State University.
At Snow College, we have been a 2-Back, Pro-Style Attack since the 2006 season. During that time, our offense has finished in the NJCAA’s top 10 in total offense in five of seven seasons while averaging over 40 points per game. Our run game has featured tight and wide zone concepts paired with toss and draw. As a result, we have focused great attention in developing our nakeds off our zone run action in an effort to develop a comprehensive offensive system.
There are a number of reasons why we feel nakeds are an integral piece of our offensive attack. First, they tie directly into our run game. We ran tight zone 156 times in 2012 and need to have run-action looks that complement tight zone. Our nakeds come off of tight zone fakes so it has been imperative that we spend an appropriate level on time in developing these plays. Second, a solid naked game enhances our run game by delaying backside pursuit. We’ve been fortunate to have a number of explosive plays where our running backs have cutback beyond our backside tackle as the opponent’s backside DE concerns himself with playing the boot action by our quarterback, thus taking him out his gap and giving us a huge running lane. Third, our nakeds have proven to be highly successful in the red zone, particularly while on the goal line. And fourth, the statistics generated from our nakeds reinforces the need to have them in our offense. Over the past seven seasons, our nakeds have produced the following:
- EXPLOSIVES: An explosive play 35% of the time a naked was called
- EFFICIENCY: Have completed over 63% of pass attempts
- TOUCHDOWNS: 1 in 5 TD passes over the past seven seasons have been off of our nakeds. Generally, these passes have come in two forms: a deep ball from our split route or on the goal line.
Like any successful offensive play, everything begins with your blocking success up front. Our protection scheme for our naked game is summed up by the following points:
- The OL is responsible for all front-side box defenders as well as the backside DT.
- Our hold-off player (responsible for backside C gap in the run game) accounts for the backside DE and the Will LB. In other words, the EMLOS (end man on line of scrimmage). We want him to wash down the backside DE and the Will LB if they both come off of the edge while taking the most outside threat. Our hold-off player should block the EMLOS on his outside shoulder, thus giving the QB his best chance to avoid pressure in his face while throwing the ball down the field.
- Our H should make a great fake first followed by providing help inside-out in the event of any leakage.
On a basic naked, we will feature four routes: a smash arrow, a climb, a split and a streak. The streak is generally used as a clear out route so I won’t spend much time there and will focus on the other three routes mentioned.
For our nakeds the quarterback executes a basic progression in the following manner:
- Smash Arrow
We read the play lo-hi to increase the tempo and efficiency of the play. Truth-be-told, we have missed a few big plays over the years by reading the play in this manner as opposed to hi-lo. However, in the long-haul being efficient and consistently productive is more important to us than looking for big plays all of the time. Considering that, we still have been able to produce a significant number of big plays if the quarterback will execute the play design.
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- Naked protection schemes, including the influence of the “hold off” player who is responsible for the backside C gap.
- The 8-point technique that Coach Hughes teaches his QB’s on all of his naked schemes- including the “buzz” step which is essential in separating him from the LOS.
- Why a streak route may be better than a comeback on the front side of the route progression.
- How the Smash/Arrow can be productive against a nine-technique defensive end.
- Why the “Climb” route must be at 15 yards in depth across the field.
- Why the Split route runners must learn to “bend” in their progression.
- Plus QB reads, route variations and game film on all these concepts.
I appreciate the opportunity to share some of our concepts with you. We have found offensive success by developing a comprehensive system and sticking to it as opposed to going with the ‘flavor of the week.’ I can’t emphasize that point enough. I hope that these concepts can assist you down the road as you tie them into your system of play. The strategies and concepts in this game are endless and while it is exciting to dive into all of these ideas the most important aspect of what any coach can do is to develop his players on and off the field. Player development should be the core mission of all coaches in my opinion. I would encourage you to make that your biggest priority in your organization as that will allow for long-term success more than any other factor. Good luck to you in 2013 and beyond!