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247972 4134107869189 1619673936 nBy Mike Volarvich, Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, Henderson State University

Division 2 Henderson State University (AR) just finished its best offensive season in school history leading the nation in scoring offense (53.3 ppg), total offense (576.4 ypg), passing offense (428.4 ypg) and TD's per game (7.17). Offensive Coordinator Mike Volarvich details the under and mesh game- one of his most productive pass concepts.

By Mike Volarvich - @scorchedeartho

Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach

Henderson State University


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247972 4134107869189 1619673936 nEditor’s Note:  Mike Volarvich is going into his 5th season as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Volarvich has been instrumental in making Henderson State the top offensive team in the country leading the nation in scoring in back to back years.  In 2013 the Reddies led the nation in scoring (53.3 points per game), Total Offense (576.4 ypg), Passing Offense (428.4 ypg), and Touchdowns per game (7.17 TD’s per game).  Working primarily with quarterbacks, Volarvich has coached All-Americans Kevin Rodgers and Nick Hardesty who were both finalists for the Harlon Hill Award.  Prior to his arrival to Henderson, Volarvich was the leader of a potent EMCC scoring offense which led the NJCAA in passing offense and finished second in the nation in total offense.  Coach Volarich also runs www.scortchedearthoffense.com.


This past year, our offense here at Henderson State University (D2) just finished its best offensive season in school history.  When the dust settled, we led the nation in scoring offense (53.3 ppg), total offense (576.4 ypg), passing offense (428.4 ypg) and TD's per game (7.17).  Of course there are many piece of our system that contributed to this success, but perhaps none more than our flexible Shallow concept.  In the past 2 years, we have thrown the shallow concept 69 times completing 65% of those passes.  Over that period, we averaged 18 Yds per completion and 11.8 Yds per attempt.

When we run the “shallow” it is designed to get a high/low read on a linebacker.  At the same time, it has the ability to generate a 1-1 matchup while allowing us to get the ball out of the QB’s hand fast.  We also like this play because we can run it out of any of our 2x2, 3x2, and 3x1 sets regardless of the coverage that is being played.  Here are our rules for the Shallow Concept:


  • “Tagged” WR will run the shallow route
  • The next man inside of him will run the bender
  • With 2 WR’s backside, #1 runs vertical, #2 runs a speed out at 4-6
  • With 1 WR backside, He will run a vertical read
  • If there is a RB in the game, he will check protection and check down over the tackle box




Backside Rules

  • With 2 WR’s backside we will run the fade/out combination.  The outside WR will take a mandatory outside release and run vertical.  The inside WR will run a speed cut out at 4-6 yds. 
  • With 1 WR backside he will run a vertical read.  He is going to take the fastest release and run the vertical.  If he does not beat the CB deep by 12 yds he will convert the route to a comeback.
  • With a RB in the game he will check the protection and check down over the tackle box.


QB Rules

  • The QB will take a 3 step drop from gun and hitch.  The ball should be out after the hitch step.
  • In a split safety defense he will read the defender that is directly over or inside the WR running the bender.  If the defender drops vertical then the ball will go to the shallow.  If the defender sits and does not carry the bender then the ball should go to the bender.
  • In a 1 safety defense the QB will look backside.


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  • Detailed looks at how Coach Volarvich's QB's attack various defensive looks within the Shallow concept.
  • Specific coaching points for techniquing the shallow and bender route within as part of Shallow.
  • Additional Shallow variations out of empty 3x2 formations.
  • Plus game film on these concepts.




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