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Researchers' Note: the following is a supplemental report to the Coaching Research Report, Attacking the Alley Against Odd Front Defenses.

By Dan Ellis Head Football Coach Springfield High School (PA)

"The QB Power Read has been a tremendous play for us and gives us a lot of flexibility in attacking the defense." Dan Ellis

We have created our offensive scheme to fit the reality of our situation – in almost half of our league games we are playing teams from schools that are significantly bigger than ours.

We are a shotgun, fast pace, no-huddle offense with a zone scheme (and we also will add pistol in as well). This allows us to take advantage of our athleticism and numbers at the skill positions and uses our supposed weakness - smaller, more athletic lineman - to our advantage.

With our offense, our QB must be able to run the football and be a weapon that the defense must account for. He does not need to be a 1,000 yard rusher; he just needs to keep the defense honest with his feet. Our key play for the QB is our QB Power Read.

Our QB Power Read up front is blocked just like a typical power play. Because we are a predominantly zone team at a small school with most of our linemen going both ways, we do cannot invest the time into teaching combo blocks. So we will run this play to the 1-technique. We do that in a number of ways – either formation/motion or by using our freeze call at the line of scrimmage to ensure we call it the right direction. The only major difference up front is that we are not going to read the play side defensive end.

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Here are our basic rules and diagram:

  • PST: Gap away, backer
  • PSG: Gap away, backer
  • C: Gap away, backer
  • BSG: Skip pull for play side back. Coaching Point: do not block play side defensive end (QB’s run read).
  • BST: Gap, hinge
  • F/Y: Support
  • X/Z: Support
  • H: Run flat to the sideline, running over the toes of the QB, making a good pocket for QB to place ball. Coaching Point: Run it like you are running jet sweep.
  • QB: Take lateral step and a shuffle towards the run read (play side defensive end). Good, long ride with the H. If defensive end steps out or up field toward the H, pull and replace, attack down hill (diagram 1).

This past season, our H ran for 2,013 yards and 35 TDs. When we ran this play, very often the defensive end would come up field and the QB would end up keeping the ball. This play is also a great play to use in a ‘Wildcat’ package.


How do you block it against an odd front? This can be run in two different ways, depending on game plan and defensive tendency. First is the same as above, leaving the play side defensive end unblocked. One thing to consider in this case is the play side defensive end spiking into the B gap (diagram 2).

The second way to block it against the odd front is to block the PST on the defensive end. This can protect against the B gap spike and allows the QB to then read the C gap player (either the defensive end or a blitzing LB). This is our preferred way to run it (diagram 3).

It works just as well against the odd stack (diagram 4).

By blocking the PST on the defensive end, it gives the flexibility against all odd front defenses and gives us a chance to run it without having to change or adjust to all the stunts and blitzes that odd front defenses can bring.

Another benefit of blocking the PST on the defensive end is that the ball will go more times than not to the QB, attacking the bubble of the odd front defense.

Conclusion: The QB Power Read has been a tremendous play for us and gives us a lot of flexibility in attacking the defense. Using an athletic QB and having him get down hill is a great weapon and keeps the defense on its toes. Our entire scheme is based on the defense having to play fundamentally sound and honoring each of our skill positions. QB Power Read does just that and can be a great addition with little additional teaching.

Questions? Post your questions or comments below and Coach Ellis will respond.

Copyright 2011 X&O Labs



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