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CaptureBy Matthew Burleson, Head Football Coach, Telfair County High School (GA)

Find out whey Coach Mertens considers teh Hitch/Seam to be a perfect fit for any down, distance, or coverage and out of various formations (2x2, 3x1, 3x2). Details here...


By Matthew Burleson
Head Football Coach
Telfair County High School (GA)
Twitter: @CoachMBurleson

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CaptureThe four vertical scheme has always been one of our favorite route combinations, but we have always wanted to find ways to make it more flexible. We like the ability to attacking the deep hashes and the middle of the field, but at the same time we wanted the comfort of the short game when the defense is playing soft. Our answer was a modified hitch seam concept.

The best part about the hitch seam route combo is that it is a great play for any down, distance, or coverage.  It also is very flexible in the way that it fits with various formations (2x2, 3x1, 3x2), play types (drop back, play action), and motions without disrupting the concept, timing or read.

Here is a look at how we teach this common concept and hopefully you will be able to find a few wrinkles in here that can help you with your hitch seam concept.

Outside Receiver Assignment: Run a 6 yard Hitch Route

How the hitch route is run is determined by how the corner is playing our wide receiver. If the corner gives us a loose alignment or bails on the snap, the receiver will push hard with a vertical stem to 6 yards and sit down ready to receive the ball. If we are getting a tight man coverage, we will outside release vertical to 6 yards and bring the receiver back underneath running away from the corner. If it is a hard cover 2 corner, we will have him take an inside stem leaning hard on corner’s inside shoulder to 6 yards and then bring the route underneath to the hole in between the corner and the OLB.

Inside Receiver Assignment: Run a Vertical Route ready for the ball between 12-15 yards depth.

His landmark is down the hash marks. As he gets off the line, it is important to avoid collision by the OLB/SS who is attempting to disrupt the vertical route on his way to the flat in Cover 3. It is imperative that the receiver does not to fade his route out or he will allow the cover 3 Corner to make a play on the football or bend his route in toward the single high safety.  Against a 2 high safety look out of 2x2, we will have a designated “bender” to attack the MOF. He should be ready to receive the pass after clearing the LBs in the middle of the field.

Slot Receiver Assignment: Vertical Bender Route 12-15yds (read for ball).

Anytime we run this combination out of a 3x1 or 3x2 set our slot receiver or the inner most receiver will run a vertical bender route. Unlike the bender by the #2 receiver, his landmark will always be the middle of the field regardless of coverage. His job is to avoid any LBs/SS and get to the MOF as quickly as possible at the free safety.


Your Next Step…

Join X&O Labs’ exclusive membership website, Insiders, and get instant access to the full-length version of Coach Burleson’s clinic report. Here’s a short list of what you’re missing:

  • How Coach Burleson teaches the quarterback pre-snap read process.
  • How down and distance ties into the quarterback read.
  • Receiver sight adjustments and quarterback progressions against Cover 3, Cover 2 and Cover 1.
  • VIDEO: Watch Coach Burleson’s game film on these concepts. 

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The Hitch Seam concept can be as simple or complex that you want it to be for your offense. It can be used with all level of abilities of quarterbacks, offensive schemes, game situations. Many of you may have some form of this concept in your offensive system, but if you don’t I hope this report will maybe spark some interest to this concept. I want thank X O Labs for the privilege to write a clinic report on a concept that has been very successful for me. 

Meet Coach Burleson: Matthew Burleson is currently the Head Football Coach at Telfair County High School (GA). In 2012, he took a team that had been 4-26 and averaging 4 points per game over the previous 3 years. Since that point, his team has amassed a 16-14 record and is averaging 29 points per game. Prior to coming to Telfair County, Coach Burleson served as a coordinator at both Glynn Academy High School and Johnson County High School. He also served as a GA at Georgia Tech and an Intern Assistant at the University of Georgia. As a player, Burleson played Quarterback at University of Tennessee-Martin.







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