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lefbBy Gerald Hazzard, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Lake Erie College

For most teams, the quickest way to the perimeter comes in the form of Jet Sweep or Speed Option. But Lake Erie College (PA) has created a new niche in the perimeter run game by combining both to maximize efficiency and speed. The Storm’s Speed Sweep averaged 6.7 yards per carry last season for an offense that produced 291 yards on the ground per game. 


By Gerald Hazzard,
Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator,
Lake Erie College
Twitter: @CoachHazzLEC

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lefbThe Storm Speed Sweep is a concept that we have incorporated to attack the flank of the defense. When we designed it we wanted it to be different than the other Speed Sweeps that people see on a weekly basis. We feel our version gets the flank faster, is highly efficient, and forces the defense to adjust on the fly to defend it. The results were a play that was 64% efficient, which means it gained 4 yards, or converted the situation, and averaged 6.7 yards per carry. The Speed Sweep also produced 6 big plays (runs over 20) and 4 touchdowns in 2014.

This concept works wonderfully against the run blitzes that we see. As a heavy Read Zone team, defenses will often call their blitz game to the side of our tailback, or an interior blitz that can give a Zone play problems. Since we have the ability to run our Speed Sweep out of the same formations that we run our Zone, defenses are forced to guess which play we are running or abandon their blitz strategies in fear of getting out flanked.

Another advantage of this concept is that it is very basic from an assignment stand point. We feel that we do not have to practice it a ton to have it ready for game day. This allows us to spend extra time during the week correcting mistakes and gives us extra reps running our weekly game plan plays.

Blocking Scheme Offensive Line:

The success of our Speed play begins and ends with the front side tackle. His assignment is to “reach cut” the front side defensive end. He will take a 3 o’clock step or lateral step and cut the outside leg of the end. It is important for the tackle to gain enough ground on his first step to gain leverage and put himself in the best spot possible to execute his assignment.  

It is important to note that in our scheme we never block a first level defender that is in the B gap or tighter. We will also not block an interior blitz. The action of the play will handle inside moves and blitzes. Since we are not worried about anything past the B gap, our front side guard, center, and back side guard are going to take a 3 O’clock step to the play side and climb immediately. They will not block first level defenders. I want them to cut off the first second level defender that they can reach.

We teach our guys to never chase at the second and third level. We give our linemen a “license to miss” when blocking in space. I want them to run full speed at defenders in space. The thought is they will either get their block or the defender will get out of their way. We do not want our linemen trying to juke with defenders. The backside tackle is going to “run to cutoff”. Cutoff for us is seven yards deep on the opposite sideline. I want the tackle to take a sharp angle and block the first second or third level defender he can “cutoff”. A tight end on the back side will perform the same role.

Blocking Scheme Perimeter Lead Blocker

A huge key to any successful perimeter run is the blocking you get on the outside. We will have a variety of schemes that we will use on the perimeter to attack different looks from the defense and to make sure we are switching it up on them.

As a general rule, we will have our widest receiver block the corner square. The reason for this is if the ball carrier gets all the way out to our receiver I want him to have a two way go. If the receiver jumps to leverage on the corner, your ball carrier will only have one gap to choose from. I want him to have the ability to hit the gap inside the wide out or get down the sideline.  

Quarterback Technique

When we run our Speed Sweep, it is very important for the quarterback to be able to pitch the ball as far as he can. His first responsibility is to understand if he needs to send the ball carrier in motion or not. If we are using motion, the quarterback wants to get the ball snapped when the motion guy gets to the backside B gap.

Ball Carrier Technique 

The ball carrier needs to know if he is going in motion or not. If he is going in motion, we want him to use “uncontrolled speed.” That means he is to run as fast as he can and never throttle down. I want him to run through the heels of the quarterback after the ball is snapped. If he is not going in motion, on the snap of the ball we need the ball carrier to accelerate as fast as he can and gain as much width as possible post snap. We tell the ball carrier that if the quarterback cannot get you the ball we will replace the quarterback not the ball carrier.

Tips to Calling the Speed Sweep 

When we are breaking down our opponent, we want to look at them from as many different angles as possible. One of the ways we will analyze our opponent is by creating formation tapes. I want to see every snap they have played during the year divided by formation. This will help us attack the defense at its weakest point and also give us some new ideas if we are seeing formations we are not currently using. 

To see game cutups of Lake Erie College’s speed sweep, click on the video below:


What You’re Missing…

Join X&O Labs’ Insiders (an exclusive membership-based website) and get the full-length version of this clinic report. Here’s just a short list of what Coach Hazzard reveals in this powerful report…

  • 2 options Coach Hazzard gives his play side offensive tackle if the play side defensive end widens pre or post snap.
  • The “outside punch, outside cut” technique the play side slot uses when blocking on the perimeter.
  • The “wall to alley” technique the lead blocker uses when blocking on the perimeter.
  • How the ball carrier and quarterback are taught to adjust their course when getting play side pressure.
  • The three specific defensive alignments Coach Hazzard and his staff looks for when game planning the speed sweep concept.
  • VIDEO: Watch game film of these concepts!

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Our speed sweep is a great addition to any offensive attack. It is very easy to run and execute and takes limited reps to perfect in practice. The part of the play I love the most is how fast it attacks the flank. We can have a ton of success with not having to block the defenders in the box. If you are overmatched up front it is a great scheme to use. If you have kids that can make plays for you in space this scheme will really shine.

Meet Coach Hazzard: Gerald Hazzard is entering his 8th year as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Lake Erie College and his 11th year coaching overall. His offense was ranked 19th in the country in 2014, 2nd in the country in 2013. His teams at Lake Erie have produced 23 ALL-GLIAC Players in 5 years, and 5 ALL-Americans.



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