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By Sam Nichols, Managing Editor, X&O Labs


At Catholic High School (LA), offensive coordinator Gabe Fertitta needed to find an efficient play action pass concept to complement his most popular run scheme, power from a 2x1 formation. The result was his Boston concept, which is tailored off his power read concept with an H back. It helped lead the Bears to a state championship in 2015. In this exclusive clinic report, Coach Fertitta details the protection, route structure and quarterback progression he uses to teach the Boston concept. Read the report here.

By Gabe Fertitta
Offensive Coordinator
Catholic High of Baton Rouge
Twitter: @fertitta_gabe

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fertittaAs part of our multiple spread offense at Catholic High, we incorporate multiple formations and personnel groups to run a base set of plays. One of our most popular running plays is power from a traditional 2x1 set with an H or sniffer back. This past season, we incorporated more speed sweep into our running game as well. When looking to add some play action to our base system, it made sense for us to have a run action pass that looked exactly like our power, power read, or power read sweep. We wanted the concept to be simple for our quarterbacks to understand and versatile enough to attack any coverage. Our answer was a quick game concept that we had already been running. We made adjustments to our basic bubble slant concept so that we could use it in our play action game as well.

Power Play Action Protection

We use a variety of protections when running Boston, but our power play action protection is the most common. There are a few factors that determine our decision to use this protection from week to week. This protection gives the most realistic run action, but is also more susceptible to pressure from blitz. If we decide that a defense runs too many edge pressures, isn’t reading the guards for run game, or has defensive linemen that run up field more than squeeze, then we will simply use an aggressive half man half slide protection instead.

Power play action for us involves blocking down with the play side tackle, guard, and center. The techniques of these sets will vary depending on what type of defender they are blocking. Sometimes these sets will look more like a traditional slide protection and other times they will be more aggressive.

The key to the protection is pulling the back side guard to give linebackers and safeties a realistic run action look. We pull the back side guard to kick out the front side defensive end. Depending on the technique of the back side defensive tackle, the guard will flat or skip pull in order to work to the front side end. The back side tackle will man set the back side defensive end. Depending on which run we are faking in the backfield, we may be able to use the running back to fill in the backside B gap for the pulling guard.  If we are faking power read or sweep read, we will not have the RB in the protection. That said, if we are faking downhill power, we can use the back as a 6th man in the protection.


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The front side route combinations that Coach Fertitta will use in his Boston concept, particularly from 3x1 sets.

  • Why he teaches his slants to stop, and not continue, once the near hash landmark is reached.
  • Which tags Coach Fertitta will use on the backside of the route concept.
  • The “O step drop” footwork coach he uses to teach the quarterback to make the proper mesh with the back on the run action fake. 
  • Plus video of this concept.

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We feel as though this protection and route combination gives us a nice complement to what we already do in our running game. The progression allows the quarterback to work his eyes and feet easily from his first, second, and third man in the progression. The best thing about Boston is that if the defense buys the run fake, we have an opportunity for a big play to the seam. However, if the defense is able to work under the H in the seam, we have a safe two man concept that we can get the ball out to for a decent gain.

Meet Coach Fertitta: Gabe Fertitta is the offensive coordinator at Catholic High of Baton Rouge, LA.  In 2015, they won the Division 1 State Championship in Louisiana’s highest classification. Prior to arriving at Catholic, Fertitta was the head football coach at St. Stanislaus High School in Bay St. Louis, MS.  While there, his teams made history by being the first team in Mississippi High School football history to go from winless in one regular season to undefeated in the next. In 2013, St. Stanislaus advanced to the state quarterfinals and lost to the eventual state champions. Prior to working at St. Stanislaus, Fertitta was the offensive coordinator at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, MS.  



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