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By Justin Iske, Offensive Line Coach, Southwest Oklahoma State University


Coach Iske's offensive line increased its production by 99 yds per game and 15 point per game thanks in part to how they were running their counter schemes. Read the report here.

By Justin Iske
Offensive Line Coach
Southwest Oklahoma State University
Twitter: @justiniske


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Counter is a simple play that has been around for decades. However, there are multiple different ways to run it to make it fit into any offense. While we will not go into a game with more than one or two different ways to run counter, over the course of a season we will use most of, if not all, of the concepts discussed in this clinic report.

There are several reasons we like the Counter concept:

  1. Puts misdirection into your running game. With offenses running predominately one back (and often times four receivers) as their base personnel, zone concepts have become more and more popular. While we like to run Inside and outside zone as much as anyone, we feel like we need to have something in our running game that allows us to end up opposite the direction of flow a play starts with. It is also important to note that the counter can be run to the same side as the back’s alignment in the traditional shotgun.
  2. Gap Concept that you can piggyback on teaching of the One-Back Power. Power is a staple of our offense as we called some variation of Power over 200 times last season. Every run in our offense falls into one of three categories (zone, gap or man). We teach these as concepts before we get into particular plays. Counter is a gap concept just like power. So if our guys understand the power play, they are ¾’s of the way to understanding the counter play.
  3. Gives us another Weakside Run. We are a team that bases out of 11 Personnel and will run a fair amount of 12 Personnel as well. When you run Power 200 times a season, you need something to the weakside besides just zone and/or stretch weak. Counter gives us a great change-up that looks like zone strong initially, but ends up hitting to the weakside.


The simplest way to run the Counter play is by pulling the back side guard and tackle. This variation can be run out of 10, 11 or 12 Personnel. If your QB is an athlete, this is a great concept to read the back side defensive end to handle a six-man box. If your QB is not a dual threat, then running any of your existing RPO concepts is an option as well. This is a play that can be run from the Pistol or traditional shotgun.


Assignments for this play are very simple (and very similar to the One Back Power:

Front Side Tackle: B Gap to Second Level (look to double team at the first level

Front Side Guard: A Gap to Second Level (look to double team at the first level

Center: X to Y Gap (Fill for Pulling Guard) / May pull the Center against a back side three technique

Back Side Guard: Open Pull* and kickout the EMOL frontside

Back Side Tackle: Square Pull* and wrap to kickout 1st LB in the box frontside

What You’re Missing…

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  • The two types of pull variants that Coach Iske teaches and how film study deciphers which he teaches his pullers to use.
  • An explanation of his Counter F concept including offensive blocking assignments and player responsibilities.
  • An explanation of his Counter Kick concept including offensive blocking assignments and player responsibilities.
  • An explanation of his Dar concept including offensive blocking assignments and player responsibilities.
  • Plus game film of all these concepts.

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Counter is a basic gap scheme that can be easily taught, but run a number of different ways. It can fit into any personnel group or style of offense. If you have any questions about this article or if we can do anything else for you here at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Meet Coach Iske: Justin Iske joined the staff at SWOSU in 2015 as the Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator. Last season, the Dawgs increased their points per game from 2014 by 15.3, total yards per game by 99.5, and rushing yards per attempt by 1.3. They also cut their turnovers from 33 to 11 and sacks allowed from 29 to 14. Prior to SWOSU, Iske’s 20-year coaching career has included stops at Fort Hays State, Northwestern Oklahoma State, Fort Scott Community College, Southwest Minnesota State, Northern State, Midland University, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He and his wife, Kelley, have a 15-year old son, Hunter. 



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