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By Mike Kuchar, Senior Research Manager, X&O Labs

29% of coaches say that Snag is their most productive concept. Find out how they build it into their PA game here...



By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikeKKuchar


The following research was conducted as part of XandOLabs.com special report on “Spread Passing Study: Snap Concept.”

Run-Action Variations

Snag off Two-Back Isolation and Power

When the yardage shrinks inside the red zone, so does the probability of man coverage, which is why man coaches are employing some form of run-action to their snag concept in the red zone. Kyle Lowman at Bandys High School (NC) chooses to package his Snag concept out of two-back formations with various run actions including isolation and power. He will tighten his receiver splits and slide the fullback into the flat as the arrow component to the concept.

Lowman details this two-back Snag play-actions below against various coverages:

We wanted to combine the efficiency and potential of the snag concept with what we were best at – the I-formation and offset I-formation running game, namely the Isolation and Power plays. It also allowed us to make more use of the fullback in the flats, combined with a Smash concept in one play. Our bread n’ butter play has always been the Isolation, so we played on the needs of the defense to stop that to create open opportunities for receiving targets.

Coaching Points by Route:

  • Snag Route
    • Align no more than 6 to 8 yards outside Corner route.
    • If aligned on the LOS, squat for one count to let Corner route clear.
    • Run at 7 yd deep mark into the path of the Corner route.
    • If you pass a defender, sit down in window just inside him.
    • If next LB is buzzing hard and low, step around him to inside. If he is coming above you, pivot and work back out.
  • Corner Route
    • Hard and fast vertical release through OLB’s outside shoulder.
    • If he buzzes out hard, cut under him and get back on path upfield.
    • At 8 to 10 yards deep, stick inside foot, & accelerate away.
    • Take deep angle to sideline, looking over outside shoulder.
  • Flat Route
    • #1 goal is to WIN WIDE! Gain width fast, looking over low shoulder after clearing the traffic.
    • Be ready for quick throw if there is pressure or QB sees you with running room.

Coaching the Receivers

  • Inside receiver – Corner
    • Align with room for corner route
    • Outside release on OLB
    • Hard to 8-10 yds
    • One hard cut; deep angle
  • Outside receiver – Snag
    • No vertical stem
    • Aim at 7 yds in path of corner route
    • If you pass the flat defender, turn around.
    • If ILB buzzes hard, can step around to next window inside or pivot out away.
  • Fullback – flat/shoot
    • Low pad level on release
    • Go hard through heels of OT.
    • Stretch the defense, racing the flat player to the numbers.

Coaching the QB

  • Pre-Snap
    • Is the Corner route an option?
    • How deep is the CB?
    • Where is the danger man in the flats?
    • What if he blitzes?
  • On the snap
    • Reach the ball back deep with a low pad level and make a great playfake, selling the look of the Iso play.
    • Snap shoulders around, stand tall, and point front shoulder and hip through the Snag to the Corner route.
  • Post-Snap
    • If the CB was not deep pre-snap, then see the Corner route.
    • Never used a progression style, but more of a key defender read, so deep CB = flat player, and shallow CB = CB.


Against a 4-3 Cover 2 the corner route looks good pre-snap, because of shallow CB. QB thinks “Smash read to Snag”. The quarterback must make great fake to keep WLB focused on open window and Iso threat. He must snap his shoulders around, ready for Smash-type (High-Low, Flat or Corner), and read the CB. The Snag sits in path of Corner route, ready to move in or out a window as “3rd” option.


Against Cover 3 with deep CB and a flat defender rolled down the Corner route looks bad pre-snap because of deep CB. For that reason, the QB is thinking “read flat player”. Coaching points include:

  • QB - Make great fake to keep WLB focused on open window and Iso threat.
    If the Snag-runner passes the $, he should sit down right then to keep the window large.
  • QB - Snap shoulders around and find flat defender. 
    The Corner route should be run to beat the CB deep. If both low windows get squeezed, the Corner route is a good “3rd” option.


Against Cover 2 with a “hole-player” the Corner route looks good pre-snap because CB is shallow. Danger! They have 3 to cover 3. This means the Corner route needs to be trying to beat the FS. Threaten deep first! The shallow CB leads us to think Smash read, so we stick with that. Snag is “3rd”. The Snag-runner follows normal rules, aiming into path of Corner route, sitting if he passes $. Additional coaching points include:

  • QB - Make great fake to keep WLB focused on open window and Iso threat.
  • Snap shoulders around, ready for Smash-type (High-Low, Flat or Corner) read on CB.
  • Snag sits in path of Corner route, ready to move in or out a window as “3rd” option.



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