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Chris Parker, Head Football Coach, Pickens High School (GA)

Empty formations have been a big focus of many teams this offseason. See how Coach Parker uses empty to run his potent Buck Sweep concept. Read their answers here...


Chris Parker 
Head Football Coach 
Pickens High School (GA) 
Twitter: @PickensFootball 



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As a team, we run a lot of empty formations. We have made a commitment to do this for the following reasons: 

  • Simplifies the defense 
  • Forces adjustments 
  • Get 5 receivers out quickly. This forces the defense to be aware of 5 vertical threats and 5 horizontal threats on each play.  
  • The defense likely has limited experience against empty. 
  • We can run all the same running plays as we can in 10 pp if the QB can run. 
  • It is easier to recognize coverage. 
  • It creates spacing and easier recognized matchups for lineman and receivers. 

Every plan has some weaknesses. The biggest detriment to any Empty schemes is the inability to run the ball physically and conventionally. Jet Sweeps and QB runs have been good plays for us, but we needed more. We decided to lean on our Wing T roots and to marry some of our old Wing-T concepts into our empty package. We started by taking our base empty formation and moving the inside receiver positions to a “wing” alignment on some formations. At that point, the empty Buck Sweep became a staple of our offense. 

Our Base Empty Wing Formations 

These formations allow us to still have 5 receivers in the formation but also use the Wings as blockers or runners in a more physical, “Wing-T” look.  


Diagram 1 is our basic formation. This is just like our traditional empty formation but the inside receivers are aligned as wings. This gives us the ability to use them as blockers, runners, or receivers.   


Diagram 2 is our basic formation with a TE. This allows us to have tight side and split side plays and forces the defense to defend and cover the TE.  

Continue to the full-length version of this report…

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  • The read progression and footwork that Coach Parker uses to train the QB to either run the buck sweep or throw the Pop as part of the RPO.
  • How Coach Parker teaches the wing back to block down on the defensive end, which can be the most important block at the point of attack.
  • The blocking scheme rules by position.
  • The route adjustments that receivers will make on the backside (RPO) side of the scheme, which varies based on coverage.
  • Plus game film on this concept.

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The empty Buck Sweep allows us to be a physical team and run the ball while keeping our philosophy of having 5 vertical and horizontal threats on each play. Once the Buck Sweep is established, it is a great base play to build complimentary plays out of the same formation. Trap, Counter, Waggle, and Keep pass are all plays that can be run after faking the Buck. This package as a whole has become a good part of our base offense.  

Meet Coach Parker: Chris Parker is the Head Football Coach at Pickens High School in Jasper, GA. Coach Parker is in his 11th year as a Head Coach in the state of Georgia. His teams at 2 different schools have set school records for wins, offensive production, and playoff appearances.   



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