In our preseason research, we had a large number of coaches reach out to us to ask about running option routes. The more we dug into this topic, the more we ran into people who told us that the best place to learn these concepts is at the University of Dubuque from HFC Stan Zweifel. This report covers how he teaches this technical concept.
By Stan Zweifel
Head Football Coach
University of Dubuque (IA)
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Editors’ Note: In our preseason research, we had a large number of coaches reach out to us to ask about running option routes. The more we dug into this topic, the more we ran into people who told us that the best place to learn these concepts is at the University of Dubuque from HFC Stan Zweifel. This report covers how he teaches this technical concept.
The concept of our option pass play is for the quarterback to read a receiver as opposed to reading a coverage. Over the years, we have noticed an improved completion percentage by our QB’s when they are sure of who to throw the ball to.
We identify our receivers in our Mustang Personnel Grouping (11 Personnel) as X – SE, M – Slot, Y – TE, and Z – Flanker. When we tag one of those receivers, we are identifying who is running the “low option.” The low option is a route run at a depth of 5 yard and the main coaching point is to simply GET OPEN. We coach the quarterback reads the receiver, not the defense and give receiver limited routes against any coverage.
MOR – Mandatory Outside Release. This is used by outside wide receivers to get outside of a rolled up defender. This creates horizontal stretch from the low option.
Low Option – 5 yard get open route. If you are aligned as an inside receiver, here are your choices:
- Attack leverage – Break Inside
- Attack leverage – Break Outside
- Attack outside – Wrap behind defender, into a void in zone and sit.
- You have 2/3 of the field to work
High Option – 10 yard get open route. If you are an outside receiver, never break away from the ball!
- Read leverage of defender
- You have 1/3 of the field to work
Continue to the full-length version of this report…
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- The pre-snap protocol Dubuque uses to alert the slot of the low option route tag.
- The pre-snap protocol Dubuque uses to alert the X of the high option route tag in 3x1 open formations.
- The pre-snap protocol Dubuque uses to alert the Y of the low option route tag in 2x2 closed formations and how it gets altered against 4-2-5 structures.
- The main coaching point for the slot on a Y option tag in 3x1 open formations.
- The pre-snap free access menu that Dubuque uses for the X/Z option concept based off man and zone coverage.
- Plus game film on all these concepts.
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Our option pass game is simple, but yet presents the appearance of a complex passing concept. The tag communicates the primary read and that read is based off of what the wide receiver does. That makes a clear and concise read for the quarterback. This concept also allows for an offense to attack a defensive weakness from a variety of looks. The addition of the second tag presents the opportunity for an explosive play out of a base concept.
Meet Coach Zweifel: Coach Zweifel joined the University of Dubuque in 2008. Under his tenure, the Spartans won the 2011 and 2015 Iowa Conference Championships and qualified for the 2011 and 2015 NCAA Division III Championships. UD also tied for 2nd place in the Iowa Conference in 2012. Twice Zweifel was named Iowa Conference Coach of the Year (2011, 2015) and was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year in 2011. He has also presented at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) national clinic and has twice been featured in the AFCA national publications.