To effectively run the inside veer, we must drill individual and team techniques numerous times.
By Greg Webster
Springfield College (MA)
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At Springfield College, we utilize an under-center triple option offense. The foundation of our offense is the inside veer. To effectively run the inside veer, we must drill individual and team techniques numerous times. Through hundreds of repetitions, we look to build confidence in the execution of the offense so that when the play is called in a game, the players react rather than think. In order to build this confidence, we incorporate a drill progression that focuses on each individual aspect of the offense, with one drill building on the previous, working towards full team execution. The progression is as follows: quarterback footwork, mesh, ride/decide, pitches, and perimeter.
Drill 1: Quarterback Footwork
The purpose of this drill is to work the quarterbacks’ footwork, hand placement, eye progression as well as cadence. Equipment needed for the drill: PVC pipe box and footballs (can also incorporate medicine balls as well as weighted footballs). Utilizing a two-foot-by-two-foot PVC pipe box we will have the quarterbacks start with their feet inside the box with the football in hand as if they are under center. One quarterback will start the cadence, with the rest following his lead, similar to a choir, in order to practice having each quarterback’s cadence sound identical. This is essential because all motions are predicated off the quarterback’s cadence. Once the quarterbacks simulate the snap they will execute a toe replace heel step so that the heel of their left foot (if running the play to the right) is in-line with the back-right corner of the PVC pipe box. The quarterbacks will freeze after their first two steps to ensure proper footwork, body position and eye placement. After the first two steps have been executed, the coach can add the entire phase of the mesh, so that it simulates the QB replacing the dive key’s heels and attacking the alley. Also, a visual key can be added to train the QB’s eyes by having a coach or player stand in the place of the dive key. On the snap, the coach or player will hold up a number with their fingers which will have to be read aloud by the QB. This helps to train the QBs eyes to be on the dive key every time. Important coaching points; pigeon toe the feet, mental weight on drive foot, hands beat the feet, pin the chin, eyes to the dive key, Z’s in the hips, knees and ankles.
Drill 2: Mesh (QB/FB)
The purpose of the drill is to work the mesh phase of the option between the QB and FB. There is no equipment needed for the drill. The drill will start with the FB in his third step out of his stance, with the QB placing the football in the belly of the FB. The FB should have a low stance, with Z’s in the hips knees and ankles, while the QB should have his hands back, with his chin pinned to his front shoulder and his eyes on the dive key. The first time through the coach will tell the QB and FB if it is a pull or a give so that they both can get a feel for the mesh. Once the drill has been executed to both sides, a visual key can be added for the QB to train his eyes while still working on the feel of the mesh. When executing the mesh, the QB must transfer his weight from his back foot to his front foot while riding the FB into the line of scrimmage. The FB must keep an open pocket and accept the football into his stomach from the QB, while never clamping. The QB must make his decision to pull the football by the time the ball reaches his front hip; he must be decisive, make a decision and attack. Fumbles are caused in the mesh by FBs clamping and QBs who read past their front hip. When making the decision to give or pull the football the QB must think, head in front pull, head behind give (refer to diagram four). As the FB carries out the mesh, he must think frontal pressure (from the QB) give, side pressure pull. When the QB gives the football, he will separate his play side hand first, while pressing the football into the stomach of the FB with his opposite hand. It is imperative that he rolls over his front foot and continues down the line to carry out his fake. When the QB pulls the football, he must roll his wrist, bend his backside elbow and pull down and away with a violent disconnect from the mesh. It is also important that he never bows out of the mesh and he replaces the dive keys heels as he attacks the alley. On a pull, the FB must roll over, grab cloth and continue to act as if he is running with the football so that the dive key cannot pop off and play both phases.
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- Coaching points and film of the “PVC Box Drill” that Coach Webster uses to train the footwork of the QB on give reads.
- Coaching points and film of the “Three Step Mesh Drill” that Coach Webster uses to teach the QB/FB the “feel” of a give or pull read on veer option.
- Coaching points and film of the “Ride and Decide Drill” that Coach Webster uses to teach the QB the right escape landmarks on pull reads.
- Coaching points and film of the “Pitches Drill” that Coach Webster uses to teach the QB to properly diagnose and react off pressure crashers- hard dive and pitch key players.
- Coaching points and film of the “Perimeter Drill” that Coach Webster uses to teach receivers to communicate and block the various coverage structures Springfield sees during game week.
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When run effectively, the triple option offensive attack can be very difficult to stop. In order for proper execution of the offense, fundamentals must be coached and drilled daily. Time must be dedicated to working all phases of the option among all skill players. The goal of incorporating these drills into practice is to create consistence habits, so that when executed in a game the players do not think, they react.
Meet Coach Webster: Greg Webster is the offensive coordinator at Springfield College and just completed his second season in that role. Before his time at Springfield, he spent four years at the University of Maine working in the secondary as well as special team’s coordinator. Prior to Maine he served as the wide receivers coach at Rose-Hulman Institute of technology in Terre Haute, IN. His coaching career began at Springfield as a graduate assistant where he also is a 2009 graduate.