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By Scott Hansen, QB Coach/Passing Game Coordinator, Hinsdale South High School (IL)

What happens when you put your QB in a short Pistol alignment for midline concepts? One coaching staff tried it. Check out these results...

By Scott Hansen
QB Coach/Passing Game Coordinator
Hinsdale South High School (IL)
Twitter: @CoachHansen05



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As someone who was raised on the Split Back Veer (SBV) from under center, I am what you may call an “option purist.” I ran SBV as a quarterback for four years and coached it for another five. Combine that with the time that I’ve spent studying and coaching the Flexbone Triple, and you’ve got a coach who’s pretty set in his beliefs. With that said, I also understand that any coach worth his salt knows that he has to evolve as the game evolves.

When I was hired to my current position, I was expected to be open minded. Our offense combined the traditional Flexbone Triple with Spread concepts. As part of this scheme, we would put our quarterback was in the short pistol, 2 ½ yards from the center. The reason for this being that having the QB closer to the center than a traditional Pistol formation allows us to align our fullback so that his hand is on the ground at 5 yards depth. I was initially curious to see how the timing of the snap, the mesh, and the point of attack all worked in synchronicity.


While I was skeptical at first, it was easier to buy in after seeing the big picture. Here is a list of the ways that we feel we gain an advantage using the short pistol:

  • Aids the QB in gaining depth for reading all option plays
  • Protects the mesh from upfield penetration or a stalemate at the LOS
  • Causes read keys to take a definitive angle
  • Puts the QB at the proper depth for the quick passing game
  • Disguises the intent of slot motion (slots align even with the QB)


Diagram 1

Diagram 2



Continue to the full-length version of this report...

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  • The differences in the 5 teaching progressions for the quarterback, as it pertains to both shotgun and short pistol formations.
  • Why Coach Hansen uses “reach and teach” instead of “ride and decide” verbiage on the mesh.
  • Responsibilities and coaching points of the Midline Double concept vs. both Even and Odd fronts.
  • Responsibilities and coaching points of the Midline Triple concept vs. both Even and Odd fronts.
  • Plus, game film on both these concepts.


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Though we implement some spread concepts, we are a Flexbone Triple team at heart. Our bread and butter plays are inside and outside veer. With that said, Midline is a must-have play for us so that we have the ability to attack every gap of a defense with confidence.

I’m sure a lot of what is contained is common knowledge, and that’s good. All I can tell you is that doing what we do out of the short pistol makes us more dynamic. We are able to mesh our triple, jet/toss, power, and pass game seamlessly. Running Midline out of the short pistol like we do is similar to being under center.

The blocking rules do not change. We find that we get a more definitive read from the dive player and are able to withstand penetration or a stalemate.

I’d like to give special credit to our OL Coach, Kraig Conyer, for collaborating with me on the blocking rules.


Meet Coach Hansen:  Scott Hansen is currently the Quarterbacks Coach/Pass Game Coordinator at Hinsdale South High School, a 6A school in the Chicago suburbs. Hinsdale South went from 5-4 in 2013 to 9-3 in 2014 including a trip to the state quarterfinals. In 2016, they finished 9-4 losing in the state semifinals by 3 points.




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