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By Dan Hughes, Head Coach/OC, Sioux Valley High School (SD)

Jet motion forces the defense to react pre-snap, stress horizontally, and most importantly, force the DB’s to fit the run. In doing so it grabs the defensive backs’ attention as they play an integral role in defending the perimeter.

By Dan Hughes
Head Coach/OC
Sioux Valley High School (SD)
Twitter: @CossackFootball @SVGuybrarian



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Jet motion forces the defense to react pre-snap, stress horizontally, and most importantly, force the DB’s to fit the run. In doing so it grabs the defensive backs’ attention as they play an integral role in defending the perimeter. In the following clips take special note to how the DB’s must honor the jet and flow to the ball.

It’s interesting to note the different fronts and looks the defense will utilize to defend the perimeter. In nearly every instance a defensive back must interpret run, defeat a block, and pursue the ball carrier. Stress is placed on DB’s because of the amount of open field, lack of numbers, and the speed of the play.  These factors make defensive backs vulnerable to the play-action pass, especially off jet motion.

The vertical passing game compliments the Jet sweep by putting defensive backs in conflict. You will see it only takes a peek or slight hesitation from a corner or safety to create a big-play opportunity. Whether your team’s identity is under center, shotgun, the zone or power running game, the Air Raid, or wing-t, a single vertical scheme combined with Jet motion can give your offense some much-needed explosiveness.

This strategy can be incorporated into any offense regardless of formation or personnel group. Simple verbiage or a hand signal is more than adequate to add this extra layer of deception to your offense. In our system we use the buzz words “Trump” and “Hillary” to communicate jet motion to the right/left respectively. Hand signals are great as well, but our DC is a very political guy and I feel like he appreciates it.

On each of the clips in this report, you will notice a defensive back looking at the backfield. The location of their eyes keeps them from adequately covering the WR. It communicated to the QB which DB we want to attack.  These clips show the QB completing vertical passes to each third of the field.


Jet Player & Quarterback Technique: Under Center

In our system, the motion is initiated by the cadence and the jet player is responsible for sending himself in motion; the target for the jet motion is a spot 20” behind the QB. This spacing gives the QB room to do a 180-degree pivot and execute a proximity fake to the jet motion player. The QB keeps the ball secured with two-hands in his belly while the jet player, using high-cradle position with his hands/arms, creates the fake.

  1. Pre-Snap Motion initiated by QB cadence.
  2. QB does a 180-degree pivot and executes proximity fake
  3. “Giant Step” straight back with plant foot
  4. On rhythm deliver the ball to the window above the #1 WR


Clip note: Notice how the DB is in press coverage, but our WR's role stays consistent, "get behind the defense." In this clip, you can clearly see the CB only peeks for a split second. This is all our receiver needed to get behind him.  This clip also shows how the receiver stayed on top of his landmark, which in this case is the numbers.  This game the QB an area to throw and prevented the free safety from being a factor in the play.


Jet Player & Quarterback Technique: Shotgun

Everything stays the same except the jet motion player will move his target to a spot 20” in front of the QB.  Once the snap is received the QB will seat the ball in his belly with 2 hands and take two shuffle steps concealing be ball hind the hip of the jet player. Once again this is a proximity fake and there is no need to risk turnovers by two players simultaneously contacting the ball.

  1. Pre-snap Motion Initiated by Cadence
  2. QB receives snap and executes proximity fake “Shuffle-Shuffle”
  3. Plant back foot, eyes downfield
  4. On rhythm deliver the football


Clip note: In this clip, our QB is out of the shotgun and we notice the jet motion path is 20" in front of the QB, who can hide the ball behind the jet motion player’s hip for two shuffle steps. This causes the defense to flow, the CB to peek, and our WR to get behind the defense.



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  • Why he teaches the jet motion player to turn his back to the defense while making eye contact with the corner.
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  • How he teaches the jet motion player to hold the near safety in two-high coverages.
  • The landmarks Coach Hughes teaches his motion player to use in the vertical pass game.
  • The “switch” concept that Coach Hughes uses to generate hesitation against soft coverage.
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Putting defensive backs in conflict stresses the defense and opens big play opportunities. Jet action and vertical concepts are easy to understand and can be easily inserted into any offense. Tag a motion verb to a vertical pass concept and watch the DB’s body language and technique deteriorate.



Meet Coach Hughes:

Selected as the 2017 Region II Coach of the Year by the SD Football Coaches Association, Coach Hughes took over the Sioux Valley program in 2013, after being an assistant in Nebraska for seven years.  SV was in the midst of 14-year playoff drought, dating back to 1999 that included only one winning season.  Since then, with the help of a great administration and assistant coaches Fast, Cadwell, Trygstad, Becker, & Schiller, the Cossacks have been one of the most consistent & successful programs in South Dakota’s Class 11B.  His teams have set records for points in a season, yards in a season, and have qualified for the post-season six straight years. This run includes two trips to the semi-finals and a 2017 team that spent six straight weeks ranked #1 by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and South Dakota Media Polls. This team amassed a school-record 4,400 yards of offense and Sioux Valley's first undefeated regular season in 40 years. 

Special Thanks to Superintendent Laura Schuster, Principal Belinda Miller, and AD Moe Ruesink. Thank you to Tom Oster for taking a chance on me, and to all of our youth coaches, especially Jayme Trygstad for giving so much to the young people of our community.





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