The QB dart play is an excellent addition to any spread offensive attack. The dart play in its essence is a "tackle iso" play. It stresses defenses preparing to handle inside zone read because the defensive end being read is now away from the back.
By Kyle Wagner
Offensive Coordinator & QB Coach
Lutheran North High School (MO)
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The QB dart play is an excellent addition to any spread offensive attack. The dart play in its essence is a "tackle iso" play. It stresses defenses preparing to handle inside zone read because the defensive end being read is now away from the back. The play is also versatile in the way that your back and quarterback can switch roles from year to year depending on whom you want to be the primary ball-carrier when the play is called. QB dart can be effectively tagged with key game RPOs to be even more deadly and save the offense valuable yards in case of a missed block or assignment. This play was a key part of our 14-0 season and provided us with an answer in critical moments throughout the playoffs.
Why Run QB Dart?
The QB dart is a rather inexpensive play to install. The blocking assignments are rather simple especially if you already incorporate any iso into your offense. It is a great way to allow your dual-threat Quarterback to make easy decisions and get him out in space with a lead blocker. The misdirection of the play makes it tough for the defender to remain consistent in their eye discipline. Also, being able to tag RPOs onto the play makes it even more of a headache for the defense both in preparation and on the field. The QB dart play is also a way to break inside zone read tendencies, which is what originally intrigued me. It’s an Inside Zone tendency breaker because usually we are reading the Defensive End on the same side as the back and now we are reading the end away from the back. The games defenses play to stop the Zone play with exchanging gaps are now less effective. In a day and age where explosive plays are king, QB dart is just that. Every run is a big play possibility unless the defense concedes numbers on the perimeter. Finally, the play is versatile, and it can be very simple or you can use motions, etc. to make it more complex.
The major coaching point at getting good at running this play is the same as most, reps! As the quarterback’s coach, we try to get at least 10-15 minutes a day of working our mesh at an extremely fast pace. We will rep all our run read plays at least four or five times each way during this period. During the period we have our offensive line hose rolled out and have a defender playing as the read defender. The job of the defender is to try to confuse the quarterback into making a mistake. The QB meshes with the back keeping his eyes on the defender. I tell him to "feel" the flow of the defender and trust his instincts. It is important that if you have a QB who can run that you tell him to keep it unless the defensive end can get to him as opposed to keep it if the defensive end takes the back. The fact that we only must spend a few reps on the play is why I consider it an inexpensive, explosive play!
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- Game planning the concept vs. three-down or Mint fronts.
- Building in post-snap manipulations to affect overhang defenders.
- Building in pre-snap motions and mis-directions to clear blocking angles in the box.
- Variations to lock the backside Tackle on the Defensive End from Empty formations
- Plus, game film of this concept.
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I would like to start by thanking X&O Labs for allowing me to share a concept that was integral to our success. The QB dart play is a versatile, inexpensive, and explosive play to add to your arsenal this off-season. With the game leaning towards more mobile quarterbacks, now is the perfect time to start integrating this concept. If any coaches read this and want to lab more, feel free to contact me anytime.
Meet Coach Kyle Wagner: The 2019 season was Kyle Wagner’s 10th year coaching and his 3rd year as a coordinator. After spending two years as the defensive coordinator at Lutheran North, Coach Wagner decided to move to the offensive side of the ball. This season after installing his spread RPO offense, they went on an incredible 14-0 state championship run averaging just over 47 points per game. He has coached in five straight semifinal games and two state championships during that span.