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By Kyle McElvany

Offensive Line Coach

Anthony Wayne High School (OH)

2011 record: 8-3, OHSAA Division 1 playoffs

One of the best plays in football is the fullback trap play. It is a quick hitter, that when executed correctly, can break for big yardage. To give a little background about our program, we are a D1 school (largest classification in Ohio) that may have decent numbers but are physically undersized on a yearly basis. That is why we believe in the Wing-T offense.  A large part of our success has been because our program from elementary school and up believes in the Wing-T system.  Our coaching staff is devoted to improving our players on and off the field.

First, I will describe the offensive line’s footwork and rules for our base trap play. For demonstration purposes, I am going to assume the formation is a double tight-end formation:

Play-Side Tight-End: Step on a 45-degree angle with inside foot and rip with outside arm to dip inside of the defender on or outside of you. Work to the middle 1/3 defender to near safety.

Play-Side Tackle: Take the cleanest possible release to the first linebacker inside. Look pre-snap to whom that will be.

  • If defender is aligned head up or outside; step with the inside foot pointing on a 45-degree angle or less and dip and rip with the outside shoulder, touching grass, with your eyes up much as possible.
  • If the defender is aligned inside of you, execute a quick "pick-it-up and put-it-down step" with your inside foot then adjust your path to intersect with the first linebacker inside of you.
  •  It is important to adjust your path IMMEDIATELY after stepping to the heels of the down-lineman in order to make contact with the linebacker who will be flowing to the play.

Play-Side Guard: Rules: (inside) gap - double team-backer-influence.

  • Versus an odd front defense, the guard will double team with the center on the nose guard (unless he is shaded away from the play) to the backside linebacker. Draw an imaginary straight line from to the backside linebacker. Your first step should be with your inside foot on that imaginary line as you go on the "rail" to the backside linebacker.
  • Versus an even front, you will follow that same path.
  • Versus a Double Eagle front, you will down block on the nose guard, getting your head across the defender as to prevent penetration.

Center: Rules: Man-on-man away. Center will always take the thought process of: "I will block the man over me unless." Whenever the center is covered by a nose guard - whether head up or shaded - the center will block him unless the backside A gap is threatened by a blitz or a backside 2 (head-up) technique.

  • Versus an even front, the center will block back on the defender, stepping with the near foot, getting the head across the defender to prevent penetration.
  • Versus a double eagle front, the center will make a "domino" call telling the play side guard to block down on the nose guard while the center blocks down on the backside defensive tackle.

Backside Guard: Rules: Trap the 1st man head up to outside the play side guard. Before going into the footwork, it is important to note that I want all the offensive linemen as far off the ball as legally possible with 2 ½ foot splits.

The footwork of the backside (pulling) guard is as follows:

  • First step is a short pick-it-up and put-it-down 45-degree down step into the line of scrimmage. As the second step gains ground into the line of scrimmage, the guard will dip his play side shoulder and aim for the bottom of the numbers on the front of the jersey of the defender.
  • It is important that the pulling guard run THROUGH the defender and not to him. Also, it is pertinent to coach the pulling guard to swing his rear to the point of attack as he is making contact with the defender.

Backside Tackle: Seal off the inside gap to the hip of the center. No one can cross his face inside.

  • The first step is a flat, lateral step with your inside foot pointing at the hip of the center. The first step should be a quick step as he throws your inside elbow back and bend at the knees.
  • The second step should be a cross over step with his outside foot, dipping the shoulder while keeping the eyes up.
  • While we do not have "cutting defenders" on the backside of the play, the backside tackle must have it in his "toolbox" of plans in case of an aggressive defensive line or blitzing linebackers. It is important that if the player decides to cut, that he aim for the far thigh pad of the defender, and keep his feet moving after contact, similar to a bear crawl.

Backside End: Step on a 45-degree angle with inside foot and rip with outside arm to dip inside of the defender on or outside of you. Work to the middle 1/3 defender to near safety.

Watch Game Film of Coach McElvany's Trap Game Variations Including the "Switch," "Influence" and "Base" Trap Concepts. Join X&O Labs’ Exclusive Membership Website – Insiders – and Watch This Game Film Now! Click Here.  

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Influence Trap:

The first variation of the Trap play I will discuss is a staple in most Wing-T offenses and that is the Influence Trap. For the Influence Trap, we will now pull the play side guard (with jet motion) in order to sell Jet Sweep, one of our complementary plays.

The play side guard rule is as follows: Flat pull (but stay tight) around the Wingback’s block. Look inside-out and block the first ugly jersey he sees.

We especially like this play to the split end side vs. 5-2 shade defenses that will shade their front to the tight end side and even fronts. While it is not an ideal play vs. a true 5-2 with a 0 nose guard, because of the man block of the center, but when we have good center, we will run this play and have him cut block the nose.

Coaching point: It is critical that your offensive line understand when the trap has an "influence" tag that they will block the next defender inside instead of their normal rule so you can account for the unblocked defender whom the play side guard (who is influence pulling) would be responsible for. I stress to our offensive line that when they hear influence = block next inside. Diagram 1


Trap "Switch":

The next variation of the trap play I will discuss is the "Switch" tag which is somewhat like an "influence trap" but is more designed as a blocking scheme adjustment. This scheme comes from the Power T offense made famous by Irv Sigler at Olivet College in early 2000’s and several Michigan high school football programs. We like this blocking scheme adjustment versus a tough defensive tackle in a 50 defense when he is inside-shaded or head-up on our play side tackle. We run this to the Tight-End side. "Switch" means that the play side Tackle and play side Tight End (or Wingback if to the Split End surface) will exchange rules on the trap play. Here are our rules and footwork for the play side Tackle and Tight End/Wingback:

  • Playside Tackle: Exchange rules with the tight end. He is on a path Middle 1/3 defender to near Safety. If any defender from the outside crosses his path, he will pick him up.
  • Footwork: Short and quick drop step with outside foot, dip and rip with the inside shoulder, touching grass to have the cleanest release as possible. He should look outside-in on his path.
  • Play side Tight End/Wingback: Exchange rules with the offensive tackle. He is responsible for the first linebacker inside. Cut down your split if necessary.
  • Footwork: Execute a short and quick down step to the inside. If there is a defender on or inside of you, use footwork that will give you the cleanest possible release.

Diagram 2 & Diagram 3


Trap "On":

The last variation of the trap play we use is our Trap "On" variation, which essentially turns the scheme into a man-on-man blocking scheme. There is usually 2-3 games a year where we will run into a team we cannot Trap which may be due to them pinching their defensive line, their defensive line cutting our guards at the snap, bear crawling defensive linemen, or personnel mismatches. When we face this situation, we will base block our trap play. I will encourage our offensive linemen to stagger their stances, get more weight forward in their stance, and get off the ball.

The rules for the offensive line are as follows: On-gap-linebacker. I stress to our offensive line that no matter what, we want to get our head inside on the defender, and block until they hear the echo of the whistle. When they hear "Trap On," they know it is time to get ready to knock someone off the football and move a defender from "point A to point B". We like to use this adjustment on plays when we will go on first sound or on set with Jet, Rocket, or Buck motion in the backfield. Diagram 4

I hope you were able to take away something that will help your program. If you have any questions, please post them and I will respond as soon as I can.




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