How Pistol Coaches Teach Backside Slip Blocks

Nov 17, 2014 | Offense, Run Game Mechanics, Tight Ends, Pistol Formation, Position Groups, Formation Structures

By Mike Kuchar

Senior Research Manager

X&O Labs


Editor's Note:  The following article is a small portion of the complete Pistol Special report that is available to our Insiders Members by clicking here.  


Slip/Cruiser Concept

The slip or cruiser concept is the opposite of arc. In this situation, the read is going away from a Tight End (or three man surface) and another player is responsible for blocking the force defender for a QB keep.  This player can be a player from a backfield alignment (Diagram 14) or one from the other side of the formation who will get to a position post or pre-snap to handle that responsibility.  Nevada, under Ault, typically used borrowed a player from the backside of the formation to handle this responsibility (usually an H or Wing) which provided instant misdirection to the defense (Diagram 15) that looked a lot like the slice concept that was detailed in Case One.  According to Norcross, Nevada varies whether or not it wanted its QB to carry the ball.  “If we want to run lead option and leave the pitch man free we would tell him (slip player) to leave the force player.  He’d leave the first man past the defensive end.  If we want to run load option, we tell him to block him.  He would slip and we would block the pitch key and it turns into sweep.  It’s just a different variation.”

Norcross stressed the job of “covering up” when blocking the force player.  Remember, this could be a receiver handling a Safety, so it’s important not to try and set up as a kill shot.  “We would tell him to aim for outside shoulder of the defensive end (opposite of slice which is the inside shoulder).  “When we got to the second level it doesn’t have to be a kill shot.  Our QB will make your right.  We just wanted to fit him up and basketball screen him initially.  Once he chooses a direction now we can shuffle our feet and run him that way.  The QB can press and cut off of us. The one thing we didn’t want to do is turn out on him and have him squeeze us down into the hole.”