Identifying Defenders Using the Option Count System

Dec 9, 2012 | Offense, Flex Bone, Offensive Systems

By Jeff Minter


X&O Labs

Editors Note: Since 1998 Coach Minter has served as a head coach, coordinated all three phases of the game, and worked with the defensive line, offensive line, linebackers, quarterbacks, and wide receivers. He has developed the blog GridNotes as a home for the wealth of coaching related articles, blog posts, and forum topics found on the net.

In running the Triple Option it is important that all players are able to easily identify which defenders will be read and which defenders the offense will need to block. In order to develop a clear system to identify these defenders many coaches implement a count system. The following count system effectively identifies the important defenders so that all athletes can easily determine who the key players are.

The count always begins with the first player head up to outside the Tackle. This defender is referred to as #1 and he will be the read key. We then rotate outside in a circular fashion to find the next defender that is not the cornerback. This player will be #2. The #3 defender will be the next player in this count and is always a linebacker or safety. #1 in the count is the Handoff Key (HOK), #2 is usually the Pitch Key (PK), and #3 is typically the player being blocked by the play side slot.