The Bench Route Series and Tags

May 17, 2021 | Offense, Pass Game, Intermediate Pass Concepts, Vertical Pass Concepts

By Danny Dupaix
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Southern Virginia University (VA)
Twitter: @coachdandupaix



Entering my 5th season at Southern Virginia (DIII), we have made good progress towards our goal of competing for the conference title annually, but we still have plenty of work to do! We’ve seen improving success year-over-year for the past 4 seasons on the offensive side of the ball.

When I became the OC, I was tasked with transitioning a traditional flex bone triple-option offense into a power-run spread offense. We are still based on triple-option principles in our run and RPO game and we run out of many different formations, personnel groups, and shifts. As we continue to build the program here at SVU, we want to continue to grow and evolve as an offense to be on the cutting edge of innovation while running the offense behind our strengths, especially at QB. In the past, we’ve been better runners than passers and so we’ve utilized a lot of zone read. This past year, our QB could throw a decent ball and so we called more plays in the pocket.

In this report, I want to highlight the bench, one of our route concepts that we arguably need to call more often. I have always loved the bench route. When it’s thrown on time, it is really hard to defend in Man and Cover 3. Against Cover 2 and 4, our route combos can cause havoc on the conflict defender.

We track stats from our team period vs scouts knowing full well that it is not a true indicator of success. For our bench route, we've had great success in practice- calling it only 5% of the time. In-game, we regrettably only called it 1% of the time and it produced 6% of our offense, averaging over 13 yards per completion and creating multiple explosive plays (16+ yards). It is an every-down call and works in open field and RedZone situations.

What I will convey in this report is how to have a simple route concept that is easy to install and has the ability for big plays. I will also show a few variations that can be tagged on to support it.



Everything begins upfront. Although this play often gets the ball out quickly, we want to be polished and sound. I will not, however, detail out the OL techniques in this report. The first protection is a six-man half slide.


  1. The first uncovered OL working BS to PS will begin the slide. Each man will protect the PS gap. In this diagram, the PS is right.
  2. The slide side will account for the DL and LBs to the PS.
  3. The PST will stay big on big.
  4. The RB will account backside for the Lbs. Reading inside-out he will take the most dangerous man (MIKE to WILL).


The second way you’ll see in this report on how we protect is through play-action. We’ll look at two protections: inside zone (similar to six-man half slide) and split zone (seven-man full slide).  These plays sell beautifully and we end up with a lot of 1-on-1 matchups.