Seams and Verticals to Stress Third Level Defenders

Feb 15, 2016 | Offense, Pass Game, 10/00 Personnel Concepts, Vertical Pass Concepts, Personnel

By Lee K. I. Boyd
Wide Receivers Coach
Saint Louis School (HI)



MariotaHere at Saint Louis School, we’re a no huddle Run and Shoot offense. As part of that scheme, the majority of routes will adjust post snap. We do this to get the best routes against the coverage we face each down.

Orchestrating the offense to the degree in which it appears organic and fluid in nature along with our receivers attacking coverages with controlled natural instinct is critical in this offense. It requires us to invest much of our time teaching players how discipline their thought process. This increases the accuracy of their decisions by making them recognize when and where to put their eyes as they root themselves in the moment of the play.

Our philosophy is simple. We’re going to get good at what we do. We line up in 3x1 and 2x2 and play fast. The simplicity of our formations plus tempo allows us to always see the defenses alignment pre-snap, regardless of coverage scheme. When the play starts we’re going to execute what we do, better than you execute what you do.

“60 Z Go”

Our base concept is what we call the “60 Z Go.” The go route sets up everything else in the offense, so we start teaching it on day 1. The transferability and versatility are some of the best aspects of this play.


The whole process for us starts in the spring. At that time, we teach our players the strengths and weaknesses of coverages. This facilitates their understanding as to why our routes change so we can inflict the most damage to that coverage. Although there are multiple variations of coverage we put them into 5 basic categories. We want to keep it simple so that we can play fast and get the receivers and quarterbacks on the same page.

The coverage concepts that we teach are as follows:

  1. 3 deep zone “Cover 3”
    1. Cover 3 Sky –Safety is the flat defender
    2. Cover 3 Cloud- Cornerback is the flat defender
  2. 2 deep zone “Cover 2”
    1. 2 deep man under
  3. 4 deep zone “Cover 8”
  4. Man free
  5. 4 across man (blitz)

Back Side #1 Receiver “Up Route”

The back side receiver will align at the bottom of the numbers and execute an up route. He is responsible for creating a vertical stretch on the defensive coverage and preventing the backside cornerback from becoming a factor to the playside.

The up route receiver has two key jobs on this play. First, he must tie up the coverage on the backs side of the concept. Secondly, he must also test his cornerback’s use of cushion both pre-snap and post-snap (backpedal) regarding his ability to sustain his coverage responsibility. Determining his potential advantage to get vertical on the defender, gives the receiver confidence and lets our play caller know we can attack the weak side cornerback with our “Choice” concept when he’s put into a one-on-one situation.