“Sniffer” Alignment Methodologies in Spread Gap Schemes

Jul 22, 2016 | Offense, Run Game, Gap Run Concepts, 11 Personnel Concepts, Personnel

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar


The following researcher was conducted as part of XandOLabs.com special report on “Spread Gap Schemes” Scroll down to read more on this report.

Alignment of Sniffer (Y/H):

To these Spread coaches, the alignment of the H/Y (or the player executing the kick out block) is crucial in the Power concept. For most coaches we spoke with, the H needs to be in a B gap alignment in order to get the kick of the defensive end executed correctly. While the consensus is that he needs to be at that point by the time the ball is snapped, how he gets there could be left open to the imagination. So, we polled only those coaches who averaged over 5 yards per carry this season on the power concept to ask them the verbiage they use to get the H in the right snap for the post-snap kick out. Their responses are recorded anonymously.

Reader Responses:

“We use the toe to heel of the offensive tackle and about a yard away from the tackle’s butt. He is two yards off the line of scrimmage.”

“We call him a butt sniffer. He needs to be so tight to the guard that he’s almost taking the snap from the guard. We talk about the sweat of his chinstrap to drop on the guard’s back. That’s how close he needs to be if we want the kick out.”

“We’re a little different than some guys might be. When we put you in motion, you need to end up where you need to be to execute the play. We have two motions for him. One that takes him across the formation and one that bring him into the edge. That’s it. He just needs to know where he is going to be. I don't think you need to tell them where to be. They will learn where they need to be. Don’t screw up your own play we tell him. We are more multiple than some Spread teams, so we sacrifice some tempo for that.”

“The sniffer needs to be no wider than B gap because he can’t get inside out on the defensive end.”

“Regardless of his alignment pre-snap, he will need to end up behind the play side guard at the snap to have a good enough angle to kick out.”

“We have a formation name to get the Y in the backfield. Axel means he is behind the right tackle and we align in a 2x2 set. If he is on the line it is Ace. Ram means he is behind the right tackle in a 3x1 set. If he is on the line the formation is Reo.”

“When we run power he is on the play side. When we run counter he is opposite.”

“Our pre-snap read precludes or affords the F, H or Y the opportunity to vary their alignment according to assignment. If H kicks out, we cheat foot-to-foot alignment with inside leg of tackle. If H, carries or reads the end, then he may align even with QB but must adjust first step on run route.”

“We would like to have the F/H with his toes a yard behind the offensive line, and we would like him to align behind the play side guard (vs. even fronts) or on his outside leg vs. odd fronts). We cheat him much wider when we are running perimeter runs, maybe two gaps if there is a tight end. When the F/H must arc to opposite side, he cheats slightly tighter there.”