Varying QB/RB Alignments in One-Back Gap Schemes

Jan 23, 2017 | Offense, Run Game, Gap Run Concepts, 11 Personnel Concepts, Personnel

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



This research was conducted as part of special report on “Spread Gap Schemes,” which can be accessed in full by clicking below.

Preferable A Back Alignments:

We found these responses were similar to the alignments that coaches use in the Power concept. The majority of coaches that use the Counter concept choose to use a vertical alignment of one yard behind the quarterback (See Graph Below).


The horizontal alignment of choice has the ball carrier aligned with his inside foot on the outside foot of the back side guard (See Graph Below). We did find evidence of some coaches who will run the same side Counter concept, Mark Holcomb is one of them, but the majority of coaches will set that back (if he is offset) away from the play side.


QB/RB Mesh Points; Offset Alignments; Three-Step Footwork:

Jeff Conaway, Shiloh Christian High School (AR): “We use alignment options 1, 2, 3, or 1.5 (this was explained in case one). He slides, meshes, and press front side A gap, downhill, with attitude. This is done with a three-step footwork, pushing off the third step. His key is the play side defensive end and reads the H-Back pull on play side linebacker.”

Inside Zone Footwork:

LJ Spinnato, Choate Rosemary Hall (CT): “To us, it’s the same as Power if the A back is aligned play side. If he is aligned backside, it’s Inside Zone footwork if aligned QB Jumps to 45-degree angle and presents the ball. Tailback tempos his zone step from 2x1 alignment, can Counter step, but we usually don’t. We have done it both ways in the past. QB, 6-inch lateral steps play side, then clear backside leg to 45-degree angle.”