Variations of the Dart Scheme

May 8, 2013 | Offense, Run Game, Gap Run Concepts

By Dan Ellis

X&O Labs Columnist

Coach Ellis

Editor’s Note: Coach Dan Ellis is one of X&O Labs’ most popular monthly columnist.  His columns focus on offensive schemes that just flat out move the ball.  His previous post have been some of the most read and commented articles in X&O Labs’ history.  Ellis is the former record-setting quarterback at Virginia and currently serves as the Head Football Coach at West Chester East High School (PA).  And one of the best things about Coach Ellis is that he takes the time to answer any and all questions asked. So, if you have any questions after reading his column, just post it in the comments section below this report and Coach will respond shortly.

A play that we use, primarily as a QB counter, is tackle wrap.  We view this play not as a finesse play, but as a downhill power/iso type of play that can be used as a 1 back run play and a QB counter.  We try to get our guards help with the center at the point of attack to stop penetration.  As our offensive line coach, Cody Loeffler, is famous for saying to our offensive line, "Our offense is like a mullet, business up front and party in the back".  Looks like a lot going on, but up front its basically downhill running game.  Spoken like a true offensive line coach!

Here are the basic rules we use:

  • PST – Wall DE.  Can NOT allow the defensive end to attack the B gap.  Tackle takes hard inside step,     depending on how tight the shade of the DE is
  • PSG – 3 Tech – Drive 3 tech.  Keep out of A gap
    • 1 Tech – Combo with C to BSILB
  • C – Combo A gap defender to BSILB
  • BSG – 3 Tech – Drive 3 tech.  Keep out of A gap
  • BST – Pull to PSLB.  3 Tech (A gap), 1 Tech (B gap).

We teach skip pulling to all of our linemen and on this one we really encourage our Tackles to move quickly and get their eyes on their target.  We communicate the frontside DT technique so the BST knows if he’s short pulling through the A gap or Long pulling into the B gap.  His eyes are on the PSLB to pick him up in case he gets downhill immediately.


Key Coaching Point – The combo by the C and G never allows a blitzing LB to cross their face.  If the PSLB blitzes the combo will pick him up and the pulling tackle will continue through the hole for the next LB.