Finding Ways to Create Separation in Route Running

May 16, 2016 | Pass Game Mechanics, Position Groups, Wide Receivers

By Buddy Blevins
Wide Receiver Coach & Recruiting Coordinator
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Twitter: @coachb_blevins5



panhandleGetting open or creating separation at the wide receiver position, in one form or another, is often relegated to three simple factors; size, strength, or speed (indeed, those do help). Unfortunately, all of us in the coaching world realize, you are not always fortunate enough to have guys that were born with, or have been able to create, those traits. Today we are going to discuss how coaches who may not have the personnel they desire can still have a chance to win with whoever, whenever by using my systematic approach.

Creating Separation:

The main situation I am going to address is an off man type of scenario. This will consist of off man, or any zone scenario when at the top of your route you have a defender nearby that is attached to you.

We teach that creating separation is a simple two part process:

  1. Recognizing the leverage of the DB by the top of your route (right before your break)
  2. Utilizing 1 of two methods to create separation
    1. Using a deceptive move
    2. Using an angle adjustment

Understanding and recognizing leverage is extremely simple. Football is a fluid and constantly evolving game, we understand that. However, we decided to simplify things and categorize any DB’s position to fit into three basic scenarios.

Consider these relative to an “out breaking route”

  1. Access (Diagram 1)
  2. No Access (Diagram 2)
  3. Head up (Diagram 3)


The receiver assesses the DB’s leverage while in the vertical portion of the route. To us, this vertical portion of the route is known as the “stem” (just like the stem of a plant- it is the straight part). By the time the receiver reaches the last step or two if his stem, the DB’s leverage should be final and the receiver will know what he is going to do.

Each of the three leverages is attacked a different way. Here are two types of breaks/routes we will use to illustrate this point:

1)Angled Break: Burst Route (10-12 yd out/corner route from the outside) (Diagram 4)