Flipping Offensive Lineman

Optimizing your Football Running Plays

 

Optimizing Football PlaysIf you have been following our Essential Youth Football Plays and Football Plays, Formations, and Adjustments blog posts, you know that come September many youth football coaches will be scouring the Internet looking for football plays to help their struggling offenses.  What many youth football coaches fail to understand are that it may not be the plays they are running, but where they are placing their players. One of the strategies that we would like to suggest is flipping your offensive lineman.  This tactic makes optimal use of your talent while finding spots for less athletically gifted players and is even a strategy used at the higher levels of football.

To illustrate this concept, we will use Coach Bruce Eien’s I Wing Offense.

I Wing Base Formation

I Wing Base Formation

Using the strategy of flipping lineman we will designate the play side of the line as the “Wall” side and the back side of the play as the “Pull” side.

Pull and Wall Side

Pull and Wall Side

Our play calling nomenclature might look something like this:

[Backs Formation] [Blocking Scheme] [Wall Side/Play Direction] [Tag]

Using the examples of the I Back Toss Power Play and I Back Toss Counter Play in our previous blog posts, our play calls would be:

I-Right Toss Right

  • I-Right = Backs Formation
  • Toss = Power Blocking Scheme
  • Right = Designates which side of the Center the Wall side lineman are to line up and the direction of the play.
I Wing Toss Power Play

I Wing Toss Power Play

I-Right Counter Left

  • I-Right = Backs Formation
  • Counter = Power Blocking Scheme
  • Left = Designates which side of the Center the Wall side lineman are to line up and the direction of the play.
I Wing Toss Counter Play

I Wing Toss Counter Play

Player Placement

By flipping the offensive line, positions can be prioritized and players can be placed in spots where they have a greater chance of success.  Keeping with the previous examples, we would use the following guideline for building our offensive line:

Position Description Priority
pg Pull side Guard  (Most Athletic) 1
wt Wall side Tackle (Strongest/Best Blocker) 2
wg Wall side Guard – (Wall side Tackle in Waiting) 3
Y Wall side Tight End – (Best Receiver) 4
C Center – (Confident/Coachable) 5
pt Pull side Tackle (Minimum Type Player) 6
X Pull side Tight End (Minimum Type Player) 7

Since we are running away from the Pull side of the offensive line, we have created two positions, pt and X, that can be utilized for rotating players.  As these positions improve throughout the season, we could introduce tags that have the Wall side and Pull side swap responsibilities.  For example, if we align in the following fashion and our opponent has scouted us enough, they are going to expect that we are going to run Counter to the left of the formation and might shift their defense accordingly:

I-Right

I-Right

To combat this, we could simply add a Tag like “Rhino” or “Lion” that tells the Wall side and Pull side to swap responsibilities and the Backfield the new direction of the play.  Keeping with our I Wing Toss Power Play example, our play call would look like this:

I-Right Toss Left Rhino

  • I-Right = Backs Formation
  • Toss = Power Blocking Scheme
  • Left = Designates which side of the Center the Wall side are to lineman line up.
  • Rhino = Tells the Wall side and Play side to swap responsibilities and the Backfield the direction (Right) of the play.
I Wing Toss with Rhino Tag

I Wing Toss with Rhino Tag

If we wanted to appear to be running Toss to the Right, we could call:

I-Right Counter Right Lion

  • I-Right = Backs Formation
  • Counter = Counter Blocking Scheme
  • Right = Designates which side of the Center the Wall side lineman are to line up.
  • Lion = Tells the Wall side and Play side to swap responsibilities and the Backfield the direction (Left) of the play.
I Wing Toss Counter with Lion Tag

I Wing Toss Counter with Lion Tag

You would only need to use these tags if you think the defense is keying the Wall side of the line and only enough times to keep the defense honest.

Shifting the Offensive Line

If you like the idea of flipping your offensive line, you should also give consideration to shifting to further stress the defensive.  This could be simply done by having your Wall Side and Pull Side always start on the same side of the line and adding a “Shift” to your cadence.  For example, the Wall side could always line up on the Right and the Pull side on the Left of the Center with your cadence being something like the following:

Shift, Down, Set, GO

Assuming that the play call designated that the Wall side is to be on the Left side of the line, the offensive line would flip upon hearing “Shift”.  Otherwise they would just stay in their position.  Below is an example of a youth team flipping their line and better illustrates what we are trying to describe.  Though the team in the video is a Single Wing team, there flip method could be adopted to other offenses as well.

That’s Coaching!

Unless you are blessed with an abundance of quality offensive lineman, flipping your line puts your team in the best possible position to be successful while creating spots to get more players on the field without sacrificing competitiveness.  Finding ways to maintain competitiveness while striving to involve as many of your players is what Coaching is all about.  If you have doubts, we suggest you take a look at our Should I play my best 11 or risk sacrificing wins blog post.

If you are interested in learning more about the I Back Toss, please check out our I Back Toss (Double Wing Style) clinic.  Also, if you would like to further explore the thought of shifting your offensive line and the choreography required, you might want to take a look at our Flipping with the Unbalanced Single Wing clinic.

Football Plays and Formations

Football Plays, Formations, and Adjustments

(Getting more Power in the Power Running Play)

 

I Wing Toss Power Play

I Wing Toss Power Play

To expand on our theme of Football Formations and Essential Youth Football Plays, we thought we should cover a couple of formation adjustments that might make sense for your situation.  Like many of you we participate in a league where the end man on the line of scrimmage must be under a certain weight limit (ball carrier weight).  Even though we typically get a double team at the point of attack on our Power Running Play, there are times when our play side Tackle and Tight End struggle to get a sufficient push against a dominant Defensive Tackle.  Because of this we have the Wing ON, Flanker ON, and Tackle OVER formation adjustments in our playbook.

Note:  We will be using Coach Bruce Eien’s I Wing Toss play as our example Power Running Play.

Wing ON Adjustment

Football Plays - Wing ON

Football Plays – Wing ON

Because the I Wing offense utilizes a wing, we have the option of using the “Wing ON” adjustment.  Of the adjustments we will cover this is one of the simplest as it usually doesn’t require any assignment changes.  The Wing or Z player simply moves up to the line of scrimmage covering the X player.  Now the Z is the end man and while the X is no longer an eligible receiver he can now be over the ball carrier weight.  This allows you to put a much larger player in what would normally be the Tight End position.  Consequently you should get a better double team on the Defensive Tackle.  The only downside to this adjustment is that you can’t call any pass plays that sends the X out in a pass route.

Football Plays - I Wing Toss Wing ON

Football Plays – I Wing Toss Wing ON

Flanker ON Adjustment

Football Plays - Flanker ON

Football Plays – Flanker ON

The “Flanker ON” adjustment moves a flanker onto the line of scrimmage to cover the X or Tight End.  Now the Z or Flanker is the end man and while the X is no longer an eligible receiver he can now be over the ball carrier weight.  This allows you to put a much larger player in what would normally be the Tight End position.  Consequently you should get a better double team on the Defensive Tackle.  Much like the “Wing ON” adjustment there is the down side that you can’t call any pass plays that sends the X out in a pass route.

Football Plays - I Wing Toss Flanker ON

Football Plays – I Wing Toss Flanker ON

 

Tackle OVER Adjustment

Football Plays - Tackle OVER

Football Plays – Tackle OVER

The “Tackle OVER” splits out the X.  We then move the back side Tackle over to the play side to the position vacated by the X.  We are now in an unbalanced formation, but it is has been our experience that few defenses recognize this as unbalanced.  We now have both of our Tackles to double team the Defensive Tackle.  Unlike the “Wing ON” or “Flanker ON” adjustments we don’t lose any eligible receivers, however we do create a shorter edge on the back side.

Football Plays - I Wing Toss Tackle OVER

Football Plays – I Wing Toss Tackle OVER

If you are interested in learning more about the I Back Toss, please check out our I Back Toss (Double Wing Style) clinic.

Youth Football Plays

Essential Youth Football Plays

 

Essential Youth Football Plays

If you recently visited our site, you know that we published a blog post concerning Youth Football Formations.  In that post we mentioned that one of the most queried youth football topics according to google is football formations and that the number of searches tends to hit their peak in September when we believe many youth football coaches are frantically searching for magic football plays. Though it certainly isn’t magic, we believe Power Running plays along with a complementary play like Counter are football plays that should be in every youth offensive playbook.  The idea behind the Power Running play is pretty simple.  The offensive line on the play side of the line (side of the offensive line the ball is being run to) blocks down towards the Center and a running back kicks out or blocks the first defender on the line of scrimmage outside the gap or hole that the ball is being run to.  With the exception of the Guard, the offensive line on the back side of the line (side of the offensive line opposite of where the ball is being run to) seals off any penetration to their inside gap.  The back side Guard pulls to the play side behind the offensive line and up into the gap or hole the ball is being run to looking for a different colored jersey to block usually a linebacker.

Below is an example of our version of Coach Bruce Eien’s I Back Toss using a modified version of G.O.D. (Gap, On, Down) blocking rules verses a pretty common youth 6-2 defense:

I Back Toss Power Play

I Back Toss Power Play

 

Something that you may notice right away is that the play side Tackle is not blocking down towards the Center.  As we mentioned earlier, a Power Running play typically has everyone on the play side of the offensive line blocking down.  If we were to do that, the X Tight End would end up with a one on one block on the Defensive Tackle. Since many of us coach in youth football leagues where an eligible receiver has to be under a certain weight, the Tight End many times will be at disadvantage having to block a much larger player by themselves.  We account for that by tweaking our play side Tackle’s Power blocking rule such that they will form a double team on the Defensive Tackle.

 

 

Below are the blocking rules that make up our Power scheme:

  • Back side Tight End – G.O.D.
  • Back side Tackle – G.O.D.
  • Back side Guard – Pull
  • Center – M.O.M.A.  (Man On, Man Away)
  • Play side Guard – G.O.D.
  • Play side Tackle – G.O.O.D (Gap, On, Outside, Down)
  • Play side Tight End – G.O.D.

If you are an inexperienced coach and some of these terms are unfamiliar to you, a nice reference concerning Rules Blocking is Coach Parker’s Rule Blocking Vocabulary for Youth Football Offenses.

Here is the I Back Toss in action:

Complementary Football Plays

As mentioned earlier, we believe complementary plays to the Power Running play are football plays that should be in every offensive playbook.  By complementary we mean one that starts off looking like a Power Running play, but ends up attacking a different part of the field.  Keeping with Coach Eien’s I Back Toss, a good example of a complementary play is the I Back Counter.

I Back Toss Counter Play

I Back Toss Counter Play

 

The I Back Counter play starts out looking very much like the I Back Toss with the Quarterback and Tailback faking the Toss.  The Fullback steps to the back side as if he is going to execute his Toss kick out block, but instead comes under the Quarterback to the play side hole or gap the ball is being run to looking for different colored jersey to block.  The Wing or Z player comes underneath the Quarterback receiving a hand off and then running inside the kick out block of the Pulling back side Guard.  Though this play is considered a Counter play, it is effectively a Power play with some misdirection built-in.

 

 

Below are the blocking rules that make up our Counter scheme:

  • Back side Tight End – G.O.D.
  • Back side Tackle – G.O.D.
  • Back side Guard – Pull (Kick Out)
  • Center – M.O.M.A.  (Man On, Man Away)
  • Play side Guard – G.O.D.
  • Play side Tackle – G.O.O.D (Gap, On, Outside, Down)
  • Play side Tight End – G.O.D.

Here is the I Back Counter play in action:

Complementary plays are essential football plays as they allow you to punish the defense when they start committing to stopping your Power Running play.

If you are interested in learning more about the I Back Toss, please check out our I Back Toss (Double Wing Style) clinic.  Also, if you are interested in learning more about the Power and Counter concepts, you should take a look at our Multiple Ways to Run the Power Concept and Counter in the Youth Game clinics.

Youth Football Formations

Youth Football Formations

 

One of the most searched for youth football topics on google and often misunderstood is football formations.  Interestingly enough the search queries tend to peak in September during the heart of the youth football season when I suspect many offenses are struggling and coaches are looking for that magic play.

Formation Alignment Rules:

  1. Must have a least 7 players on the line of scrimmage, but can have as many as 10.  I say 10, because someone has to be able to take the snap.
  2. Can have up to 4 players in the backfield, but as pointed out in Rule #1 there can be as few as 1.
  3. Of the players on the line of scrimmage only those players on each end are considered eligible receivers.
  4. All players in the backfield are considered eligible receivers.

Youth Football Nuances

High School, College, and the Pros have numbering restrictions when determining the eligibility of a receiver.  Due to the nature of Youth Football, most youth leagues don’t enforce this restriction.  Here is a nice article that outlines in great detail if a player is eligible based on formation alignment.  Also for those youth coaches in leagues where there is a maximum weight for a ball carrier, they are often faced with the restriction that players on the end of the line of scrimmage must be of ball carrier weight.

Having Fun with Formations

As mentioned above we must have at least 7 players on the line of scrimmage and the end players are eligible receivers. Below is what Coach Bruce Eien calls his Stupid formation:

Football Formations - Bruce Eien's Stupid Formation

Football Formations – Bruce Eien’s Stupid Formation

Remember by rule the end man on the line of scrimmage is an eligible receiver.  Because the “C”enter is an end man he is eligible to go out for a pass.  From this formation you can run Sweep, Counter, Sweep Pass, and as mentioned before a Center Pass.  Keep in mind that if you use this formation and you participate in a ball carrier weight restricted league, the Center must be able to carry the ball.  If you are interested in learning more about the Stupid formation, as well as other exotic formations Coach Eien uses check out his Trick Plays and Exotic Formations clinic.

Here is another fun formation that we learned from Coach Mike Ranson called Monster:

Football Formations - Mike Ranson's Monster Formation

Football Formations – Mike Ranson’s Monster Formation

Again in this formation the Center is an eligible receiver because he is an end man on the line of scrimmage.  The trick with this play is the snap which looks more like a lateral, but is legal as long as it is one continuous motion. The following video illustrates what I am talking about:

What is the Purpose of a Formation?

While we have been having fun with some of the more unusual formations above, there are a couple of questions that you should ask yourself when wanting to use a new formation in your offense.

  1. What advantage or leverage does the formation give me ?
  2. Can I run most of my base offense from it or is it a “one trick pony”?

Often times inexperienced coaches utilize formations and really have no idea why they are doing it other than it is something they saw another coach use successfully.  Because they don’t understand why it was successful, they often don’t enjoy the same result.  Another mistake many inexperienced coaches make is that they run a single play from a specific formation.  While the play may work once or twice, the play or formation will become almost useless as they get deeper into the season and other teams have had an opportunity to scout them.

Now is the time to be planning and thinking about what formations you plan to utilize this coming season.  Don’t be the typical youth coach searching for formations and plays in September.

 

Coaches Corner – YDW Offense

Coaches Corner - Youth Double WingIf you are interested in the Gregory Youth Double Wing Offense, we have a great opportunity for you.  On Thursday, 5/21 at 10:00 PM (Eastern) we will host a Coaches Corner webinar where Coach Gregory will be taking questions from webinar attendees concerning his Youth Double Wing Offense.  The webinar is restricted to 23 coaches so don’t get left out of this chance to interact with Coach Gregory directly.  You can register for this FREE webinar by clicking on the link below:

Coaches Corner – Youth Double Wing with Coach Jack Gregory

If you would like to submit a question prior to the webinar, please use the form below and we will be glad to get them to Coach Gregory so that we make sure to get your questions answered.

If you are not familiar with Coach Gregory’s 6-3 Youth Double Wing Offense you can find out more by visiting his Gregory Double Wing website or by visiting Dumcoach.com where Coach Gregory moderates a forum dedicated to both his 6-3 Defense and Youth Double Wing Offense.

Note:  Please don’t register for the webinar unless you are committed to attending. 

Coaches Corner – 6-3 Defense

Jack Gregory 6-3 DefenseFor any youth football coach running the Gregory 6-3 Defense or thinking about it we have a great opportunity for you.  On Thursday, 5/7 at 10:00 PM (Eastern) we will host our first ever Coaches Corner webinar where Coach Gregory will be taking questions from webinar attendees concerning his 6-3 Defense.  The webinar is restricted to 23 coaches so don’t get left out of this chance to interact with Coach Gregory directly.  You can register for this FREE webinar by clicking on the link below:

Coaches Corner – 6-3 Defense with Coach Jack Gregory

If you would like to submit a question prior to the webinar, please use the form below and we will be glad to get them to Coach Gregory so that we make sure to get your questions answered.

If you are not familiar with Coach Gregory’s 6-3 Defense you can find out more by visiting his Gregory Double Wing website or by visiting Dumcoach.com where Coach Gregory moderates a forum dedicated to both his 6-3 Defense and Youth Double Wing Offense.

Note:  Please don’t register for the webinar unless you are committed to attending. 

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