Today, we are going to continue our run game series by exploring the Dart play

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Dart, is a tackle lead play that is a great compliment to our Air Raid Passing Game.


I say that it is a great compliment to the Air Raid for two reasons. First, we teach the playside tackle to pass set the DE and try to get him up the field.  So, to the DE and the SAM, it kind of looks like a pass play.  This creates a massive gash in the B Gap.  Second, because our tackles play in a 2-point stance and line up off the ball as much as possible, an angle for the backside pull has already been created.  We don’t have to teach a kick step or worry about being light in our stance.  We simply step with our playside foot and run downhill right toward the playside backer.

I also love this play because we get a true double team from our center and our guard. The center’s rule is to always double team the nose to the backside backer.  If you are playing with undersized linemen, a double team is sometimes the only way to create real vertical movement.

I also love this play because you can invert it and run it with your QB.  You don’t have to change a single rule up front, just have your RB fake across the QB and pick up the backside DE.  Here is an example of QB dart to a 3 Technique (Although, vs. a true college front, I would actually teach my QB to check this play opposite and run it to the 1 technique)

QB Dart


I will call Dart against most 5 or 6 man fronts.  I will not run it into a 7 man front.  (If you are seeing a lot of 7 man boxes, that means you have not yet proven to your opponent that you can throw the ball effectively.  Keep chucking it!).  I love it against a 4-2 to the 1 technique.  And, like I said earlier, I will teach my QB to check the play to the 1 technique so we can get a true playside double team.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t run it to the 3 technique, but you have to make sure that your guard can block their tackle 1 on 1.

I am always a bit hesitant to call it against a 3-3 stack, because a DE can slant inside and kill the play.  In this situation I am more apt to call Zone or Counter.


This is a great blocking scheme to use on run/pass option plays because linemen will not get upfield before the ball is delivered.  The danger is that the backside DE is literally unblocked so the QB has to make his decision very quickly or you can invert the call and get the best of both worlds. Here are a few ideas.

Ace Dart Right H Bubble. The QB just reads leverage on the bubble.  If it’s 2 on 2, throw the bubble.  If it’s 3 on 2, run the Dart.

Ace Dart Right RED.  If the QB has 2 on 2 or obvious leverage, throw the slant to the H or the X.  If not, give the Dart.

Check this one out…  Trips Left QB Dart Right Verticals.  Send the RB to pick up the backside DE.  The QB can throw verticals. If he doesn’t like it, tuck the ball and run it behind your lead blocker.  It’s kind of unfair!

Another creative example…Empty Right Z Fly, Qb Dart Right.  Put the Z in fly motion opposite the Dart call.  If the DE chases the pulling tackle, give the ball to the RB around the edge.  If the DE stays home or widens with the motion, the QB pulls the ball and runs the Dart to the right.

You get the idea.  There are a million ways to have fun with this blocking scheme.  Be creative or stay simple.  Either way, you have to have Dart in your offense.


I believe that if you want to be effective throwing the ball, you have to spend the majority of your practice time throwing the ball.  As a result, your running game has to be simple.  That’s what I love about Dart.  It’s a simple blocking scheme that is incredibly versatile.  It doesn’t take much time to learn because everyone, except the backside tackle, is doing something he already knows how to do.  Install it.  You’ll love it!

Thanks again for reading.  Keep Chucking it!