SPEED OPTIONErick Streelman
If you are a new subscriber, let me fill you in on where we are. For the last month or so we have been in the middle of a series of posts about the spread running game. We have looked at Zone, Dart, and Trap. So, definitely go back and check out those posts if you haven’t read them. I also want to remind you to download the spread running game playbook. Like all playbooks on this site, it is and always will be free.
Today we are going to conclude the series on the running game by looking at Speed Option. Let’s get into it!
WHY I LOVE SPEED OPTION:
The speed option is one of the oldest plays in football, but it has obviously undergone a rebirth and a reinvention with the evolution of spread offenses. It’s one of the greatest plays you can have in your arsenal in high school. Here’s why I love the Speed Option.
- Speed Option puts the ball in the hands of probably my two best athletes. If you did a good job picking your QB, he should be at least a serviceable runner. Remember, at the high school level, he does not have to be very fast. He just needs to be a 5-7 yard threat and be able to make a good decision. If he does, you will either have the QB behind a wall of blockers or you will have the RB on the edge. Either way, you win.
- You have a real numbers advantage. Because you don’t block the playside end (and you really don’t have to block the backside end unless he slants inside) vs. any six man front, you will always be 5 on 5 or 5 on 4. Nevermind the fact that the DE is usually one of the best athletes on the other team. Anytime, you don’t have to block one of their best players, especially at the point of attack, you have a good chance to be successful.
- Speed Option gets the edge quickly. Unlike Stretch, which often results in a vertical cut through the B or C Gap, Speed Option gives you a true threat to get the edge and gain huge yards. The worst case scenario is your RB 1 on 1 with their OLB or SS in the alley. I will take that match up every time.
- Speed Option has very simple blocking rules that apply across a variety of fronts. Remember this is one of the keys to Win With The Pass. If you are going to be successful throwing the ball you have to throw it almost every play in practice. That means that you need simple running plays that work against multiple fronts. That’s why Speed Option is such a great play. The rules are so easy for the linemen.
- Rule #1 – Option the end man on the line of scrimmage.
- Playside tackle is responsible for the playside linebacker. He can combo with the guard if there is a 3 technique.
- Center will combo with the guard to the side of the 1 technique.
- Backside tackle will cut off any B gap threat. If there is no B gap threat, block the contain defender for 2 counts then get up field and find work.
- ***Teach your linemen the concept of the play, then just let them point and talk to each other to establish their combo blocks.
Here are some looks at Speed Option against different fronts:
RUNNING AGAINST A 7 MAN FRONT
Remember, if the defense is going to sit in 7 man box all night long, you have to beat them in the passing game. That’s a gift. Don’t bang your head against the wall trying to run inside against a 7 man box. Chuck it all night!
That being said, this is one of the few plays that I will call consistently against a 7 man box because the numbers make sense.
Because you don’t have to block the playside end and the backside end should not be able to chase down an edge play away from him, you are still 5 on 5. Here are some looks at Speed Option against a 5-2 and a 4-3.
Here is a cut up Speed Option against a 5-2. Our opponent played really wide stand up ends in order to rush the passer. There is no way we could have gotten the edge against such wide techniques if we tried to reach them. But, with Speed Option we got the edge right away! ***Note the block of the playside tackle. He does a great job of getting his head to the outside number of the flowing linebacker.
- Your QB is going to be tempted to run too wide. Reinforce the goal. We want to force the DE to take us as quickly as possible so that we can get our RB on the edge as quickly as possible. Teach him to run downhill. I like to teach to attack the inside shoulder of the contain player. If the DE crashes hard, the QB may pitch after 2 steps. That’s OK! Get the ball to RB and let him work.
- The pitch relationship is key. I like to see 4×1 relationship. The pre snap alignment of the RB is 1×1, so if the QB runs downhill the RB can basically run flat from his initial alignment.
- I don’t really like to pitch the ball once we are downfield. I’ve seen it go wrong too many times. I teach my QB to make his decision at the line of scrimmage and then stick with it.
- The block of the slot receiver is really important. The playside alley defender has the best chance to make the play on the RB. Play around with formations to get the best match up. If you run the Speed to the trips side, the SS will most likely align deeper than 8 yards and you might be be able to get a double team on the OLB with your H and Y.
- Some teams have really good run defenders in the defensive backfield. They play a 5 or 6 man box and the FS or SS is really good at running the alley and making plays in the run game. Here are two home run calls to take advantage of it:
- Ace Sprint Right Y Delay – Show option with your RB and QB, then have your QB step back and hit the Y on a delayed Corner Route.
- Ace Speed Option Right RB Pass – If your RB can throw at all, have him take the pitch and then hit your Y on a delayed corner route. You only have to show it once and you don’t even have to complete it…just the threat will slow down the SS.
We know that this game is not played by X’s and O’s on the chalkboard. My philosophy it to always start with fundamentally good X’s and O’s and then adjust to get the ball to our best players. Good offensive coordinators and play callers always try to create a numbers advantage somewhere and then get their best guys to the place where the numbers advantage exists. That’s what our running game is all about. Make them defend the passing game with at least 5 or 6 guys, and then find your best numbers advantage.
Win With The Pass does not mean that we are going to throw the ball every play. Don’t let the name confuse you. It means that we are going to throw it so much in practice that they have to commit to stopping it. Sometimes our best chance to win on Friday is to feed the ball to our RB all night long. That’s fine! Good play callers take what the defense gives them.
As always, feel free to send me at Erick@winwiththepass.com if you have any questions. Thanks again for reading guys. Keep chucking it!