Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mullen/Meyer Spread Trap Game

Continuing to build off of the Dan Mullen / Urban Meyer Spread Running Game basics is the trap game.  There are three main plays: trap, wrap, and counter.

Play #1:  The Trap

10/11 Trap

The 10/11 Trap is based off of the old fullback trap of the I and wing-t teams, one of their most effective plays.  This play is a quick hitting killer, punching the ball right up the gut of the defense. 

The reason that the trap is so effective out of the Mullen/Meyer spread is because it give the same backfield action as the Zone Read.  The quarterback is still going to read the DE and follow through on his fake to freeze that DE, allowing the OT to be an extra blocker in the play.  The unique twist on the Mullen/Meyer trap is how the PST also does not block the DE, allowing him to get to the second level and block a linebacker/safety. 

When trapping, the player that will be trapped is the 3 technique, or the man outside of the offensive guard. 

10/11 Trap to the 3-tech:
C - Blocks back
PST - Pass set, rip through the inside shoulder of end, to the 2nd level first threat
PSG - Rip through the 3 technique to the Mike 
BSG - Traps the 3-tech
BST - Sifts up to Mike
QB - Step up and make exchange look like zone read, and carry out the fake. Hold the DE.
RB - Step up and at the center's near leg, run downhill and take handoff, reading
trap block.
WR - Block man on with inside zone rules

An adjustment that can be made to make this a quicker hitting play is to cheat the  QB & RB up their alignment slightly.  A great 3rd down play when teams are expecting pass.  

13/14 Trap to the 1-tech:
Defenses have a way of finding tendencies, and teaching their players how to read what is going on with the offense.  A lot of defensive coordinators will let their team know that the offense will trap to the 3 technique only.  Mullen/Meyer answered this problem with extending their trap to the 1 tech side, and trapping out to the 5.  Below is the example, keeping the backfield action the same and adjusting the rules for the linemen.  

13/14 Trap to the 1-tech:
C - Blocks back to the 3-tech
PST - Rip through the inside shoulder of end and down to the playside Mike
PSG – Blocks back to the 1-tech
BSG - Traps the 5-tech
BST - Sifts up to Will
QB - Step up and make exchange look like zone read, and carry out the fake. Hold the DE.
RB - Step up and at the center's far leg, run downhill and take handoff, reading
trap block.
WR - Block man on with inside zone rules

Play #2:  The Wrap

15/16 Wrap

Mullen/Meyer Spread Running game’s goal is to continue to put the defensive in conflict.  The offense specifically is putting the DE, or 5-tech into conflict.  It is tough to play that 5-tech   when you are working against the zone read, holding the edge for the defense, or being asked to rush outside and contain the QB, and all of a sudden the Offensive Tackle over you is influence blocking you out.  Putting that 5-tech in conflict causes major problems and the defense’s worst nightmare: HESITATION.
The play is designated WRAP because the backside tackle "WRAPS" up and through the hole, leading on the linebacker.  

15/16 Wrap:
PST – Influence block the 5-tech
C & PSG - Combo shade(1-tech) to backer
BSG -Base 3-tech
BST - Pull and Wrap to frontside backer
RB -  Cross QB and take ball, read “wrap” tackles block and accelerate through hole
QB - Give ball to RB and follow fake through to backside DE
WR - Block man on with inside zone rules

Play #3:  The Counter

15/16 Counter

Mullen/Meyer’s counter is based off of the old “Nebraska Counter” or “Counter Trey.”  This refers to the offensive line rules, and requires the backside guard and tackle to pull.  The guard is to kick out and the tackle is to lead up.  Mullen/Meyer have taken this principal, and applied it to their spread offense.  The key, is the RB’s ability to take the handoff, plant, and change direction to follow the OT’s lead block.  This is not something that all running back can do, and requires a lot of athletic abilities. 

15/16 Counter:
PST – Down block the 3-tech
PSG - Down block to LB
C-  Block back on shade(1-tech)  
BSG -Pull and trap 5-tech
BST - Pull and Wrap to frontside backer
RB -  Cross QB and take ball, cut and follow “wrap” tackles block and accelerate through hole
QB - Give ball to RB and follow fake through to backside DE
WR - Block man on with inside zone rules

Variations of Counter
With this cut being hard for all running backs to be able to perform, Mullen and Meyer expanded their offense using different formations and two back sets.  Below are some cutups of how they have used these trapping plays at Florida.  Notice in the first play, Florida is in 11 Personnel (1 RB and 1 TE) and motion to 21 Personnel (2 RBs and 1 TE), then running the Counter to the weak side.  

Coming up next.... the Option game out of the Mullen/Meyer Spread!  
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

D-linemen Technique Numbers

Monday, January 3, 2011

14/15 Zone Read

Happy New Year!  I have spent the winter break enjoying a relaxing time with family and friends, and enjoying a TON of college football.  My plan is to break down the running and passing games of certain coaches and colleges for the next few months.  Each team and coach has a unique twist on the offense that they run, providing new wrinkles and adaptations. 

Starting off the new year, I am going to focus on Mississippi State’s drubbing of Michigan (and possible ending of the Rich Rodriguez era).  Mississippi State’s head coach, Dan Mullen, is an Urban Meyer disciple.  Mullen’s career included stops at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida following Meyer, as they both developed their brand of the Spread Offense, which I will entitle the Zone Read Spread

The Zone Read is not a brand new offense, but is one of the trendier offenses in college football.  The majority of the major programs have some type of Zone Read in their playbook, specifically if they run out of Shotgun.  The philosophy behind the Zone Read Spread is to attack the defense every play. Force all of the defenders to cover the entire field, protecting against the run and pass.

The base play for the Zone Read Spread is the 14/15 Zone Read.  This play is very tough to stop when the team has an athletic quarterback and running back tandem.  It is very easy to teach, and provides the quarterback with options running the ball and setting up the Zone Read Option. 

Below is the diagram for the base Zone Read Play vs. a 4-2 defense (or 6 man box) with a 1 High Free Safety. 

14/15 Read
With the inside zone read play being the base play, most of the run plays use the same blocking schemes. Therefore base zone rules are used.

Responsibilities for the Players
PST - Base block the 5-tech
PSG/C - Combo the 3-tech to the mike, the Center can make his reads and scoop directly to the Mike.
BSG - Base on Nose
BST - Has to block the B-Gap defender. He may make a "man" call which will block through the DE to Strong Outside LB.
RB - Aiming point is the outside leg of the PSG, reading the 1st DL passed the Center, always look for the cutback lane.
QB - Open and read backside C-gap defender. If End is blocked give, then carry out Fake.
Receivers: If on frontside of play, blocks as if the play were inside zone.  This means  the WR must block nose to inside number. If on the backside of the play, block as if the QB is keeping the ball. 

QB Read

QBs are taught to read the “5 Technique” which is the defensive end, or the end man on the line of scrimmage (EMOLS).  If the 5 technique squeezes the tackle’s release and chases the running back the quarterback is meshing with, the QB will pull the football and replace the 5 technique.  This is a way of reminding the QB to get downhill.  If the 5 tech does anything else, the QB gives the ball and carries out a downhill run fake to hold the pursuit.  

The QB’s technique is as follows:

1.  As the QB receives the snap, the QB will take a flat step toward the back.  This is called SHORT STEP, FLAT STEP.

2.  The QB  reaches the ball deep into the RB’s basket, snapping his eyes to his read.

3.  The QB rides the RB through while making his read.  If the 5 Technique follows the RB, the QB keeps it and runs with the football.  The rule behind this is “Squeeze and Chase, Pull and Replace”

The key to this place is securing the line of scrimmage with the offensive linemen and the quarterback making the proper read.

Teams that run the Zone Read practice the QB's reads over and over, using the Mesh Drill.  Below is an example of a Mesh Drill.

The Mesh Drill gives the QB an opportunity to receive the snap, read the DE, and work on ball handling with the RB.

I was not able to find cut ups of Florida/Mississippi State Zone Read but the following clip below is Zone Read cutups from the 2008 Oregon v. Oklahoma State Holiday Bowl, only of Zone Read Plays.  Enjoy!

Please do check out for some of the best football coverage on the internet, and a chance to see my picture!  I plan to move into more of the base running plays out of Mullen/Meyer's Zone Read playbook in the upcoming weeks.