It’s football season again. Many youth football programs are in full swing, high schools have already started and college football will kick things off this weekend. For all of you youth and high school football coaches that are trying establish a run game and it’s just not happening or to you coaches that have established a run game but would like to see a little more umph, I have just the thing for you.
The short back offensive package can power up your run game and help you punch the defense in the mouth. It’s a great short yardage & goal line weapon. It can also be used at the end of the game when you have a lead and want to run the clock out. It’s also good coming out of deep in your own territory or as your primary offense if you don’t have the necessary amount of skill players to spread the field and get big plays.
Here’s what the short back formation looks like:
The short back is depicted as the ’4′ back in the illustration above. He’s also know as ‘Z’ when he’s involved in pass plays. This is basically the Power I formation but we are taking the offset back and moving him up right behind the line of scrimmage. The advantage that gives the offense is allowing the back to reach the point of attack sooner and head off penetration by blitzing linebackers. It also hides the back which gives him advantages on certain blocks, runs and pass routes. There is a World of things you can do out of this formation even with as basic as it may look.
Below, I will show you a couple of basic plays you can run to start yourself off in this offensive package.
Most defenses will see this double tight, three back formation and will play you with a 5-3 look to start. If you get a 50 front with tackles playing head up on your tackles then the dive play to the fullback can be a killer. If the other team’s middle linebacker is not a head banger then get your P.A.T. team ready. The reach block by the playside tackle is crucial to keep the running lane open. The center and playside guard, at the very least need to stall the noseguard. If they can get movement on him, all the better. Your short back comes through hole and tries to ruin the MLB’s life. The short back must be a powerful player who likes to block. Playside tightend must work hard inside to try to reach the strong side linebacker (SAM). If the Sam consistently runs away from him and can make the play then we have a remedy for that.
Once you have begun assaulting the middle of your opponent’s defense, their adjustment may be to either (a) slant their tackles into the gap you keep hitting them in or align their tackles in a ’3′ technique which basically means in the B gaps. Your best play to counter this is the 36 lead. Now, your short back, who is in great position in his alignment, can slide down the line and kick out the playside end. He acts as a pulling guard on a ‘G’ block. Remember that SAM backer that keeps chasing down inside? Now we take him where he wants to go with a down block by the tight end. The fullback goes through the six hole and cleans up the garbage or goes and finds the cornerback. He should win this blocking mismatch. The tailback takes an open step, then lead step to the six hole and should hit it hard. Once he passes the first line of defense, he should be gone or getting a massive chunk of yards. If not, make him aware of the start date of the next track and field season.
Now that you have them off balancem the next step for the defense is to either blitz or line up in some type of 6 man or goal line front. Whether it’s a goal line / 6-2 front of they are blitzing, it’s all the same. They are committing 8 men to the line of scrimmage to stop you from pounding them into a flat steak. Now that they are leaning forward, we have to make them fall flat on their face. That’s where the 36 lead pass comes in. Everything looks like the 36 lead. However, now the TE on the playside is releasing on a 10 yard corner route, passing all of those defenders with their eyes in the backfield screaming forward to stop the run play. The short back is now coming down the line and instead of kicking out the END, turns up through hole and releases into the flat. Your fullback makes a hard charge at the line of scrimmage and picks up the end while the tailback picks up any rusher who may appear outside of the DEFENSIVE END. Your quarterback must carry out a solid fake, set up behind the tailback, set his feet and read the corner route back down to the flat route. It is important that your backside TE handle the defensive end from the QB’s blind side. If you are a high school coach with an experienced line, you can consider releasing the backside TE on a crossing route and slide your protection to the left. On the goal line, inside the 5 yard line, this play is going to be open more than 90% of the time.
That is just a handful of many plays that you can use in this offensive package. I will touch on more in a future post and I am also working on a playbook with the entire package of plays. If you would be interested in A Short Back Offense playbook, please send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org