Posts Tagged ‘Running Game’

The 49ers hit Red Zone pay-dirt on Monday Night Football by running the ball in with Frank Gore for their second touchdown of the evening.  The play that they employed from the Steelers’ 5 yard line on 2nd and goal was “F-Counter”.

This play differs from the traditional GT-Counter where the backside Guard and Tackle pull, kick-out and lead – as it features traditional Power-O blocking assignments for the offensive front.  If you’ve watched the 49ers much this year (or Jim Harbaugh’s offense at Stanford) you know that they like to run Power-O.  The advantage of running F-Counter, as opposed to GT-Counter, is two-fold: 1) everyone else on the offense essentially blocks their bread-and-butter play – Power-O and 2) it is a quicker hitting misdirection play then traditional GT-Counter.

Notice the differences in basic assignments for the three run plays:

As you can see, there are a few more moving parts to the GT-Counter scheme.  Not only do both the back-side Guard and Tackle have to pull, but the Fullback must cutoff any penetration coming off of the pullers’ departure.  This adds for a nice element of misdirection, however, it is a difficult scheme to perfect if it is not part of your core philosophy, a-la Joe Gibbs and the Counter Trey.

By simply switching assignments on their go-to play – the Power-O – between the back-side Guard and Fullback, the 49ers get a quicker hitting misdirection play that is relatively cheap for them to practice.

I have also heard Coach Harbaugh refer to this as their “wrap” play, after they used the same scheme for a 17 yard TD run to extend their lead in the 4th quarter, in a hard fought battle, against the New York Giants.

In the 49ers offense, “wrap” may very well be a term that they tag onto their basic Power-O play.  For instance, they may call their base play with a number, i.e. 16-Power.  To run the misdirection play with similar Power-O blocking, they can simply replace power with wrap, i.e. 16-Wrap.  The number tells everyone else that they are blocking 16 (Power) and the “wrap” tells the Fullback and back-side Guard to switch responsibilities.

To view Gore’s 5 yard TD run against the Steelers, click here.

Below is what the 49ers offensive front saw before the snap on Gore’s score.  The Steelers defensive front called for Left Tackle, Adam Snyder, and Left Guard, Mike Iupati, to double team the defensive lineman lined up over Iupati.  Snyder’s job is to drive the defensive lineman down the line as Iupati works through him vertically, ready to come off and block the back-side inside linebacker.  Center, Jonathan Goodwin blocks back on the defensive nose tackle and Right Guard, Alex Boone, pulls with a tight path, looking to kick out the first man showing up off of Staley’s down block.  Fullback, Bruce Miller, delays to allow Boone and quarterback, Alex Smith, to clear before he comes back across the formation and leads through to block the front-side inside linebacker.  Anthony Davis and Vernon Davis cutoff any penetration from the back-side.

This is what the pre-snap assignments look like:

If you watch the play closely, you will notice that neither Iupati nor Miller get to their initial blocking assignment.  In fact, right before the snap the play-side inside linebacker blitzed the (A) gap to Iupati’s right.

Often, with younger offensive linemen, this is problematic to the double team.  If the inside man on the double team fails to anticipate an A-gap stunt or blitz, and stays on his double team, the play will undoubtedly be blown up in the backfield.

However, through film study and practice repetition, Iupati knew to have his eyes up and to be alert for “front-side run through”.  He was able to easily ignore the double team and execute a down block on the blitzing linebacker.  Snyder and Iupati were most likely very aware of this possibility (based on the above factors) and probably had some kind of communication in place to inform Snyder that he would have to secure the down block on Iupati’s man without help from Iupati.

Fullback, Bruce Miller, may have had a call echoed to him by the offensive line to alert him to the switch.  It is more likely, however, that he executed his block based on visual cues and stimulus response conditioning.  That is: he was ready for either scenario – like Iupati and Snyder – after numerous repetitions on the practice field (along with film study) working on turning up and blocking the first wrong color from the inside-out.

Notice the assignment change for Iupati and Miller as they recognize front-side run through:

Seeing how this play has paid dividends more then a couple times (click here to view Kendall Hunter’s run against the Giants), I would look for it again when the 49ers get into the red zone … or more so when teams are selling out at the point of attack to stop their bread-and-butter play, the Power-O.

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A brief but succinct analysis by Matt Barrows of National Football Post on the ‘spot’ concept used in the NFL

– Previously, I had put together an article on similar concepts here.  Unfortunately, some of the video I had added to illustrate these concepts  has since been removed due to copyright issues – and I’ve been too lazy to edit the older post.  Instead, I offer you this: a very comprehensive piece surrounding these concepts and their relationship to vertical, horizontal and triangle stretch reads from Chris Brown at smartfootball.com.

– I could always just send you to Brophy’s excellent website, Cripes! Get back to fundamentals… and tell you that everything you find there is gold.  I have his site bookmarked on my toolbar, and literally, as I look at the titles of his 20 or so most recent posts, every single one of them begs to be delved into and broken down, piece by piece, to uncover some incredibly valuable nuggets of football coaching information.  He writes about all facets of the game, but I have been especially interested in his offerings centered on Noel Mazzone’s (former NFL WR/offensive coordinator and most recently ASU’s offensive coordinator) melding of pro style passing with college style spread and run game, college and pro adaptations of inside zone and stretch in the run game, and his overall access to some great coaching cutups and clinic films presented for your leisure, or in-depth study.  Try these on for starters:

Back to the future: Sliding with Noel Mazzone

Why Noel Mazzone: Dennis Erickson and the one-back spread offense

Mazzone Revisited

Airraid Wrinkle (Part II) & Airraid Adaptation (cntd)

Alex Gibbs: Stretch/Run Game Developments (part 1) (This post features nearly 5 hours of clinic discussion – between Gibbs and former Florida Gator Offensive Coordinator, now Mississippi State Head Coach, Dan Mullen, and former Florida Gator Offensive Line Coach, now Temple Head Coach, Steve Addazio – on the inside and outside zone game implemented at the NFL level.)

Alex Gibbs: Stretch/Run Game Developments (part 2) (Continues with nearly 4 more hours of discussion of Gibbs’ system and how to adapt it to the college game with shotgun and reads.)

Rod Dobbs: Teaching & Installing Zone Runs

Attack Nodes: Running From the Gun

– Lastly (for now), I have been gathering information recently on all things relevant to running a high school football program.  I came across a great website titled Cheifpigskin: Football Video Haven.  This is a great site for coaches looking to grow as there are TONS of great videos concerning all areas of high school football development including overall program development, practice scheduling, O/D drills, in-depth documentaries, and more.  And it’s all FREE (most of it, anyway).  They even offer you a free downloadable eBook titled, Playbook for Manhood,  for joining their mailing list.  I have only perused it briefly, but it looks like it will be helpful in providing some real world examples in the effort to lead some of those uncertain youngsters – whom we often come across in the coaching profession – in the right direction; toward becoming a real man.  From a description on the website, the book’s author, Frank DiCocco, “The Playbook for Manhood addresses an important problem in our society today: the breakdown in the positive developmental process of our world’s young men.”

 

An excellent football coaching website with tons of useful material and information:

Cripes! Get back to fundamentals…

Clink the link below to their latest post  – a collection of legitimate coaching cutups (not the stuff you see on Fox) containing the first quarter of the 2010 BCS National Championship, featuring Cam Newton running Gus Malzahn’s power spread offense, Chip Kelly and the lightning attack spread of Oregon; Nick Fairley, Casey Mathews, and some defense too.

Also featured in the thread:

  • 3 quarters of 2010 Rose Bowl contest between Wisconsin and TCU
  • First half of 2010 regular season match-up between Oregon and Stanford

Synopsis

You will definitely see a lot of down blocking and pulling by the Auburn and Stanford offenses.  Among many perceived differences between these two offenses, you will also find similarities in the execution of the power play as a base run.  Auburn works from a predominate shotgun set while Stanford prefers more traditional under center sets.  Auburn will employ multiple variations using the quarterback both as a misdirection key and a ball carrier.  Stanford likes to shift run strengths to gain a formational advantage, often using a double shift or shift/motion pre-snap movement variance.

Luck under center

Conventional power sets


Newton in the gun

Spread power set

The end-zone clips are great for studying the run game (more on passing game to come).

All the teams featured run some aspect of zone, with Oregon heavy in outside zone/read action; Stanford runs some of their zone packages out of shotgun with a read element as well with Andrew Luck (as does TCU and Dalton); Wisconsin likes to run lead and outside zone with multiple tight-end and fullback sets; both Auburn and TCU will run some fly sweep, quarterback zone reads; Auburn will also run veer with heavy backfield misdirection more than Oregon because of the inside running threat of Cam Newton.

Oregon’s efforts to diversify an admittedly simple scheme were focused on two back sets early – using orbit motion with a third skill player – attempting to create confusion and hesitation with fast split flow action, elements of deception and surprise.

All this focus on offense, lest we forget…

  • Will Muschamp and the Auburn defense added fuel to the fire on an old football cliche: offense scores points but defense wins championships.

  • TCU is head coached by 4-2-5 technician, Gary Patterson, and capitalizes on fast, athletic, and aggressive play.

  • New 49ers defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, while anchoring the same position at Stanford, utilized a heavy four down set and emphasized keeping leverage on the ball and keeping Oregon skill players in front of them.

Enjoy the film and the site!

http://brophyfootball.blogspot.com/2011/05/film-study.html