Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How Air Force attacked San Jose State Simply and Effectively

or how Air Force used one flank and three or four plays to keep everybody in the offense and score a ton.

As I have a lot or idle time on my hands, I've decided to analyze some option team's games and get into specifics of the attack. The first was from two weeks ago: Air Force vs San Jose State. Game that Air force eventually blew them out.

Part one defensive structure:

For the sake of this article (and for space) I am going to limit the article to the balanced 2x2 double slot formation whit Air Force was in about 70% of the time. (I do not chart these so that is an estimate.)
The defense set by Greg Robinson, San Jose's defensive coordinator (and proclaimed "defensive guru!") was to stay in his base reduction defense and quarters coverage, putting the reduction into the boundary. ( see fig 1) This essentially placed a six man side to the field and a reduction side side to the boundary. (6 to 5 ratio) Air Force did the right thing running away from the oversight. (In high school with less room this becomes harder into the boundary.

(I believe the biggest mistake was that San Jose out the three to the field further strengthening a side they wouldn't run

Part two Running the triple

Air Force ran the seal scheme into the boundary. (Halfback linebacker to safety.) San Jose state played their end heavy and really squeezed the tackle in order to keep him off the linebacker. Without rotating AF had a hat for a hat inside, thus sealing the box.. (I guess San Jose thought they could run down the option to the short side without hard rotation. They could but only after big chunk plays.) see fig 2.  The quarterback was the man runner in this scheme as he could not be accounted for. It looked like SJ tried to vary the two man coverage combinations but that has no affect on the FB QB combination.

Part three Keeping the ball spread out and putting SJ in binds.

One thing AF does better then the other option teams is change its pitch keys and keep the defense from getting into a dive, QB, rhythm. This also keeps all the backs involved in the offense. So they used the way SJ played to confuse them and get the ball in different backs hands.

Part three A) Getting the HB's and pitch phase involved.

In order to get the halfbacks involved AF ran the exact same veer scheme, arced the HB (SE and HB took care of two on two which had to be soft due to the DB's conflict with covering the deep pass. Remember SJ did not rotate out of this.) They then pitched off the scrape backer and the HB ate up huge yardage. (See fig 3). At this the inside lber in his effort to run over the top of the HB in triple in order to play the QB ran right by him.

Note: I'm not sure if this was triple and pitch off the scrape or double where you pitch off the 5 or the scrape, whoever plays out on QB. With the five squeezing EVERY play they both come out the same.
AF has run both as have I.

Part three B) Getting the ball in the fullback's hands - inside

Because of the numbers SJ gave AF there was no way the LBer could sit inside. Additionally, he was getting multiple looks on the perimeter that made additionally reading inside impossible.  So AF ran the zone dive and gashed them over and over.  The tackle blocked the inside half of the five with the HB climbing through the outside half. Nobody was home. See fig 4

Later in the game the five ran out vs. a flex formation thinking it was crack rocket allowing the tackle to continue inside and get a clean shot on the Lber.

Part three c) Getting the fullback outside. 

Taking advantage of the tackle's hard squeeze, AF went to it's belly game, sealing the five and walling the lber. (see fig 5) With the only two defenders outside the five technique absorbed by the pitch and play pass the inside lber was in a blind.  If he played inside out, the fullback would stay outside and have an open gap. If he played hard over the top of the the linebacker hugged the easy hook by the guard and still had and open game.


AF did run some other stuff, going end over to match numbers to the field, placation pass, and tackles over, but the majority of their yardage was on these four plays. When you run a complete system, every defense has weakness you can exploit. The key is to not out think yourself. Keep it simple, keep all the players involved, put the defense in a bind, AND POUND THE WEAKNESS!!! You don't have to do it a million ways - find it and go!

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