Monday, November 23, 2015

Eleven Reasons for Double Options

When I do my consulting I often get the question "Why do you run double options when you can read your way out of all defenses?" So I'll address that here. For the sake of this article we will only include straight double options and not include counter options or fullback pitch speed options.


  1. To get to the perimeter when the defense is dictating you will not. If you read out you are at the mercy of the  defense as to who gets the ball. You are also at the mercy of the defense as to where it is run. If the defense (in this case a reduced front designates a give read every time, it's not a bad play. However, if they can control you inside and, if their defense knows where the ball is going (We're assuming they are well prepared.) This is not a bad play but we need to make the defense defend the full width of the field. In fig 1 below, the ball is getting to the perimeter despite the defense's attempt to keep it inside.This is especially important when you have a speed or blocking leverage advantage at the perimeter and are running to the wide wide side of the field.
  2. To get the ball in a great halfbacks hand. Although theory is the basis of this offense, there are times you just have to get your best players the ball. In the above example, the defense can keep the ball away from a good halfback. In fig. 1 though, the ball is now in that halfback's hand. (we are not counting the rocket here as that is a totally different concept.)
  3. To get the ball in a great quarterbacks hands. Same theory as above, but different runner. Take a 5-2. If it constantly gets the ball out of the quarterback's hands with the outside linebacker, your great runner may spend much of the game watching his pitchman get tracked down. The answer comes in a double option. (see fig.2 run from flex) This is commonly run by Navy to keep the ball in Reynold's hands. A smart move.
  4. To add a blocker when the defense has absorbed all the blockers and outnumbers the offense after the snap. Take a look at fig. 3, where, if the offense was running triple. The end (#1) would take the dive, the scrape linebacker would absorb the halfbacks block, the strong safety would play the pitch and the free safety, reading the halfback's block would be free to play the quarterback. However, by running the double option, shown in fig. 3,you have added an extra blocker (the fullback) and now can account for everybody.
  5. To add and extra blocker to seal the box vs a six man side. This allows you to run into frontal over shifts that, in turn ,lets you dictate the flank. This is important, as a simple triple defensive strategy is to give you a six-man side pre snap and then run to balance up with motion. (Even more prevalent in high school where teams use a six-man side to field and force pure triple teams to the short boundary.) In fig. 4, a six -man side, if you ran the triple, you need to arc the HB to account for numbers on the perimeter. This would allow for the defense to squeeze the DE on the fullback and scrape the linebacker on the quarterback, essentially outnumbering the offense. (You must veer due to the overshifted nose.)Since the double option adds one blocker (the fullback) you can now account for everybody and run to the flank you want to.
  6. To handle the echo stunt when your quarterback can't. I've run this offense for a long time and I can safely say, as much as you practice the "echo" stunt, there will be quarterbacks, days, quarters, seasons, that you have trouble with it. (If you don't believe this break down Georgia Tech's offensive production this year.) Give your quarterback a hand in those situations and block his way out. Fig.5 gives you one simple way to accomplish this. Not only will it save a game but it gives the quarterback confidence knowing he doesn't have to be perfect with the reads as you have the answers he doesn't.
  7. To handle the back-to-back stunt when your quarterback can't. I once had a quarterback that, whether due to poor judgment, slow hands, narrow vision, or my poor coaching, would have trouble at times with the back to back read. Running double (fig.6) takes one read away from him. In essence, you as a coach has read his way out for him
  8. To change option responsibilities. You've heard me preach many times on this site to make defenses change their option responsibilities, tempo of pace to the perimeter, and entry point for the free safety inserting. Double options do that. Never let the defense get into a rhythm: Dive...QB..Pitch. It always them to play as fast as you.
  9. To set up a particular play action pass. Many times the triple doesn't set up the play-action pass we want but the double option can. As an example, the reduced front doesn't usually have a problem with the wheel because the halfback is sealing on the triple, if he arcs the Strong safety will run with him or the Free Safety / corner will combo the post / wheel. However, if you run the double option in fig. 1, you now stress the strong safety with the wheel. To take matters further, if you take a the double option in fig.3 and "switch the receiver, fullback, and halfback assignments you now have a situation where the wheel is running by the strong safety on the run play. When we throw it, there is usually nobody to cover it. (fig. 7)
  10. Force the defense to defend and practice against multiple looks.  I once played against a team that only ran midline tuck to a three technique and the triple to the A-gap player. Needless to say we got very good at defending the triple to the A-gap and the midline tuck to the three. By running multiple options you force the defense to defend multiple looks. That alone takes time away from the triple / midline preparation. They can't defend it as well if they can't pigeon hole you.
  11. Allows you to run out the clock without making reads. Double options are a much safer way to run out the clock late in the game. Loaded options become, basically, quarterback sweeps. One person handles the ball. (Check out Navy videos this year. You get a big dose of zone dive, double option at game's end.)

This are eleven solid reasons to run the double option in your offense. Don't get me wrong, we are a triple option team. Sometimes though I think that is misunderstood. Because your offense comes off the triple, it means exactly that - it COMES OFF the triple. The specific examples do that matter as long as they answer the need. There are many double options that fit all these situations.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy

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