As I am preparing for the 2010 season, I have come to the early conclusion that four combinations are a solid foundation to the quick game.
o ALL HITCH
o FADE and OUT
o SKINNY and ARROW
o IN and SEAM
The QB uses a presnap read to determine which side to run the combination. If a QB’s decision making is questionable then one solution would be to run the combination to the wide side of the field. Another solution would be using a freeze cadence to help the QB, sideline coach or pressbox coach see the coverage alignment.
I like this better than SLANTS and ARROWS. The frontside slant is difficult to teach, both to the QB and WR. The drop of the OLB will often determine the timing of the slant. This is hard to replicate in practice. I hate the outside slant, unless used as a “rub” to get the arrow open. The outside WR makes a post cut at the depth of six yards. He only needs to bend it slightly inside to get position on the defender. The inside WR needs to make sure his inside foot is up because his outside foot is the first to move. The first step needs to be diagonal about a forty five degree angle. On his second to third steps, he needs to whip the head to see the ball. He needs to gain depth with the route to five yards. The QBs presnap read should be the OLB’s run support position and coverage ability. The read is skinny to arrow unless the defense causes him to throw hot. If the outside WR gets position early, then a hot throw could go to him, otherwise throw to the arrow.The FADE and OUT combination is a great catch and run combination. When you first introduce this, you may want to stress to the QB that the fade’s purpose is to clear the coverage for the out. You may need to adjust the splits of the inside WR to the QB’s arm strength. The outside WR needs to stem inside before his outside release. I always teach the WRs to stay on the numbers to give yourself room to make the catch. Often times the WRs end up one yard form the sideline and catch the ball…out of bounds! Look for the ball sooner than later, the WRs and QBs always seem to make this throw longer than needed. As with the arrow route, the inside WR’s foot should be up. The first and second steps are upfield with his third step rolling to the sidelines. The WR’s fourth and fifth steps are to gain ground to get to the five yard depth. As he is making his third step, he should turn his head and look for the ball. The QBs presnap read should be the OLB’s run support position and coverage ability. The read is fade to out, unless the defense causes him to throw hot. If the outside WR gets position early, then a hot throw could go to him, otherwise throw to the out.
A newer combination is the IN and SEAM. The outside WR needs to take a plus split (outside of the numbers) to give him proper spacing. The outside WR runs to a depth of five yards and make a square cut to the inside. You must stress to him that out of the break NOT to speed up because a full speed cut to the inside could take him right into coverage. The inside WR needs draw the attention of the OLB. Run AT him not INTO him. The QB’s presnap read needs to be the CBs depth or cushion and coverage ability in addition to the OLB’s run support position and coverage ability. Easy way to teach this is look for the most grass. The combination is similar to FADES and OUTS because the SEAM’S first purpose is to freeze the OLB. The read is look to the seam then in hitch unless the defense causes him to throw hot.
All combinations beat Cover Three and Cover Four which is most commonly seen in high school.
ALL HITCH versus Cover Two: the inside WRs need to find the grass in the short coverage. The outside hitch may be converted to a comeback, easier to complete then a fade conversion. (Right side of FIG. 2)
FADE and OUT versus Cover Two: the outside WRs need to look for the ball after defeating the Cover Two CB. QB can’t throw to the OUT route. (Left side of FIG. 2)
SKINNY and ARROW versus Cover Two: the outside WRs may convert to a post route.
(Left side of FIG. 1)
IN and SEAM versus Cover Two: the inside WRS may convert to corner route.
(Right side of FIG. 1)
First, there is no need to include the RB in the protection. The ball should be out quick enough before any rush gets to the QB, so the first protection rule would be playside tackle slide to DE and rest of the linemen slide weak. QB takes care of unblocked blitzer that he can see.
In the event the playside quick combination is not open then the backside concept of slants and swing can be utilized. Slants on the backside is good. There is no hurry to get open, no need for a quick read by the QB. The WR run the routes and find open grass. This concept will be new for 2010 and was inspired by Dan Gonzalez’s book www.amazon.com/Concept-Passing-Teaching-Modern-Game/dp/1606790447/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264767271&sr=8-1. The QB will recognize the combination is covered and redirect to other side of the field.
The inside WR breaks to the inside after one upfield step and find grass over the center in the just outside of QB’s vision. The Outside WR takes two upfeld steps to the outside shoulder of CB then planting to the inside while gaining depth. Where the WR settles depends upon the OLB drop. If the OLB flys to the flats, then the WR will run past him and settle in the hook curl zone. If the OLB stays inside, then the WR then will have a quicker settle. The back will run a swing route. (FIG. 3)