It has been very rare over my career when running an offense, have we broken the huddle or aligned on the line of scrimmage in the same configuration we executed the play from when not using a quick snap count. The early teachings of the true Tubby Raymond Delaware Wing-T had a tremendous effect on my way of thinking in terms of creating flank advantages, coverage declaration, personnel mismatches, flow deception, and series recognition. I was taught, “if we shift one and they move two, we win…and it we shift two and they move four, we win even more”!
When I first entered the Canadian Football League in 1992 viewing six men in motion, two moving laterally and four attacking the line of scrimmage, it unleashed a flood of new opportunity to assist the quarterback in pre-snap reads and enhanced releases by the receivers and running backs. When I entered the XFL, they allowed for one in lateral motion with another in horizontal motion. It was no mistake that in the 2001 XFL Championship Play-offs, three of the four remaining teams had offensive coordinators that at one time had been OC’s in the CFL (Joe PaoPao in San Francisco, Jim Barker in Los Angeles, and me in Orlando). We knew how to attack the line of scrimmage and create advantages before crossing it with quarterbacks that were tuned in to defensive reactions.
United States high schools, NCAA/NAIA, and the National Football League only allow singular lateral pre-snap motion but so much can be told prior to the snap by using all your skilled players in the shifting of formation and motion. Motion will assist a spread offense in a variety of ways. See how these suggestions can enhance your concepts.
Here are some advantages to think about when motion is employed by the slot(s) and backs:
- Gives the quarterback a pre-snap read determining man or zone concepts
- Improves releases
- May cause the defense to show blitz early
- Improves the “hot” and dump read
- Assists in creating advantageous blocking angles
- Removes defenders from the point of attack
Extended motion by the slots and backfield allows a change in formation and should answer these questions:
- Does it cause man coverage problems?
- Does it assist in flooding a zone?
- Will it make the offensive play more successful?
- Will it improve the performance of the executing player?
- Will it make the job easier?
- Can I take the strong safety away from the point of attack? (POA)
- Can I enlarge the hole at the POA to make blocking easier for myself and my teammates?
- Can I release more easily on pass routes or blocking down field on either an outside or inside release?
- Can I make them show blitz early?
- Can I force the coverage shell to declare early for recognition of the middle of the field open (MOFO) or middle of the field closed (MOFC)? This is important for “sight adjusting” our routes and declaring how many men will be in the box.
Running backs must be cognizant of:
- Does the outside linebacker follow me?
- Does my movement change the defensive front?
- Can I achieve a better “hot” or dump read?
- Is the FS assigned to me creating cover 0?
Provide a motion “name” for each position. A “named” movement will speak specifically to the player you desire to change the strength of formation, balance the formation, create three receivers to a side, or simply to enhance the release or create a diversion.
- H/B-back = Ram/right Lion/left (the suffix ‘STOP’ will extend him outside of the WR and settle)
- A-back = Ray/right Lil/left (the suffix ‘STOP’ will extend him outside of the WR and settle)
- Y-slot or a TE depending on the personnel group = Rip/right Liz/left
- S-left slot or slot in a TE personnel group = Rose/right Load/left
- Z-right wide out = Lex/left (suffix ‘IT’ extends his motion across the mid-line (past the QB) releasing outside the tackle predetermined by the pattern requirement
- X-left wide out = Rex/right (suffix ‘IT’ extends his motion across the mid-line (past the QB) releasing outside the tackle predetermined by the pattern requirement
- The suffix ‘RETURN’ begins you in the called direction and brings you back to assist the QB in a pre-snap read and an easier release
Communication and keeping calls as simple as possible is always a challenge. Over the years, using this type of named approach has proven to be very efficient and as you develop it and cultivate it into your vernacular you will find you can shift formation and use movement to create advantages for your offense.