Option Defense & What SHOULD Have Happened

Remember to get your questions in to our Clempzon expert by Midnight Central tonight!

You might have noticed that I didn't write this.  In keeping with the community or "nation" theme, if you write something of this size, there's a good chance I will post it on the front page.

Jargon & Rhetoric

"It's all about assignment football."  "We just have to be disciplined."  "The Defensive players just have to trust one another."  When facing triple option, you've heard these statements 1,000 times but for some it doesn't here goes.

Hopefully this isn't "DUH"!! and POINTLESS writing.

The Simple Breakdown

Offensive Key Players/Terms: 

Triple Option:  There are 3 options (viola)

1. First Option: FB (aka Dive or B-back) This option is generally called "give".  In essence you ride the FB all the way to the line of scrimmage. waiting to see if the DE bites on him.  If DE stays at home you "give" him the ball by pulling your hands out.  He feels your inside arm come off is stomach and clamps down (then has a surprising moment where he finds out whether he was a good boy for Christmas, or if Santa left him nothing in his stocking). Ideally the FB carries on like he's got the ball regardless of whether he gets it or not.

2. Second Option: QB This is generally called "keep" because if the FB is covered and the pitch back is covered he.....KEEPS the ball. Now the the FB has already not received the ball the QB has to determine whether to keep or pitch the ball.  There are a variety of possible reads based on the Defensive formation etc. Usually he's reading the SS/FS or the OLB.  If they come to him, he pitches.  If they leave him a gap or stay at home he runs like a bat get it.

3. Third Option: Pitch, TB, HB, or Wing Back.  Again, you can run triple option out of a billion formations, so the lingo changes from county to county.  We always grew up calling it the "pitch back"  That way no matter what formation you are in, or where the back came from to get in position (outside the QB & toward the sideline)  you know what to call him.  (Literally the pitch back can come from TB HB 2TB or a Wing position, even a motioning WR...confusing huh?  On this option the QB pitches if he is covered or the Defense comes to him.

Defending the Option:

If you sit down to explain triple option to a defense (try explaining it to an offense. it's even worse.) Their eyes usually glaze over somewhere between option 2 and option 3. 

HOWEVER defending the option isn't nearly as hard as it sounds.  There are a variety of ways, of which I will give you a couple short versions.  Then there is the best way, In my opinion which I will explain more.

1. Cover 2 Man - basically the ILB covers the FB/give, the DE tries to cover the QB/keep, and the OLB tries to cover the HB/pitch.  As you can see ther are mismatches aplenty for the Defense...not good.

2. Cover 2 Zone - e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e stays in their zone.  Advantage: corners are sitting in the pitch backs lane, and no lane is really open.  Disadvantages: A. Defense is not aggressive, offense usually gets 3 yards a pop, and the D stays in 3rd and short all day. B. the pesky occasional fake option pass is being loosely covered by a safety.  NOT GOOD

3. Other Formations - Blah Blah Blah EVEN WORSE

4. Cover 1 man - now we are getting some where.  you have an extra man in coverage, so you can switch up whose covering who...this gives you better match ups.  Typically, OLB  on FB.  DE on QB and Saftey or OLB on Pitch.

My Favorite Version of this:

Easy and aggressive... We used this in my high school to defend option...which we saw a few times a year.  The CRASH method. 

5. Variable Cover 1 man.  (you line up cover two and the safety understand that which ever side the option comes to it's their responsibility and the other slides over to be the 1 safety deep.)


DE on QB

Safety on Pitch

Works this way

a. The trick is that everyone stays at home until they are sure an option is coming. 

b. Once they see that look developing the three people I just mentioned (without thinking  or reading) crash their man....i.e. they take a good angle and go destroy them whether they get the football or not. (ILB lights up the FB...DE takes on the OT and then creams the QB whether he pitches or not....the Safety on that side takes an outside angle and Kills the pitch even if the QB keeps.

c. The other Saftey stays BACK...cover a possible fake pass. and help Corners.

d. Everyone else stays at home until they know for sure who has the ball, and then is usually one step behind the other three players and takle whoever actually has the ball.

Disadvantage.  Medium level passes (triple option teams are usually not very good at this though, so you take your lumps)

Advantages: Defense is not thinking AT ALL, Offense pays for using the triple-o on every play. (the big 3 players are going to get tagged EVERY TIME THE RUN IT), and you get to the players before the blocking scheme has much time to develope.  Plus, everyone else on the team is sort of a back up in case you miss the tackle.

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