Explosive Plays Off Play Action Passes
You see this so many times when you watch fall football. Receivers running wide open by design. It’s happened multiple times today in college football. Explosive plays off play action passes that get started because the play action has created great pass protection. This allows the ball to be pushed down the field.
The announcers are wonder out loud how a player could get that wide open. Well most of the time it is because the offensive coordinator has done a good job mixing the run and pass. When this happens, the play action pass jumps to the top of the OC’s call sheet.
We are not talking about RPO’s either. There are those out there who want to attribute everything to an RPO. It has gotten to the point that everything is written off as an RPO when in fact, that just is not the case.
Today we focus on the explosive plays that come off of play action passes. They are often plays that result in a receiver running wide open in the void created between the hook/curl/flat defenders and the deep coverage.
There Are Two Main Reasons Play Action Passes Often result In Explosive Plays
There are two main reasons why many of these plays end up as explosive play action passes. The obvious one is that the defensive players are put in a conflict of assignment. This creates the void that we just wrote about.
However, the bigger reason, in our opinion, is that it creates time for the quarterback to throw and the receivers to get open. Even when the protection breaks down, as it did several times today, the pass rush lane integrity is lost and the quarterback has even more time to find an open receiver. Some experienced coaches use things like Dash protection to create this additional time.
So as you watch ball this weekend, you are sure to see more explosive plays off of play action passes. Dissect them a little more than just agreeing with the announcer that it had to be a coverage bust. Just maybe it was by design.
Hopefully you have a good library of play action passes in your playbook. FirstDown PlayBook has a complete section devoted to play action passes and protections. They are all broken down by formation just like the play you see below.
FORMATION: 2×2 (GUN) (PISTOL)
COMES OFF OF THIS RUN PLAY: WEAK SIDE ZONE
PROTECTION: 7 MAN PLAY ACTION PROTECTION.
FAKE INSIDE ZONE WEAK.
PLAY: PAP WEAK 844 SWITCH
-DROP: 7 STEP DROP TIMING
-FAKE THE ZONE PLAY TO THE WEAK SIDE THEN BRING YOUR FEET TO THROWING BALANCE.
-X-F-H (ALERT Z)SELL THE OPEN END ZONE RUN FAKE WITH PATIENT BALL HANDLING AND NORMAL RUN EYES.
-THE FAKE IS DESIGNED TO PUT THE HOOK & CURL DEFENDERS IN A CONFLICT OF ASSIGNMENT.
-LOOK FOR THE X AS HE CROSSES INTO THE CURL AND HOOK ZONES.
-DEFENDERS BITE ON THE RUN THROW THE DIG TO THE X.
-THE X IS COVERED LOOK FOR THE F AS HE FOLLOWS WITH DEPTH.
-BOTH ARE COVERED BRING THE BALL DOWN TO THE H.
-PRE-SNAP SAFETY ALIGNMENT IS FAVORABLE THE QB CAN THROW THE Z POST.
Z: POST ROUTE
-BEST RELEASE AND GET VERTICAL QUICKLY.
-AT 12 YARDS NOD OUTSIDE AND THEN BREAK INSIDE.
-INITIAL AIMING POINT IS NEAR UPRIGHT.
-GET INSIDE ACROSS THE FACE OF THE CORNER OR SAFETY TO THAT SIDE.
X: SEAM IN ROUTE
-HARD RELEASE INSIDE IN FRONT OF THE F.
-SELL THE SHALLOW ROUTE FIRST THEN GET INTO THE ROUTE.
-WORK VERTICAL TO 10-12 YARDS BEFORE CROSSING INSIDE.
-STAY ON THE MOVE AND GRAB THE SAFETY IF POSSIBLE.
F: DIG ROUTE
-HARD RELEASE OUTSIDE BEHIND THE X AND THEN GET VERTICAL.
-PUSH TO SELL THE VERTICAL THREAT EARLY.
-SPEED CUT INSIDE AT 15 YARDS 0R ON THE 5TH OUTSIDE STEP.
-STAY ON THE MOVE FLAT AT 15 YARDS ACROSS THE MIDDLE.
-VS MAN COVERAGE WIN WITH SPEED.
-VS ZONE STAY ON THE MOVE BUT THROTTLE IN THE HOLE.
Y: PLAY-ACTION PASS PROTECTION
H: PAP FAKE
-SHUFFLE AND OPEN TO THE QB.
-EXECUTE A RUN FAKE THAT WILL AFFECT THE WEAK SIDE CURL DEFENDER & SAFETIES.
-AFTER THE FAKE PROTECT TO THE FAKE SIDE.
-TRAVEL TO THE STRONG CURL/FLAT AREA AND MAKE BE AVAILABLE LATE FOR THE QB.