Maryland Unbalanced Set Goes Mostly Unnoticed
The social media gurus used all the buzz words to describe this All 22 Tuesday play. Jet sweep is at the top of the list. Internet guys love jet sweeps. Just look any Sunday or Monday on Twitter and they will show you. This play really intrigued them. It had so many buzz words. “Jet Sweep” “Shuffle” or “Shuttle” Pass (You choose) and of course the adored “option” designation. Here is what you did not hear uttered once. “Unbalanced Set”
At the end of the day an unbalanced set is not even needed to run this play. That is unless you want the defense communicating about everything except about what is about to happen. There is a lot going on here. It is important to understand that the right tackle is eligible. Was this a motion to pitch the ball to the jet sweep runner? Even though the tight end was off the ball, you still had a three man surface over there.
What this eventually turns into is a play that forces the defense to defend all things. The trickery turned out not to be on the jet sweep side at all. (Not even on the eligible tackle side for that matter). The point of attack forces the field side defensive end #90 to defend the option. Not just any option though. This unbalanced set allowed it to be a three way option.
The defensive end was in a bad way. He just saw the jet sweep cross his face going away. Now he sees the QB coming at him. #90 is coached well. He knows the Nickel DB will be there for the pitch. He just needs to take the quarterback. One problem. Who has the shuffle pass? The safety who is filling from 15 yards deep. This is a very well designed play.
So hats off to Maryland head coach, Mike Locksley and his offensive staff. This is well thought out. This unbalanced set can be used if you need a critical first down, but that is not all. There is more meat left on this bone. Much more. There are several options to the short side.
Don’t forget about the ability to throw the ball from a drop back play or a bootleg scheme. When that happens you are going to have to defend multiple other runs and passes off of these. There is also a bubble screen to the field.
So tap on the play drawing above to see the sideline view. Any football coach will see the the strange unbalanced set almost immediately. This is why you always teach your defensive players to understand the rules of the game. This will allow you to get lined up regardless of the unbalanced set. It is also why offensive coaches teach their players that an unbalanced set can make the defense prove they have been coached well.