At the end of the 2009 season, we started aligning in the pistol and bouncing our back to his alignment next to the quarterback right before the snap. We had developed some tendencies with our back set and defenses were checking their pressures based on how we were aligned. The pistol took away that initial tendency.
In the spring of 2010, we implemented all of our run game from the pistol set. We adjusted our footwork to be able to run our zone read with the back starting in his pistol alignment. In addition, we focused on more of a power running game and began implementing tight ends and h-backs into our offense. Our quarterback was more of a pro style quarterback, but we still liked the vision of the defense that the shotgun gave him, and the downhill run game fit our personnel well.
We weren’t pleased with our play action initially. The sell of the run just wasn’t as good from the pistol as it was under center. Furthermore, we felt that in opening and handing it to the running back on our power play, we were forcing him away from his aim point in the “A” gap and not allowing him vision of the guard pulling around.
Video below shows our naked in 2011 without a reverse out from the quarterback. While we are able to get the quarterback to the edge and complete the pass, the defense was able to redirect and put pressure on the quarterback.
In 2011, to remedy this problem, we began reversing out after catching the snap on our power play. The quarterback would work off the mid-line and allow the back to come straight downhill. This put the back on a better course and allowed him to make the adjustments he needed.
Midway through 2011 we started running our naked off of the power look. The reverse out coupled with the pulling guard served us well in getting the defense to flow hard on the run. Video of some of our first uses of “Power Naked” are below. The chase of the defensive end and linebackers now makes the edge much cleaner and alleviates the redirected pressure.
We found that the timing and the tempo of the play-action looked much more like the run. The quarterback’s reverse out served to hide the ball from the defense momentarily. It’s a principle I remember from my early coaching experiences with the wing-t. The whole objective of our backfield mechanics were built around the quarterback turning his back to the defense and hiding the ball and “dealing cards” from within his body frame. With these mechanics and the mesh with the running back, the ball is momentarily hidden from the defense. The chase of the backside end and linebackers was much longer, as well. In many plays the end is in pursuit of the running back who is now across the line of scrimmage while the quarterback has broken contain and is way outside.
In the spring of 2012, we decided to experiment with all of our runs being executed off of the quarterback reversing out after catching the snap. We spent time in each practice practicing the mesh and the naked or naked fake after the hand off. We wanted both to look the same.
Here are examples of all five of our run concepts with the reverse out:
We taught our quarterbacks to have the ball or their empty hand on their hip flexor and to carry their fake or naked vertically two steps after the mesh. The one detail we teach on the naked is for the quarterback to put the ball to his opposite hip flexor to hide it from the defensive end for a split second longer. This was a great coaching point I picked up working Darin Slack’s quarterback camps. Darin’s son Michael, a sophomore quarterback for us, is shown in this set of still shots using this technique.
What we weren’t sure of is how the other runs would time up with a reverse out. After some footwork adjustments with the quarterback and the running back, we found that we were able to reverse out on all of our runs – the power, counter, inside zone, outside zone, and sweep. Furthermore, we could now build our naked series off of any of these runs.
To create a clear language for our line and backs, we needed to be able to designate what run we were faking with our naked. We simply would use the run and direction followed by the word “Naked” (or “Boot” if we were pulling a guard), and the direction. For example, if we wanted to fake Power to the right, the call was Power Right-Naked Left. Off of our split zone we designate a blocker if we are not reading a defensive player. See “A Multiple Run Game with the Zone Scheme here for more details http://www.afmservers.com/share/?p=485 ) It would be F-Zone Rt Split-Naked Left. “Naked and Boot” are a pass concept for us, so our receivers and tight ends understand the route rules tied to it.
Here are some examples of our naked off our different runs.
We found that the reverse out works very well with drop back play-action as well. These run action passes give us up to an eight-man protection and draw up defensive backs and linebackers to open up passing lanes. Once again, we believe the reverse out by the quarterback gives us a much more effective run fake.
The pistol set has served us well over the past three seasons. As our personnel changes, our offense will continue to evolve. However, as with any change, the best practice is to study the changes you want to make, know why you want to make them, and have a plan to implement the changes. Good luck to you this off-season!
NO PIPES AND NO POSTS – PROTECTING THE MIDDLE
by: Mike Kuchar
Senior Writer, American Football Monthly
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by: Michael Parker
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The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Three Step Naked Package
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Effective Play-Action Passing Techniques
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DEFENSIVE END READS IN A FORTY FRONT