In 2010, part of our attack of the D gap involved a stretch play in which we were trying to reach the next adjacent defender. We found the stretch play strung out quite a bit and decided to use pin and pull for our game against an odd front team. Our first use of the scheme in 2010 proved very effective as it allowed us to have some big runs including the game winner in the video below.
The pin and pull sweep package has been a great addition to our offense. With anything we add, we are always looking for how it ties in to the other parts of our offense. First and foremost, there is a carryover in technique from other concepts in our run game. This is especially important when time is so limited and we must be efficient and effective in our teaching. We only have so much time to perfect our techniques, and adding new techniques is not something we are interested in because ultimately it will detract from the effectiveness of our offense. Secondly, if we add something, we expect that it is an effective solution to a problem that the defense presents.
The pin and pull sweep series addressed our concerns about fitting well with what we already do. It provides us a great “D” gap attack and is a simple way to get the ball on the perimeter. In the 2010 season, we added it primarily as a way to attack odd front defenses. As we researched the pin and pull play more in the off-season, we realized that it could be a play that helped us attack teams that were aligning to stop our power play.
The combination of our power play, which has the ability to hit from the A-gap to the C-gap, and the sweep which attacks the D-Gap gives us a great front side attack and highlights the abilities of an undersized but athletic offensive line.
Furthermore, the play fits into our philosophy of being able to run from a multitude of personnel groupings and formations. It has been a run game concept that we have used with the running back, quarterback, or receivers as the ball carrier. It fits our philosophy of having concepts that are very flexible and multiple.
In its most basic form, the objective of the play is to attack the 7 technique defensive end. Again, formations can allow us to run this against an 8 or 9 technique as well. When teams widen alignment to protect the perimeter, then the inside run game becomes a viable option. If the answer is to bring safeties down, then play-action pass becomes a great way to attack.
Our run game has become a combination of gap schemes and zone schemes. The great thing that our offensive line coach Mark Jochum does is find how the techniques of our different runs can be taught in isolation and then applied to distinctly different run schemes. The pin and pull has become another example of this streamlined method of teaching.
The sweep concept is actually neither a zone scheme or gap scheme, but rather a man-blocked perimeter scheme. Though it is distinctly different in how we classify it. The components are part of other things our linemen are taught. The first component is to set a wall in the box with what we refer to as an anchor. The next component is the wall. We use different numbers of players to wall which we designate by different names in how we call the play. Next is the kick out force and the final component is the cut off the back side.
The rules for our playside offensive linemen are simple. If he is uncovered, he pulls. If he is covered, he blocks down. We prefer to pull our center in this scheme as well. From backside guard on, we are looking for cut-off blocks.
We teach the running back to aim for the far leg of the TE and stay behind his pullers.
The pin and pull sweep series has become very diverse for us. We are able to run sweep from a number of different personnel groupings and multiple formations. The following examples give you plenty of ideas for how you can incorporate the pin and pull into your existing offense.For example,
the basic sweep play. On this play, we anchor with the tight end. We do not add a blocker to be the wall. In this example we do it from a two tight end set.
If you operate from a spread set, you can incorporate the play this way.
Motion the wide receiver in to be the wall. He is blocking down on the linebacker and the TE is the anchor.
The wall can also be set by a wing.
Bunch adds two players to the wall.
The quarterback becomes the ball carrier in this personnel grouping in which we use five tight ends with one motioning from directly in front of the quarterback.
We get wide receivers involved in our run game by motioning them across with jet motion. The blocking scheme up front remains the same.
We can also use orbit motion with the receiver to get him the ball on the sweep.
The sweep package is a very effective way to get out on the edge of the defense with force. Unlike the stretch play, the run does not string out. When practiced and executed correctly, the running back will cut into a clean alley and have the potential for a big play.
I’d like to emphasize two important points that I mentioned earlier. When adding any play to your offense, consider the following:
1.Does the play carry over to something you are already doing, especially the techniques of the offensive line? Look to find ways to streamline teaching and work within “same as” situations so that when a technique is being drilled, it has carry over to multiple concepts. You have limited time and there is only so much you can get your players to perfect.
2.Are you adding the scheme to solve a problem, and/or do you already have something in your offense to address and solve that problem? If the answer is “no” you aren’t adding this to solve a problem. Consider what you can drop in order to get the appropriate repetitions of the play and individual drill time for the techniques that go along with it. If the answer is “yes” that you have a solution to the problem already. Now consider picking one of those to remain efficient and effective. To help you choose which play fits best, consider the carry over of technique as a major factor for consideration as to which play to keep.
For more information and detail on this play including blocking variations and individual line techniques consider purchasing the video “Attacking the Perimeter with the Pin & Pull Sweep” https://americanfootballmonthly.secureorderingonline.com/product_details.php?id=1093&site=AFM