Just when you thought your years of learning vocabulary words were over, ChristiSunshine hits you with a brand new list. I won’t be testing you, though. If we lived in a simple world, I’d just tell you that Joe Runningback ran with the ball and gained X amount of yards. If that’s all you’re interested in, then you’re good to go. However, someone (or a few someones) got creative on us and developed a few terms to describe running plays. So here it goes.
The easiest type of carries is called the BLAST or DIVE. This is used on plays when the offense just needs a couple of yards for a first down. The blocking fullback usually leads the way, clearing a path between an offensive guard and a tackle for the ball-carrying halfback, who has received the football in a handoff from the QB.
The COUNTER is a play designed to fool a defense. One back runs right, parallel to the line of scrimmage. The QB fakes a toss to him and turns to hand the football off to the fullback, who wants to sneak through a hole between the center and either guard.
The DRAW is a play that is intended to make the defense think the QB is going to pass the football. The O-Line behaves as if they are pass protecting by drawing back. The QB drops back as if to pass, but hands the football off to the designated runner. The running back must take off quickly to bust through the holes he anticipates at the line of scrimmage. The offense wants the defensive linemen to come for the QB so they can push them aside to make way for the runner.
The OFF-TACKLE is the oldest run on the books. This run is to the strong side, which means that the halfback takes the ball to the side of the field on which his team’s tight end (an extra blocker) lines up. The halfback follows the fullback around the outside of the D-line and the fullback’s job is to block the outside defensive line.
A PITCH is utilized in a two-back formation. The QB will fake a handoff to the halfback as he heads for the line of scrimmage. Then the QB pitches the ball to the fullback as he moves to the outside. The fullback chooses to take the ball to the outside or the inside at this point. This is a versatile play. It can go to the right or to the left.
The REVERSE is a play designed to trick the defense into thinking the ball is headed in one direction when their intention is send it the other way. The QB hands the ball off to the halfback, who is running behind the line of scrimmage, parallel to it. A wide receiver or flanker runs toward the halfback, who then hands off the ball. The O-line blocks as if the halfback were the intended ball carrier in order to draw the defense away from the receiver. The receiver runs the opposite direction of the one the halfback was running. It is important that the defense believe the halfback’s handoff to the receiver is a fake. Also, the weak-side defender must follow the halfback or he has a great shot at tackling the receiver.
The SLANT is just that…a route where the halfback slants to one side or the other, depending on which side of the field he lines up on. The O-line clears the way by pushing defenders away from the running lane.
In a SWEEP, the QB hands the football off to the halfback. At least two offensive linemen will head toward the outside of the line of scrimmage. The halfback follows his blockers around the end of their line. Sometimes the QB may fake a handoff to the fullback before the halfback sweeps to one side in order to draw the defense in the other direction. The other option is to allow the fullback to serve as the leading blocker for the halfback.
The TRAP is a run route that is rarely used these days because most O-lines these days consist of big blocking men rather than quick, agile guys. Much like the draw, the TRAP is used because most D-lines are quick to attack the offense. On this play, one of the guards leaves his usual spot in order to give his defender access to the backfield. The guard from the opposite side is then responsible for blocking this defender. Timing is everything on a trap. The ball carrier must get through his hole quickly.
Last, but not least, is the VEER. More commonly used in college play, the VEER is for teams who have a quick-footed QB and a great ball handler. The ball can be given to either running back, and the D-line dictates the direction of the play–the RB veers the opposite direction of the defense.
I hope that vocabulary list wasn’t too long and painful. Coming soon to a blog near you: the concept that football is a thinking man’s game. It’s good to play like a girl!!!!