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Plays and Formations

An illustrated guide to basic football plays and formations.

Top 5 Pass Plays
Five essential pass patterns for overall improvement in your passing game. Get more catches, more yards, and more touchdowns by focusing on these plays.

Top 5 Run Plays From the I-Formation
Five run plays out of the I-formation are all you need to generate a successful rushing attack.

Bunch Formation
Getting the ball out of the hands of the quarterback is essential when facing a pressure defense. The Bunch formation provides quick and easy decision-making for the quarterback.

Bunch Formation Trap Play
When defenses are in man coverage against the Bunch formation, offenses can take advantage of that aggressive play by running the football.

Running Out of the Spread Formation
Bend, Bang, or Bounce is a coaching term used to describe the actions of the spread formation running back when reading the zone blocks of the offensive line.

Throwing the Deep Pass from the Spread Run Formation
Lull the defense into recognizing the run play out of the spread formation before unleashing four receivers deep on vertical routes to blow by the surprised secondary.

2x2 Formation
Aligning in the 2x2 shoutgun spread look, and using the slot receiver to clear the back side receiver route can successfully counter the 4-4, Cover 1 scheme.

The Shotgun and The Pistol
Compares the shotgun formation to the pistol formation in football.

Cover 2 Zone
Understand the basics of the cover 2 zone. Includes assignments for safeties, linebackers, and cornerbacks. Also has an image that shows the zones on the field for cover 2.

Midline Option with Slot Motion
When the defense begins to load up to take away the outside pitch of the triple option, offensive coaches will turn to the midline section of their playbooks.

Zone Read Play
The primary running play of the spread offense hinges on the quarterback's decision-making ability when running the zone read play.

Quarterback Trap
With an athletic quarterback leading the spread offense, the addition of a quarterback trap will add to the confusion for defenses.

Nickel Defense
Explains what the nickel defense is, when it is used, and what the advantages and disadvantages are.

Cover 3 Zone
Description of the cover 3 defense, including strengths, weaknesses, and assignments.

Triple Option
Motioning the slot receiver to run the Triple Option after a defense has adjusted to the Zone Read adds another problem for the defense to solve.

Sucker Play
Linebackers and defensive linemen at all levels are taught by coaches a pulling guard will lead them to the football. That is why offensive coaches install the 'sucker' play.

Double Wing Wedge
The Cougar defensive alignment is a successful answer to the double wing wedge play. Stopping the wedge play is important in creating problems for the double wing offense.

Toss Sweep
The I-Formation toss sweep is a basic staple in many offenses. But how does it work?

Fullback Trap-Fake Pass
Keep the defensive secondary from focusing on run support.

Play-Action Pass
Using the play-action pass creates deception and leads to a stronger run game.

Isolation Play
It is important for an offense to establish a powerful inside rushing attack. A well-executed Iso play causes problems for football defenses.

West Coast Offense
About Football offers a brief introduction explaining the objectives and basics of the West Coast Offense.

Wildcat Offense/Formation
About Football explains the Wildcat Offense.

Hook Route
The high percentage All-Hooks route is an easy-to-install play for any football team.

Fullback Trap
Use the fullback trap to stop defenses from anticipating the play.

Spread Smash Route
Facing an outside linebacker with quality pass coverage ability does not mean scrapping the smash route. Instead, add a third receiver into the mix.

3-4 Defense: Strong Stunt Blitz
A strong side twist blitz can be effective in stopping the rush as well as the pass. The strength of the five-man rushing package, however, is dependent on the secondary's ability to disguise coverages.

33 Stack
Disrupt the slip screen with this zone blitz.

Will he pass or will he throw? The quarterback bootleg keeps defenses from keying on the counter sweep.

Sprint Strong Pass Play
The Sprint Strong five-step drop back is a great offensive play, no matter the down and distance.

Run the misdirection reverse handoff to confuse aggressive defenses.

Wide Receiver Screen
The quick-hitting slip screen pass (wide receiver screen) is a great counter to defenses that line their corners up off the line of scrimmage..

Throwing the Football Out of the Maryland-I
Surprise the defense at the goal line with a play-action pass.

Sprint Weak Pass Play
Force the defensive secondary to cover horizontally and vertically, opening windows for the quarterback to complete the deep ball.

Naked Bootleg
The naked bootleg play allows several pass and run possibilities involving the slot and wide receivers, the tight end, and the quarterback.

Double Wedge Formation - Installing the Middle Kickoff Return
To pump up a team's kickoff return yardage, turn to the easy-to-install double wedge middle return.

Counter Sweep
Add a little deception and misdirection, and the power sweep becomes the counter sweep.

Stack-I Backfield Provides Goal Line Punch
the Stack-I formation creates an offensive advantage when in short-yardage or goal-line situations.

Wheel Route
Throw the deep ball by running the wheel route out of the Twins formation against man-to-man coverage.

Eagle Defense
Shifting to the eagle defensive alignment is a successful way for defenses to respond to a two-back power set.

Same Offensive Play from Multiple Formations
Offenses can run the same plays from different formations with simple, minor adjustments.

Goal Line Defense Using 'Base' Personnel
Are you saddled with a small roster? That does not mean your goal line defense has to suffer.

Stopping the Wide Side Field Goal Rush
An unbalanced line on the field goal unit can solve the problem can counter a speedy corner rush man.

Linebacker Shift Creates Advantage for Defense
Shifting from the base 4-4 defense to a 4-3 alignment is an effective way to keep offenses off balance.

Zone Blocking Scheme for Punt Protection
Provide your punter adequate protection with the zone blocking concept.

Disguising the Eight-man Front to Confuse the Offense
Using a tough-tackling cornerback in a run support role can add confusion to the quarterback's initial read. The pre-read shows a seven-man box, but quickly becomes an eight-man defensive front at the snap of the ball.

Defending the Bunch Formation
With the offense in a bunch formation, making the 'Raider' call to put your defense in position to neutralize these spread football plays.

Zone Blitz out of the Cover 2
Proper timing by the the cornerback and safety while taking away the 'hot' receiver routes is key in making the zone blitz work.

Dime Blitz
Blitzing out of the dime can be an effective way to pressure the quarterback.

Screen Pass
A timely screen pass can slow down the defensive line's charge.

Double Pinch Stunt with Mike Blitz
Want to confuse the opposing offensive lines? Add the double-pinch stunt and blitz the middle linebacker from the Eagle defensive scheme and create some big-play opportunities for the defense.

Corner Blitz from Eagle Alignment
The corner blitz gives the defense an additional player for run support, and it creates a seven-man pressure situation for the play-action pass.

Brick Wall Punt Return
The Brick Wall, when implemented properly, will result in giving your offense great field position.

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