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Preventing Defenses from Flowing to the Football

Sucker Play Surprises Trailing Defensive Linemen


Sucker Play

Sucker Play - Shotgun Spread

Sean McCormick

Following a pulling lineman will lead the defense to the football. Coaches of all levels teach this principle to their linebackers and defensive linemen. That is the reason offensive coaches install the sucker play.

Sucker Play

Instead of handing the ball off to the running back following the trap block, the quarterback will give the ball to the running back that normally blocks the area vacated by the pulling lineman.

Surprise is the Key

This play will only work:

  1. If the trap play has been successful several previous plays.
  2. If the defensive lineman directly over the pulling lineman continues to follow the guard quickly, leaving his gap responsibility.
  3. If the linebackers are quickly following the pulling lineman to the trap play.

Right Time, Right Place

Think of the sucker play as a 'gadget' or 'trick' play, much like a reverse or halfback pass. Timing is everything. Do not go to the play too soon, especially if the trap play is gaining positive yardage. Choosing the right time could result in a quick six points.

Coach'em Up!

  • Install a sucker play pass to compliment the running play.
  • Make certain the running back normally carrying the ball on the trap play carries out his fake.
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