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Vertical Passing Game from the Twins Formation

Wheel Route Results in Huge Gains for Offense

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Wheel Route - Twins Formation

Wheel Route - Twins Formation

Sean McCormick

When lining up in the Twins formation (having the split end and the slot receiver to the same side of the field), a well-executed wheel route can frustrate the defense.

Wheel Route Basics

The wheel route - also known as the switch route - is a simple combination pass pattern involving the split end and the slot receiver.

Split End

When the ball is snapped, the split end explodes off the line of scrimmage as if running a short slant route. After slanting five yards, the split end turns up field to run a streak, or vertical, route.

Slot Receiver

The slot receiver will turn outside as if running a five-yard arrow (outside slant) route. He will then round the route, 'wheeling' around the split end's vacated area and running a vertical route down the sideline.

Tight End

Aligned weak side, the tight end will take three steps toward the strong side and then run a vertical route up field.

3-Step/5-Step Quarterback Drop

This play can be part of the offense's three-step and five-step passing game. Much of it depends on how the defense is playing the Twins formation.

Blocking Assignments

  • The offensive line can block 'big-on-big' (straight man blocking), or a slide protection call can be made.
  • The fullback is responsible for the defender coming off the weak side area vacated by the tight end.
  • The tailback has strong side outside protection responsibility.

Coaching Focus

  1. The wheel route works best when the defense is in man-to-man coverage.
  2. Consider adding a tailback flat pass, especially if the defense tends to drop into deep zone coverage.
  3. Running the ball out of the Twins formation will provide better passing opportunities.
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