Attacking the back side of Trips with the SNAG Concept

I have recently become enamored by the “Snag” Concept.  Greater detail on the Snag Concept can be found on Brophy’s Blog .

There is both a 2 man and 3 man concept to the Snag play.  I specifically like the 2 man SNAG concept on the backside of our trips and that is what I will discuss in this article.

As I discussed in a recent post I love using trips to put stress on the defense and will attack that 3 WR side until it gets taken away.  It is important to have answer plays that hit on the single WR side to punish the defense for adjusting to your trips by putting 3 defenders out on your 3 WR’s.  Snag is a great play on the back side to take advantage of this.

The Snag concept consists of 2 parts, the “Snag route” by the WR, which is similar to a slant, he is basically trying to run directly behind the next LB and spot up when the LB crosses his face.

The RB runs what I will refer to as a speed swing from the back field.  He takes 3 steps laterally and sprints to the bottom of the numbers, he has to get here as fast as possible to force that weak side Lb to chase him, if he gets to the numbers without the ball he will turn it up the field.

The QB is working that weak side LB and is thinking he will throw the speed swing, unless that WLB sprints and chases it, thus opening the Snag Route right behind him.

This is a great concept against soft 3 and quarters.  It is workable against man to man, but the X must feel the corner trailing him and adjust his route to essentially run into the WLB, giving the RB a pick to get open.

This can be defended by a cover 2 defense in which case I will tell my QB to not work this on the back side.

Some of the plays I have thought of using this Snag Concept on the back side…


QB can work the flood concept on the trips side, or throw the 2 man Snag back side
This is my favorite way to run “Stick”. We run a lot of bubble and other screens so that bubble by Y can really open up  on the stick, OLBs will often FLY out to stop the bubble.  2 Man Snag on the back side of course.
I could see this being a great play for us if we invest the time in to it.  We are essentially getting in this play a concept that can beat anything we will see.  The trips side Smash Concept is our answer vs Cover 2, against a cover 3 or quarters defense we can work the back side Snag with ease.  And finally against man to man we can work the Rub on the Snag, or take our shot deep with H being matched up 1 on 1.
My goal with these concepts is to attack that trips side, but always have that SNAG concept on the back side as one of our answers for when the defense commits to taking that away.

Play Action Pass Protections

After a Facebook Shout Out from Julien , I have decided to break down play action pass protections.

I have used each of these 3 pass protections in the past, all with success.  They are probably the 3 simplest/most common play action protections I have seen used.


The first is… our regular standard pass pro.  Many Air Raid offenses call this play as an 80 series play.  So if say 4 verts is 97 in our offense, this would be 87.  The OL bands just say 90, RB just does a little fake dive, QB sticks it out then drops.  This is the simplest form of play action pass protection we can do because there is nothing new for the OL at all.

We Stay in our regular BOB Pas Pro Rules
The next 2 pass protections can be used for straight drop back off of play action but I have mostly used them with roll out/boot type play action plays.
The first I will show is a full slide play action pass protection.  This was my main play action protection I used last year because we ran a lot of sprint out, so since we were already good at that, I used the same word on my OL’s wristband to tell them which way to slide and block.  RB just fakes across and picks up on the back side.
I use an “L” or “R” word to designate to my OL which way we are sliding on their wristband.
RB we use Flame – Fake Left
                  Fire – Fake Right
The final play action protection I will use is a pretty standard “boot” protection.  I have seen countless teams run this from under center, and the rules remain the same in the spread.  I did not use this last year, but this was our only play action protection in the 4 years I coached in an under center Fly/Pro offense.
It works well because it is very similar schematically to a trap play we already ran, they just couldn’t go down field of course.  To the defense keying OL, it must have looked very similar to our base run play.
Boot Right:
  • RT steps in to B Gap
  • RG steps in to A Gap
  • C steps in to back side A Gap
  • LG pulls to block DE – Kick out or Log depending on DE’s action
  • LT steps in to B Gap
  • RB fakes across and blocks first thing off the edge of LT’s Butt
I would teach this protection as a concept and label it “Boot Rt” or “Boot Lt”

My Play Calling Thought Process

Duece gave a great break down of Paul Johnson’s If/Then thought process when calling offense the triple option…HERE .

It got me thinking about If/Then games within our spread offense and what I use when calling offense.  Now I do not have it broken down into an actual sheet, this is all stuff that has been floating around in my brain, this is actually the first time I will have put these thoughts down in writing so please excuse me if it becomes an incoherent mess.

I believe in having answers for anything a defense may throw at you.  What I like about being in spread, and using no huddle forces the defense into a lot of vanilla looks, or they are at the very least predictable… most teams sit in 1 or 2 different things against us and just stay.  We see very little interplay variability.

We primarily operate from 2×2 and 3×1 formations.  I will refer to our 2×2 formation as Ace for the remainder of this post.

The Box

If we are in Ace, the defense will surely have corners aligned in the area of our outside WRs.  Every team we play will have at least 1 Safety high.  Defenses must put defenders at least somewhat removed from the box in .  That is 5 players that we have removed from the box.

Basic math: 11-5 = 6 Defenders in the box… 5 if they play a 2 high coverage.

As an OL coach I can draw up a multitude of schemes to run against 5 and 6 man boxes.

Keep them out of the box
Next I look at the defenses overhang players… the guy between the team’s CB and their DE.  If they are sound defensively they will likely have this player at least splitting the difference between our OT and slot WR when we are in ACE.  I WANT to run the ball… if this player begins cheating his alignment toward the box in order to play the run, then I will use bubbles or screens outside to out leverage him immediately.  Play action bubble was a staple of my offense last season, it is a great answer for OLB/SS’s who wish to play the run.

 I am a huge believer in using trips.  Being in trips puts a great deal of stress on the defense, some defenses have major adjustments, some have no adjustments… either way you must be ready with the appropriate answer for the defensive reaction.

Using TRIPS is especially important when on the hashes.  HS Hash marks are so wide I feel you almost HAVE to be in trips to the wide side.  Being in Ace on a Hash does not spread the defense out because your slot and SE are so close, the overhang does not have to remove himself from the box.

Remember removing defenders is not just critical for running success, it makes pass protection much easier and more clearly defined.

I look at numbers to the trips side.  How many defenders do they have aligned to the trips side?
If they only have 2 defenders to cover my 3 WR’s then I want to attack that area of the field.  I can do this through a flood concept, any of our screens, and outside runs to that side… I have them outnumbered and that is where I must attack.

If they put 3 defenders over my 3 WR’s, any of the above plays can still work, but I begin looking at the rest of the defense as well.  To put 3 defenders over my 3 WR’s the defense has to do one of 3 things:

Walk a defender out of the box
If they walk an inside backer out of the box to the trips side then I want to run inside.  Think about it… we already have reduced numbers in the box via formation, and they have just removed one of the defenders.

Shift backers to the Trips side
Seeing as removing a backer from the box weakens the inside run ability of the defense, many DC will either flop their overhang player from the weakside, or bump the backers over…  Overhang bumps inside, bumping all backers over until the ILB on the trips side now walks out over the #3 WR.  If a team does this they have covered your 3 WR’s on the trips side, maintained their numbers in the box they began with, but they have opened up possibilities on the backside.  Without an overhang player on the single WR side, that WR has a lot of room to work with, this is where you play your stud WR.  Without an overhang player (and often a soft corner) I can attack the weak flat area with slants, curls, and screens.

A great play when on a Hash is going trips to the wide side, and throwing a play action screen back to the single WR. Play fake gets the defense flowing to the wide side, and being on the hash gives the OT a shorter distance to run to block the corner.  Without an overhang player to the weakside this can really hurt the defense.

Hitting the RB in the weak flat is another great way of exposing no overhang player.  Outside runs (Jet or my favorite, QB sweep) also do the trick.

Bring down the Free Safety
If a team walks their FS down to our trips side… then I want to attack deep.  I can run my backside WR on posts and he has the whole field to work with , since there is no FS.  Most teams will not do this, he may cheat to the trips but few teams I have seen will walk him up to play over one of our 3 WR’s.  The other 2 scenarios are more likely.

For this scenario to take place a defense would have a CB, LB, and FS over your 3 WR’s.  Keep their box numbers and keep their overhang, they can stay sound against many of the plays I have described but they are completely vulnerable deep down the MOF.

That is the thought process I use when calling plays.  I enjoy the chess match component of coaching football more than anything else, and a playcaller must always have the next answer ready.

Last year I went even crazier into this, I would use 4×1, some unbalanced stuff with WRs… all trying to gain numbers advantage somewhere.  I followed the same logic as above.

Of course there are other factors that go in to play calling but these are some general things I examine from the defense when calling plays.

Creating a Team Camp

Last Summer we attended a team camp for Varsity and JV at a High School about 30 minutes away… it cost $75 per kid.  With about 50 or so kids total between our two teams we ended up giving that school over $3,000.

There were only 3 varsity teams competing total and 2 JV teams.  The drills prior to scrimmaging were unorganized and pointless.  The scrimmage sessions themselves were fairly unorganized and there was never a solid schedule set for the day.  They gave us a t shirt, and provided meals each day, but nothing special.

After this past season I moved from JV HC, to Varsity Assistant HC.  We originally planned on going to a college camp in the Summer, but the one we planned on going to conflicted with Summer School here so it wasn’t an option. 

One day I had an idea… why pay someone else for a crappy camp, when I can run one myself.

  • A better quality camp
  • Charge our kids much less
  • Actually turn a profit from the other teams

I brought this idea up to the head coach and he was slightly hesitant at first, I promised that I could handle it all and that we could pull it off and eventually he gave me the green light.

On Monday July 25-Thursday July 28 we are hosting the 1st Annual Battle of the Bay Football Camp at Antioch High School.  We have 5 varsity teams in attendance, and 2 JV teams.  It is a 4 day camp, 4.5 hours per day, everyone gets a shirt, and everyone gets fed 1 meal per day.

I am more excited for this camp than I have ever been for a camp in my coaching career.

Here are the steps to planning a team camp I used, and that others can use in the future to run their own team camps:

1.  Administrative Support
The first thing I did was to speak to the AD about this.  He is a former coach and has been very supportive.  He presented the idea to the principal and they said as long as we handled all of the legal aspects of putting on the camp we had their blessing.  Having an AD and principal who supported this Camp from Day 1 has been beneficial because they helped us in step 2…

2. Secure your facilities
One might think that using your own football stadium for a camp would be pretty easy but our district makes it all difficult.  We have to fill out all kinds of forms, get district approval, and then pay for a custodian.  Our principal went to bat for us and made sure we got the facility use permit approved, and agreed to pay the bill for custodial over time and getting the field lined. 

3. Find Teams!
I knew I had to find teams to attend our camp.  I have built up a lot of contacts in my phone from coaching in this area for so long but I got help from an equipment vendor.  I received a mass email sent to me by an equipment vendor and I looked through all of the emails he had sent it to as well.  They were all coaches in Northern CA.  So I copied all of the email addresses, and sent out a mass email to them asking to come to our first annual camp.  I received a lot of “No Thanks” and “we are already going somewhere else”… But I was able to get 3 teams committed from this email, it was definitely worth the 10 minutes it took.  I called the Head Coach at my Alma mater, and the school I coached at for 4 years… he needed a cheap camp, and I was able to provide that for him.  So I now had 4 schools, plus my own making 5 … which is where my HC and myself decided to cut our camp off for this first year.

We were able to hook these schools by offering them tremendous value for the price.  4 day camp, with t shirts, and food everyday for just $40 per kid (compare that to 40 we paid the year before for the same things).

Next came

Cover Your @SS… Plain and simple.  That was the biggest caveat the principal/AD/District gave us, is that we had to have insurance for the camp since we were bringing in so many outside participants.  This step took a while, simply because I shopped around.  I must have checked out 100 insurance companies… I finally settled on a company based here in Northern CA, Gagliardi Insurance.  They have a football camp package for just under $4 per kid for a week long camp.  The great thing about this company is once we have a policy set up through them, and now that they have my credit card on file, I can add participants on to the policy with just an email and it is active.  We purchased camp insurance for 150 participants, we low balled it at first, but this was just to have proof of insurance to secure our facility and get district approval.  Now that I know the exact number of kids more precisely I just send en email to the insurance agent I dealt with authorizing them to charge another $400 to my card to cover 100 more participants.

5. T Shirts
We told our equipment rep about our camp… told him it would be a great networking opportunity for him, with 4 other programs here, he could talk to head coaches, pass out brochures and attract more business for himself.  He agreed to provide the t shirts for our camp at a discounted rate in exchange for us letting him come and set up a booth at our camp.  We actually have a very cool t shirt design… Battle of the Bay Football Camp… with a Big Pic of the state of CA on it, with a STAR located over the bay area…  I will be sure to post a picture once we have the shirts this week.

I knew I had to find food for roughly 300 people for 4 days… That is a lot of food.
Our team moms have been great at helping out this.  My suggestion is to look for as many donations as possible and buy in bulk.  I found someone to donate 600 hot dogs and buns, one day of camp food was done.  A team mom’s husband works for a restaurant supply company and got us more hot dogs and hamburgers at a severely discounted price.  One of our players mom’s works for a bread company and got us more buns and dinner rolls for free.  And Finally we are going to purchase a ton of pasta and pre made sauce from Costco and 2 coaches wives have agreed to cook it all for the pasta night.

We will end up with 2 days of 2 Hot dogs each for everyone
1 day of hamburgers for everyone
1 day of pasta for everyone

7. Get Volunteers!
We have a crew of team moms and coaches wives helping with all of the food cooking and prep work.  A dad has volunteered to handle barbecuing, and the entire cheerleading team will be there all 4 days of camp to help out with whatever we need.  We have gotten a great deal of support and my goal is for this camp to run without any hitches.

8.  Make the Schedule
The last step, and maybe most important from the football aspect of camp is planning the daily schedule.  This step took a while because with 5 teams , we will always have 4 teams playing at a time, and 1 team out with a bye.  I had to organize the 7 on 7 and scrimmage time so that we all had equal rest periods, played each other equally, and no one got short changed in any one area.  It took me a few hours of messing around with the schedule on excel but eventually I found something I liked.

One thing I really like that I am doing is with the OL/DL.  When everyone else is doing 7 on 7, the OL/DL will be with me on a practice field doing 1 on 1s.  We will have a different challenge type drill each day in which 5 members of each team will compete in events for points representing their school. One event a day, tire flips, obstacle course, farmers walk, tug o war.  At the end of the week I will award a Thick Golden Chain for the winning team.

After the competition, OL and DL will do drive block and pass pro 1 on 1s against each other until the 7 on 7s are done.

The rest of the time will be spent scrimmaging and each day will finish with a goal line challenge period.

I am incredibly excited to get this camp underway and see how it goes.  I will post some pics/videos and my post camp reflection when camp is over.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I apologize for my lack of posts recently, I have been busy working around the clock. 
I graduated in the beginning of June and began the summer portion of my teacher credential program immediately.

I am almost done with this program and have come to develop a love/hate relationship with it.

I hate it because the course schedule  is 4:30-9:30 everyday.  We get one day off per week to work on online homework instead of in class work so I have only been able to go to 1 practice per week the entire summer.  It has been extremely difficult for me to stay away.  in the 6 years I have been coaching this is the first time I have ever had to miss practice and it has been difficult.  Luckily the guys I coach have been extremely understanding and have organized our practice schedule so that we always work Offense on the 1 day a week I can make it to practice (OL is my primary position).

I love it because I have learned so much about teaching, classroom management, and setting effective routines in place to increase efficiency in the classroom.  Many say that the best coaches are the best teachers and vice versa.  I truly believe that everything I am learning about classroom management will help me in coaching.  Simple things having to do with objectives for each practice, and establishing pre, during, and post practice routines will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of each practice.

Missing a good portion of our summer practices has helped me realize how much I love football, coaching, and the kids.  This time of year is often referred to as the “dog days of Summer”.  No one really wants to be there, coaches included, and it is a grind.  I on the other hand now cherish that one practice per week I get; I look forward to it every week and know it will be the best day of the week for me.

Luckily I just have one week left, and then I am back to full time football mode. 

*Side Note*

I am very excited for the end of this month… I made my own football camp and this is our first year hosting it.  I have 4 other teams coming here for a week of full contact action and it should be a lot of fun.  This will also be our first time in full gear against anyone else so it will be our first real test.