Alabama’s TE flat screen packaged with Inside Zone

Throwing quick bubble screens as stand alone plays and attached to run plays is nothing new.  The idea is to get the ball to an player quickly in space with the playside WR(s) blocking the secondary for them.  The play is successful when you have a numbers or leverage advantage because of how a team may be playing your run game.

A new trend in football is rather than a bubble, offenses will use a quick flat route from a TE/H back.  It is a designed quick throw to the flat but the other WRs are not running routes, they are blocking the secondary from the start of the play.  The route is caught behind the line of scrimmage so there is no penalty from pass interference on the WRs for blocking with the ball in the air, and there is no illegal man down field on the OL if they go down field because you are working it as an RPO.

In the clip below I analyze how Alabama ran this concept in the National Championship game against Clemson.


Alabama aligns in a 2×2 set, a quick motion puts OJ Howard into the H back position.  Alabama is showing an “inside zone slice” concept up front.  The OL is doing IZ right, and it looks like OJ Howard is “slicing” back to block the backside DE.  Rather than block the DE, Howard bypasses the DE to run his flat route and turns for the ball immediately.  The 2 play side WRs stalk the Corner and OLB to give Howard space to run after the catch.

The QB is reading the DE end on the play and can choose to give the ball to the RB on the inside zone, or pull it and throw the quick flat.

In this clip Coker feels the end has closed down and pulls the ball to quickly flip it out to Howard in the flat who turns it in to a huge gain.


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