Building Blocks: Pro Gun Spread—Passing Attacks

The smash and vertical passing concepts are formidable additions to our Pro-Gun Spread building block series. Catch up on the other posts for this offensive formation here:

Power Option

Midline Option

Coach Jarrett Troxler provides helpful tips on the quarterback's reads, the blocking scheme, and overall play design in these two critical videos, available now on Glazier Clinics' YouTube channel

The Smash Concept is one of the popular passing concepts to incorporate into your offense. In this video, Coach Jarrett Troxler from Massillon Washington HS (OH) outlines the route concept for the WRs and the read responsibilities of the Quarterback.

4 Verticals vs. 1 High

With a 1 high safety defensive formation, the quarterback's priority is to identify the defensive coverage. With 1 high safety, the options are Man or Cover 3 for the defense. Some indicators for the Quarterback are noticing whether the cornerback is playing tight or loose to the line of scrimmage, and recognizing whether the cornerback is square in his stance or angled to the line of scrimmage. Another indicator is the cornerback using a bail technique prior to the snap of the ball. These three indicators can help the Quarterback determine the coverage quicker. The reads are simple once the quarterback has made that determination. If it's Cover 3, you want to look off the safety to a predetermined side and attack the seams. If it is man coverage, you want to take the best matchup for your Receivers.


4 Verticals vs. 2 High

With Cover 2, the outside Wide Receivers’ responsibility is to run a vertical route to the bottom of the numbers. The inside Wide Receivers will run vertical routes, 1 yard outside of the hash marks. This will force the safeties to defend the inside routes, leaving the outside of the field open for the outside Receivers. The Quarterback must determine what the Safeties are doing pre-snap to identify what route will most likely be open. If the safeties rotate to a 1 high safety look, this signifies a Cover 3 look. In that case, the Quarterback has the option to look for the seam route by the Wide Receiver.


Smash "Trail-Post" Tag

The Smash Trail Post Tag is set up with a standard smash concept on the left side of the field. The inside Wide Receiver executes a corner route at 5-8 yards, while the outside Wide Receiver executes an out-route or a hitch to isolate the cornerback.

The genius of this play is what happens on the opposite side of the field. On the other side, the outside Wide Receiver at the snap will take a hard angle to get in a “trail” position behind the Inside Wide Receiver. The Outside Wide Receiver will trail until the Inside Wide Receiver makes his cut to continue his corner route. At this point, the Outside Wide Receiver breaks and executes a skinny post route to the middle of the field. This small wrinkle combined with the smash concept on the other side of the field puts the defense in a bad position.

The Quarterback’s primary read on this play is the trail post route. If one of the Safeties rotates, then the Trail Wide Receiver knows to transform his route, from a post to a dig to stay in from of the middle third deep safety. If all deep options are covered, the Quarterback has his check-down route in the hitch available for a short gain.


Smash "Skinny" Route Tag

The Smash Skinny Route Tag is set up with a standard smash concept on the right side of the field. The inside Wide Receiver executes a corner route at 5-8 yards, while the outside Wide Receiver executes an out-route or a hitch to isolate the cornerback.

The difference on this route is on the backside and allows you to attack a safety that is overaggressive in attacking the corner route. Smash Skinny Route Tag informs the inside Wide Receiver to the left (H Wide Receiver) that he will execute a double move at the top of his route. He will begin to do the normal corner route; however, he will break back inside to do a skinny post. The goal here is to get the safety to overcommit and leave the middle of the field open for a short pass from the quarterback.

The Quarterback’s primary read on this play is the skinny route. If one of the Safeties rotates, and it becomes a Cover 3 coverage, then the Quarterback can check down to the backside hitch ran by the “X” Outside Wide Receiver for a short gain.

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