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Whip em with Waggle

The waggle is a staple in just about every wing-T offense. It is one of… if not the most effective play action pass ever developed.  A down hill play fake, a horizontal play fake and TWO pulling guards.  The Waggle pass can be a nightmare for DBs that also run gaps to fill due to the unconventional formations that the waggle is usually run from.  While you can definitely run the waggle pass from many different formation sets including shotgun and even four wide sets; I feel it is most effective when the QB is under center so you get the hard play fakes with the QB’s back to the defense.

WHEN TO RUN WAGGLE

You want to call the waggle in similar situations you would a boot pass in, or a keep pass in.  When you see that the DE is not checking the QB, then the QB will be able to get the edge on waggle.  Now, because of what the play side guard is doing, all you have to do is wait for the backside to DE to squeeze just a little and you can get the edge with the QB.  Another good time to call the waggle is when the LBs are chasing motion, or the DBs are no longer back pedaling on the snap.

BLOCKING RULES

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  • Backside Tackle – The backside tackle will have hing protection
  • Backside Guard – The backside guard has two rules:  If the B gap is empty, he will pull play side and gain depth to lead block for the QB.  He must hesitate on his pull step to allow the FB to clear.  Once outside the pocket he will settle for the QB to pick up any bombing LBs. If the B gap is full, he also becomes a hinge blocker.
  • Center – The center will have anybody from A to A.  (he may end up doubling withe the PST)
  • Play side Guard – The play side guard will pull to the play side and pin the outside shoulder of the first defender outside the offensive tackle.  This is a position block, meaning he has to position his body on the outside half of the edge defender.  Waiting till this man is squeezing helps him accomplish this
  • Play side Tackle – The play side Tackle will have any man head up to inside of him.  this means a 5 tech does not count.  His primary rule is to take away the inside gap.
  • Motion Back – after going in motion and faking the buck sweep, the motion back will pick up any backside leakage.
  • QB – I count the QB as a blocker because his play fakes will hold defenders.  The QB will open play side faking the dive to the FB, then fake the buck sweep to the motion back, then will boot to the edge gaining about 7 yards depth.

ROUTES

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The routs for the waggle are very easy no matter what the formation.  Simple use a number system that starts from the play side as follows:

  1. As a default, for me this is a vertical route to clear out any defenders.  Tagging comebacks and double moves is effective too! I have waggle with a comeback tag illustrated above (If running to the TE side, the TE will have a corner route.)
  2. This is usually the fullback, but could be a slot if you run it from gun.  After the dive fake tell the FB to find the easiest path to the flats.  He has a 5 yard arrow.
  3. the third receiver from the play side has a 10 yard drag.
  4. This receiver will always have a post
  5. (Optional) you can always tag the motion back on a backside wheel if you feel the defense is not paying attention to him.

QB READS

After completing the play fakes and booting out, the QB will read:

  1. Flat
  2. Deep
  3. Drag
  4. When in doubt…. TOTE IT!

Number 4 is the most important!  If the QB has any doubts, just tell him to run the rock and get what he can.

CLOSING

The waggle has been around a long time!  It can be run from multiple different looks and sets.  In the film below I have tagged a video of traditional waggle and shot gun waggle for your viewing pleasure!  Be sure to subscribe to the email list to get an update when ever you a new article drops! Follow me on twitter here at @TheCoachVogt.

 

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DEFENSIVE IBUPROFEN

“Cover three can solve a lot of headaches.”

With the advent of the spread offense, defense has had to adjust to keep up.  Resulting in changes and adaptations in coverages and defensive fronts and movements.  All this has led to the prevalence of “Palms” and “Match Quarters” coverages.  There is no denying that match coverages have made a huge impact on the defensive football world.  I believe it should be in every DC’s arsenal.  However, people tend to forget about a tried and true coverage that is both simple to teach, and simple to execute.  It relies more on discipline than athletic prowess (yes it helps of course).  This coverage is Cover 3.  For this article we will focus on base cover 3 and its use against spread offenses.  In a future article we will go over “Match 3”.  For now, lets look at some reasons to use cover 3 as your base coverage.

  1. Simple – Cover 3 makes alignment extremely simple since you typically have 1 high safety. It’s a balanced defense for the most part.  The rules are extremely simple, especially for the DB’s
  2. High School Players on Offense – the philosophy for running cover 3 can be reinforced by the players on the opposite side of the ball. Most OC’s will smirk and say, “I’ll just run 4 verts!” when they hear about cover 3.  They forget that very few high school QBs can consistently hit the seams, or that few high school teams understand the spacing.  Or that the QB will typically have to throw under pressure due to numbers in the box…
  3. Numbers – being in cover 3 allows you to put more bodies in the box and force the offense to throw the ball. Most good teams still prioritize running the football, so let’s stop what they want to do!
  4. Impatient OC’s – I’ve only come across one OC that will throw the hitch and stick with it. Eventually they ALL go deep or try to run a double move… that’s when you get your sack, or your pick because they threw under pressure.  Stay the course and be more patient than the OC.

Let’s look at some base alignments vs typical spread sets before we get into the rules for cover 3:

2×2

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Spread tends to be the easiest offense to line up on in most situations.  2×2 is by far the easiest to deal with as far as alignment is concerned.  Your Corners and Free Safety will be 8-10 yards deep and the corners will have inside leverage.  Remember, the most difficult balls to throw are high and outside. Inside leverage is just enough to encourage the WR to stay outside on a deep ball while still playing in “confined” space.  The FS will align directly over the ball when in the middle of the field and over the B gap when on the hashes.

Your OLBS/SS will align head up to an inside shade on the slots.  You can play with their depth; I typically like them about 3-4 yards off.  Most slots are off the ball anyways and can’t be jammed.

3×1

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For 3×1 sets you have a couple options based on being in 2 high or 1 high.  For now, lets focus on being in 1 high.  Your Corners and FS will align the same way. Your SS and OLB will stay on their respective sides.  The SS/OLB to the 3wr side will align apexed between 2 and 3 but will back up to 6-8 yards deep.  (will cover rules later).  If you got a corner that can lock up in man coverage, feel free to bring the other OLB/SS over to the 3wr side, but you will have to slide backer’s vs motion if you do this…

20p

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Against 20p I like to keep 7 in the box.  The alignments for the FS/Corners will not change.  The SS/OLB alignments depends on the following.  To the 2wr side, he uses his 2×2 rules.  The OLB/SS to the 1wr side will align 6 yards deep over the center in the middle of the field or to the field side when on the hashes. if your using an odd front.  If you’re in an even front, have him follow the H around to take away the powerO.

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You can treat it like 2×2 on one side and 3×1 on the other… or you can take a guy out of the box.  If the QB can tote it…. do the first thing I said.

RULES

Corners – DON’T GET BEAT DEEP!  That’s the number one rule.  Nothing gets behind the corner. He is responsible for the deep third of the field.  They play deep and rally to the ball once it is thrown. They don’t leave the deep third till the ball is in the air. If number 1 runs a hitch, then his eyes go to QB as he continues to sink to take away the corner/out by number 2.

Free Safety – Deep third and back pedal on the snap.  Eyes will be on the QB and can drift with the QBs eyes.  We are looking for and deep route across the middle.  Break on the ball once it is in the air.  It helps if the FS is an instinctive guy with some ability to run.

OLB/SS – against 2×2 they will have eyes on the OT to read run or pass.  If pass is read, they will collision anything vertical or inside and then drop to curl. The collision is important to reroute the WR and screw up the spacing.  If 2 goes out they will widen and drop to curl. If number 1 tries to cross face or run a slant, the OLB should clean his clock.  This area of the field where OLBs and slots play are the most under officiated parts of the field… do be afraid to get physical.  After a collision if a back crosses their face while dropping, they will widen.  Break on ball once it is thrown

Against 3×1, they will align back at 6-8 yards.  On the snap they will drop with number 2.  They will jump any flat route/hitch.  If you’re in an even front… hithes by number 3 can be an issue.  Motion back to 2×2 he goes back to 2×2 rules.  Motion to 3×1, he backs up.  If you are facing a team that effectively and correctly runs RPO’s, you will need to get into some man or some Match 3.  I will have an article on Match 3 in the future.

WEAKNESSES

Deep Outs/Comebacks by #1 – these are tough routes.  They force the corner to bail then the receiver is breaking outside.  It’s the toughest route to cover in football.  However, it is also the toughest route to complete.  If you have an offense that can consistently complete this ball, the coverage really doesn’t matter… it can be a long night if you don’t start bringing pressure or have a corner that can lock down the WR in man.

Post Wheel Combo – this route effectively mitigates spacing issues with 4 verts. Undisciplined corners tend to chase the post route leaving the wheel open. Make sure the corner stays in his third and the FS reads the QBs eyes.  Both post routes are coming to him anyways.  Fortunately, this combination tends to take a while to run, allowing pressure to get there.  “A good pass rush is better than 4 Champ Baileys”.

Smash – This is an issue because the corner rout by 2 keeps your corner deep.  Forcing the OLB/SS to take the hitch.  Train your OLB to read the eyes and widen so he can make a play on this.  Quite often a schooled up OLB/SS can break this up or get a pick.   If drops straight back, the hitch can be an issue, fortunately, most OCs wont sit there and throw the hitch over and over as we discussed earlier.

CLOSING

Obviously, there are a lot of nuances and little things you can do with alignments and techniques.  This is meant just to be guide on the simplicity of cover 3 and to show that it is still a very viable defense to use against spread offenses!  I happened to be lucky enough to be a part of staff that won 3 straight state titles, in those three years we got out of cover 3 only a handful times per season!  So, it is effective when you understand its components and limitations.  Subscribe to the email list to be updated whenever a new article posts!  You can follow me here on twitter at @TheCoachVogt and be sure to check out the STORE for the Ebooks: Installing the Wide Zone and The Speed-T Offense.

Personnel Grouping the Offensive Line

 

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WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

You would be very hard pressed to go a season without several instances where the coaches on staff did not discuss personnel grouping. In fact I’ll go ahead and say that it never happens you will always discuss personnel amongst the staff and where to put individual players.

But what is rarely discussed is personnel grouping on the offensive line, and when you think about it, this should be the first one discussed. One of the great things about coaching OL is that they are left alone all practice and brought over during group or scrimmage and they just get it done.  Typically you have the best kids on the team attitude and personality wise, and they usually want to play so bad they are willing to do anything it takes.  It’s a great spot to coach.  However, it is also the most important and putting the right personnel in the right spots is paramount for the success of the unit.

ATTITUDE > ABILITY > SIZE

An offensive lineman’s success is mostly determined by his attitude. You want a guy who “wants” to get it done. Most OL coaches will agree with me, that we want guys with the right attitude and guys who not only can…but will run.  90% of blocking is getting in the right spot, and getting in the right spot is all about attitude.  Size can definitely help, but is not necessary, the past 3 seasons here at Palm Bay High we have never had a guard or center over 190 pounds, yet we annually lead the 18 team county in rushing.

WHERE TO START & WHAT TO IDENTIFY

I am a huge advocate of “everybody snaps” every offensive lineman takes snaps with the QB before practice and in scrimmage at some point. When you’re in a real game and god forbid your center goes down…you want a starter in there taking snaps! You do not want a wide eyed greenback snapping the ball. Move your vetted player to center and have the backup come in his spot.

From there identify who is interchangeable, meaning which guys can play multiple spots across the front. Obviously your offensive scheme can help or hurt this, but it’s important to know who can line up and play regardless of position.

Next you need to identify who is most suitable for each position. You do that with practice, quizzes on the fly while they are working through drills.  The offensive line needs to think on the fly.  I would suggest that every coach film their practices at least scrimmage to help ID which kids need to go in which spots.

Drills done at tempo are a great way to find out who can respond to pressure and being fatigued. Obviously the use of drills can help determine who is better suited for pass pro, gap/zone blocks and pulling for example.

 

 

IT ALL STARTS UP FRONT

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TACKLES

Tackles for us are best of the unit. We want these two to be our most dominant one on one blockers.  To be able to stretch the edge and pin the edge, usually they have to do this alone, especially in gap schemes.  They are also on an island in pass protections. The tackles set the edge for the offense and need to be personnelled accordingly. The tackle with the best feet will go to the QBs blind side for pass setting purposes.

 

 

CENTERS

Center is where I typically like to put my “smartest” player. The guy you can trust to make sure everyone is right, an extension of you on the field. This guy should be able to ID fronts in at least the aspect of odd or even.

He is the link between the left and right side of the unit and relays communications both directions, and as a bonus if he can reach a shade nose, you will have some good nights on game day.

GUARDS

Of your five starters up front, your guards can be your worst two players. They have help coming to them from either direction. The center or the tackle is usually available for help depending on play call.  Play calls can be made to make sure the guards get the needed help for zone schemes, gap schemes and pass protections.

If you pull your guards, drill pulling to a “spot”. They go to the spot where the defender is going to be, whether that’s a kick out block or a pin/wrap. Any defender worth his salt is going to be in that spot, or again, you will have a pretty good night going that direction.

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

I have heard many coaches make the statement “tight ends are a dying breed” or “tight ends are all but extinct” or something along these lines. These statements could not be further from the truth.  Tight Ends and fullbacks are in everybody’s program! It is up to us as coaches to ID them and get them in the right spots.  Just because everybody goes to the receivers group or the linebackers group on day one, does not mean we have to leave them there.

If you are truly in a position where you are struggling to find a tight end then here is where you can find them.

My favorite spot to get a tight end is to steal from the defense. Take that defensive end who can’t quite make the lineup and he will block his heart out for you for a chance to start. Another place is to look is in the linebackers unit for the same kind of kid. Lastly use a 6th offensive lineman, this works out to your benefit usually, because as an OL coach most of you will value blocking over pass catching ability.  TEs usually come wide open in the play action game, easy lob pass.  On passing downs, simply sub him out or keep him in for protection.

CLOSING

Often times the offensive linemen are forgotten until called upon. Usually the hardest working group on the practice field by any measure. The dictators of how a game will go.  The attention that is given to skills for personnel grouping should also be given to the offensive line, if not more so.  You can view a video that goes along with this article by following this link on my YouTube channel thecoachvogt.

Feel free to leave comments and give feedback. Also follow me on Twitter at @thecoachvogt