Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The key is to key your keys.

"If she didn't want her car ruined, she should've done a better job hiding her keys."

The Pack works on stopping the flexbone:

"It's a multiple challenge," NCSU coach Tom O'Brien said after today's practice. "You have to be disciplined. You have to key your keys, and that's what we started today, emphasizing they have to watch their key and follow their key.

"There a fullback, there's a quarterback and there's a pitch guy. And then there's the throw to the post. You better cover them all."

If you've watched Paul Johnson's Navy teams play, and chances are that you have, then you've seen the flexbone offense that Wofford will be running on Saturday.

About those keys...

Our quarterbacks line up directly behind the center in a balanced stance to give them the ability to run the play either direction. The quarterback must first locate the read key. The read key is the defender responsible for the fullback. He is usually the first defender lined up on or outside the play side tackle. The quarterback after receiving the snap will pivot to 3 or 9 o’clock to establish his mesh with the fullback. If the read key is up field to take the quarterback, the quarterback will give the ball to the fullback. If the read key squeezes down to take the fullback, the quarterback will disconnect from the mesh and locate the pitch key.

The pitch key is usually the first defender lined up outside the read key. Once the quarterback locates the pitch key, he must determine whether the pitch key has the quarterback or the pitch back. If the quarterback decides to keep the ball he will plant off his outside foot and attack downfield. If the quarterback determines to pitch the ball he will execute a basketball pitch to the slot back.

The triple option play described above often looks something like this:

The flexbone emphasizes agility over size, which makes big, hulking offensive linemen--who tend to be hard to come by for schools like Wofford--unnecessary for success. You're able to negate superior size along the defensive line by working laterally rather than attempting to open holes up the middle of the field, and you force defensive players to play assignments that can make them tentative.

Defenses adjust by putting more men in the box and playing more man-to-man, which can put you in a lot of advantageous one-on-one reciever/defensive back situations, thus making life much easier for a quarterback who probably isn't the most strong-armed or accurate. Lull the defense to sleep with run after run, and then hit them with maybe the prettiest play in football: the option pass.

The fullback, the quarterback, the pitch man, the throw to the post. Like TOB says, you'd better cover them all. Lose your keys and you invite disaster.