Pin & Pull and The Run Pass Option

I recently did a Podcast on the Coach and Coordinator Show with Keith Grabowski.  Following great response from PodCast listeners, Keith invited me to do a F.A.S.T. Clinic Podcast (Focused Attack Strategies & Tactics) powered by Coaches Edge Technologies available in February. The topic is our Pin & Pull concept and the Run Pass Option (RPO) off of it. I’ll be sure to post updates as soon as they are available.  The following is an article relevant the clinic, and one I hope will whet your appetite for more.

An age-old concept run in a shotgun spread offense, our Pin & Pull scheme is a knock off of the old “Packer Sweep” and the Wing T “Buck Sweep.”  But instead of just running it to the Left or Right Halfback we call it to our Running Back (B), Quarterback (Q), Flankerback (Z) and Slotback (A).  And when we call it to the Quarterback we incorporate an RPO (Run Pass Option).  This allows us to show defenses multiple play looks with one easy to teach and learn line scheme.  We also incorporate a pre-snap pass option on the backside of all of our Pin & Pull plays.  A single wide receiver on the backside has an option route of a Slant, Hitch, or Fade while multiple backside receivers run Bubble or Smoke Screen. Simple repetitive roles and responsibilities for our offensive players translate into multiple combinations and confusion for the defense.



We incorporate Zone and Man schemes in our offense and have found the Pin & Pull Gap scheme is easiest to teach to our players and they relay it is easiest for them to learn.  Every offensive lineman has the same rule:  If you have a defensive lineman in your backside gap, block him (Pin).  If not, Pull.  For those linemen who are pinning, it does not matter if the defender is on you, in your backside gap or on an adjacent offensive lineman.  We incorporate the same steps, visual targets, and strike points.  If we are running Pin & Pull to the Right, all Pinners will take a Bucket step with their left foot (backside foot).  The visual target is the near pec (or near number), and the strike points are the near shoulder (right hand) and sternum (left hand). This allows us to open our hips to the defender and screen him from his pursuit to the playside.  Pullers will step with their right foot (playside foot).  Playside pullers are looking to get outside.  Backside pullers must eyeball Inside Linebackers for penetration on split reads on their way to the outside.  In teaching our pullers to make contact with linebackers in space, we use the same terms we teach for openfield tackling: Run to, and Buzz.  At the college level, we used to throw inside shoulder to outside leg with a cut and roll technique to see the offensive lineman did not whiff (miss) in space versus an often more athletic second level defender.  At the high school level, we buzz our feet to breakdown in space.  For contact, the visual target is the sternum and the strike points are the pecs.

Unlike most RPOs where the defender being read is left unblocked, we block everyone in our QB Pin & Pull but include the RPO to take advantage of a defender who leaves his coverage responsibility for run support.quads-y-over-rpo We prefer using the Pin & Pull scheme for our RPOs for two reasons: 1) we do not have to tweak the scheme in any way for the RPO and 2) the blocking scheme limits risk of an ineligible man downfield on the pass.  With linemen either blocking on the Line of Scrimmage or Pulling to the outside, the QB has ample time to make the throw with no concern of having a lineman downfield.

We use a variety of 1, 2, and 3 man route concepts with our QB Pin & Pull RPO, but our favorite is our 2-man Fade-Slide out of an unbalanced Y Over formation with a pre-snap option route on the backside.  The option route gives us a pre-snap option if defenses overload to the unbalanced Y Over.  The post snap read starts with the overhang player (Outside Linebacker or Strong Safety).  If he abandons his coverage responsibility for run support, we throw the Slide route to our Slot receiver.  If the Corner squats on the Slide route, we have the ability to throw the Fade.  When the overhang player stays in coverage, the QB runs the ball in the alley.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion of the Pin & Pull and RPO strategy we’ve employed to such success. I encourage you to listen to my interview on  Coach and Coordinator Show, and to bring your linemen to the Coach Alercio OLine Clinic at the Hun School this coming March!

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