Summer OTAs: Week 2

Continued Focus on Fundamentals

We build on the Man Scheme from Week 1 as we enter the 2nd week of summer OTAs by installing our Dart Plays.  These are they plays I shared when I spoke at the USA Football National Conference in January.  As discussed in Week 1, covering our Man Scheme plays, the Guards block #1 on the Line of Scrimmage (LOS), the Tackles block #2, the Center blocks the Mike and the Back blocks the Sam.

Making the complex seem simple: We have 12 different backfield actions on our Dart Plays (IZ, Counter, Q Counter, Draw, Sprint Draw, etc). To the casual observer, the Dart series of plays looks like one of many unpredictable alternatives, but they are all blocked exactly the same up front and only vary slightly from the Iso, Lead and Draw plays from last week.  On all of our Dart Plays, the backside Tackle pulls to block the Sam.  The pull technique we use is a Lead pull.  On the lead pull, the Tackle runs parallel to the LOS behind the offensive line with his chest angled towards the Sam and shoulders slightly banked towards the LOS so that he does not drift in his turn upfield to the 2nd level.

With the Tackle blocking the Sam, we now need to account for #2 on the backside of the LOS.  We have a number of ways to account for him.  The Back can block #2 on the backside and have the QB run the ball.  We have the Tight End block #2 when we hand the ball to the Back or run to the QB in Empty sets.  We can also not block #2 and account for him with a QB read.

Versus a 3 down front, we do not have to account for #2.  We consider the Nose to be #1 on the playside so the backside Guard blocks the defender on the backside pulling Tackle as his #2.  Anyone outside of that block does not affect the play.

2018-06-21 Dart

2018-06-21 Dart Counter

This series of plays is our most versatile and most successful.  We averaged over 8 yards per run with our Dart Plays during our 2017 championship season. Whether orchestrating an offense or tackling any other problem you encounter, ask yourself, “What would it be like if this were simple?”

In the case of the Dart Series of plays, we gain more than a dozen options built upon the same foundation. The repetitions this foundation affords our linemen reinforce muscle memory and conditions them for success. Hard work on these fundamentals now and this summer will pay off during the season. As you have heard me say before, (and our players and coaches hear daily) “Championships are not won on Saturdays in the fall…”

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!





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