By Terry Donovan – Kasson Mantorville High School – Offensive Line Coach / Offensive Coordinator and USA Football Master Trainer
The Flexbone triple option can be a high flying, explosive offense able to generate a lot of points, while racking up huge yards in the running game. While some are intrigued with throwing the ball all over the field, there is nothing more beautiful than the precision of a well-executed triple option offense. It is an entire offensive system that when done correctly is a sophisticated and technical offense that can control the clock and cement your team’s identity.
This very versatile offense has many advantages. One great benefit is the fact that you can cancel defensive linemen without blocking them. Rather than a gap scheme, where your guys either base block or double team defensive linemen, the triple option will leave two guys on the defensive front unblocked. This is why the military academies run some variation of the Flexbone. It allows them to compete at a high level without the same athletes that their opponents have. Most high schools are not able to recruit, you play with the kids you have. Think of the flexibility your offense gains by not having to block some defenders.
The Flexbone triple option is a complete offensive system and not just a play. Each different play has multiple options, but the cornerstone of the offense if the inside veer. This is our all-weather concept and we run this until the defense adjusts to take it away. In Figure 1. We shows our inside veer against a 44. This is a defense we see often. We can run it either way but want to run it towards the A gap player, the 1 technique or 2i. The first player on or outside the tackle is the read, and we identify as #1. In this case it is a 5 technique. Our quarterback will give it to the fullback unless the DE can tackle him. If the DE comes down hard and can tackle the FB, the QB will reseat the ball and travel down the line looking to get up field. If the outside linebacker, who is the “pitch” guy or #2 comes at him to tackle him he will pitch to the Z, who starts in motion right before the snap and gets himself in position to receive a parallel pitch.
The rules in Diagram 1. For the offensive line are play side tackle veer inside to inside backer. PSG and Center double or ACE the 2i. The backside guard and tackle will scoop. The Y will block the defender covering the deep part of the field, the cornerback. The X will run a cutoff path, and block whoever crosses his face. And the H will arc and block #3 which would be the free safety.
Diagram 2. Shows the inside veer against a 53, which we see half of the time in our season. The rules for the offensive line are PST and PSG double or “DUECE” the 3 technique. Center will rip past the nose. The backside guard will scoop the nose and tackle will scoop. The Y will block the defender covering the deep part of the field, in this case the near safety. The X will run a cutoff path, and the H will block #3 who will be PS linebacker. OQ gives the ball to FB unless DE can tackle him. If the DE can tackle the FB, QB reseats the ball and goes to get positive yards unless #2 comes for him, then QB pitches to Z, who gets into position to receive the pitch.
Our best changeup to our inside veer is the Midline play. This makes the defense change responsibilities and is a great way for us to get our quarterback the ball. The big difference is now we read the first defender on or outside the guard. In most cases this is a 3 technique. We run this as a double option. The Z now looks as if he is in motion to receive the pitch but wraps up inside to lead block for the QB.
The rules for Midline in Diagram 3. Are for the offensive line, are play side tackle blocks out. PSG veers past the 3 technique. Center doubles with backside guard. The backside tackle will scoop. The Y will block the defender covering the deep part of the field, the cornerback. The X will run a cutoff path, and block whoever crosses his face. The H will load and block the inside backer and the Z will lead up for QB. The Quarterback will give the ball to the FB unless the DT can tackle him, if so the QB will reseat the ball and run up field for positive yards.
These plays are the staples to our tough nose, discipline, and exciting offense. The inside veer is the engine that makes our offense go. The Flexbone Triple Option is an offensive system that can take your offense to great heights. But there needs to be commitment. To be successful your team needs to be a triple option team and not just a team that runs triple option.