One of the things that can make life really difficult on defenses is if you can effectively throw to the backside of the Trips formation. Most defenses will put an extra defender over to the Trips side and leave the backside to the Cornerback and the Linebacker to defend the single receiver. This can make it difficult for the offense to find easy completions to the Trips side. The easiest way to get back to easy completions is to use the Running Back to create easy completions to the Boundary. Attacking the Backside of the Trips Formation with Read Routes is actually very simple!
Attacking the Backside of the Trips Formation with Read Routes
We are big believers in taking what the defense gives us. When we line up in a Trips formation, if they are going to put extra defenders to the Trips side they are giving us the backside of the formation. We then try to make this as easy for our players as possible so they don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about and drilling these reads and routes. We run two different routes that are entirely based on the position of the backside Cornerback.
The first route we will run is our Look Flare Route. This is the route that we will run if the Cornerback is more than 6 yards from the Line of Scrimmage. Obviously, this can vary with each Cornerback, but we have found that 6 yards is a pretty good general distance to use. On this concept our receiver is going to break right to the heels of the Linebacker on his side of the field.
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Once he gets even with that linebacker he will stop and square up to the Quarterback. Meanwhile the Running Back is going to be running a Flare route where he replaces the heels of the receivers. This gives the Quarterback a simple read, if the Backside Linebacker widens to the Running Back the Quarterback will throw the look route. If the Linebacker stays put and shuts down the Look route the Quarterback will throw the Flare route to the Running Back.
The second route we use if the Cornerback is closer than 6 yards to the Line of Scrimmage. Here we are just to use a classic Cover 2 beater, the Go and the Out. The only major difference here is that the Out is going to come from the back. Again, this gives the Quarterback a really easy read on the Backside. If the Cornerback drops deep with the receiver running the Go, then the Running Back will be 1 on 1 with the Backside Linebacker. If the Cornerback stays on the line, the Quarterback will deliver a hole shot to the Receiver.
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The key to teaching these concepts is to get the Quarterback to see when he has an advantage on the Trips Side and when he has an advantage of the Backside. Normally he will be able to tell this based on the Safeties and their alignment. Once he can determine where he has the advantage, it’s just a matter of making a single read and getting the ball to the receiver.