Bubble Screen Play

Bubble Screen Play in Youth Football

This is our version of the bubble screen play out of a 5-wide spread formation. This football play attacks the perimeter of the defense. This screen play needs to be thrown to the best athlete on your team. The bubble screen play will get your playmakers the ball in space. If the defense rolls their coverage or brings over an extra defender to the motion side you don’t need to have the (RB) go in motion. Just have the (RB) stack block or runoff.  Another option is to send the (RB) in motion and when the defense rolls or shifts to the motion side, throw a quick screen to the (Z) (opposite side of the motion). There are countless ways you can run this bubble screen play in youth football.

The Formation

This play features a 5 receiver formation, which really spreads the defense out horizontally (this play can be executed out of many different formations).  We will have 3 receivers to the right side of the field. The two outside receivers are stacked (Y & Z), with the (RB) inside (outside receiver must be on the line of scrimmage- need 7 players on the LOS). We will have 2 wide receivers to the left (X & S) (outside receiver is on the LOS).  The QB will be alone in the backfield, in the shotgun formation, heels at 5 yards deep.

The Motion

The inside slot receiver (RB) will come in full speed jet motion across the formation. To initiate the motion the QB can either give a verbal command or he can give a visual command, whatever you prefer. The QB must get the ball snapped when the motion player is  passing the far offensive tackle. If the motion is executed at full speed the defender following the motion player will be behind or delayed.  The motion player cannot go or lean forward when going in motion until the ball is snapped. We teach our players to keep their shoulders square to the side lines.

The Bubble Screen Play Route

The inside receiver (S) to the left will run the bubble route.  When running the bubble screen play, make sure your receiver takes his first step outside and into the backfield.  It is vital that the bubble receiver gets depth and gets his head around after no more than two steps.  Once the ball is caught the (S) needs to get up the field and make a play! (S) looks to cut off of the (RB) block. Make sure the receiver knows to catch the first ball, then run. Also, if the receiver drops the ball make sure he understand he needs to fall on it.

The Throw

The QB must give a quick throw to the outside shoulder of the bubble screen receiver. The throw cannot be too high or too low! When executing the bubble screen play we want the ball ideally thrown to the outside shoulder, jersey number level.   The quarterback must catch the snap and get the ball out accurately and quickly.

Blocking 

The outside receiver (X) will block down on the defender covering the slot bubble screen player. It is very important that the outside receiver(X) understands he must block the defender that is the biggest threat to the bubble screen pass.  The motion player (RB)  will block the cornerback that is covering the outside receiver (X).  The difference between getting 3 yards and getting 15 depends on how well your blocking is on the outside. As far as the offensive linemen go, they will secure their inside gap, attacking their blocks.

The bubble screen play can really be an effective play on the youth football level. I implement some kind of bubble screen when I have a real good athlete that I want to get the ball to out in space.

 Crucial Coaching Tips for bubble screen play:

  • Practice throwing the bubble play often. The QB must make a quick and accurate throw. The QB must get the ball out quickly! This play takes some practice. 
  • Practice running the bubble screen route properly with multiple receivers.
  • WRs must know to jump on the ball if it is not completed.
  • Work on stalk blocking and cross blocking in space.
  • Work on motion timing.
  • Center shotgun snap needs to be clean. Right to the QB. This is a fast hitting play. If the center doesn’t execute a perfect snap the timing will be off. It all starts with a good shotgun snap.
  • You can just have all the receivers stalk block. On the youth football level we feel this play is more successful whe the (X) is cracking and the (RB) is kick-out/lead blocking. It asking a lot to have your receivers stalk block in space for more than 2-3 seconds.

(See Also) Bubble & Jail Screen Drills 

(See Also) Crack Screen Play 

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