Fast Screen Options off of the Zone Run Game

Fast Screen Options off of the Zone Run Game

It’s important to have different options when running or throwing the football. When we are spreading the field I like the idea of having screen plays attached to all our run plays. This will allow us to take advantage of defenses that don’t respect our spread formations. In addition, it will allow us to get our athletes out in space very quickly. The ideal behind attaching screens to the run plays is to run the best play possible vs the defense we are seeing. A fasting hitting quick screen is a great way to beat the blitz. Many defenses will send pressure off of the edge when you spread them out- having a quick screen will kill those blitzes. If the defense knows you have a fast hitting perimeter screen game it will force them to respect it and not load up the box.

Fast Screen 

Fast Screen

The first screen attach to the Zone Run is the Fast Screen. This is one of my favorites because it is an easy throw that will allow you to beat blitzing defenses very quickly. You can also compress the Y and Z receiver splits to make an easier throw for your QB. You can give the QB a “fast” call and that will tell him to automatically throw the Fast Screen. This will take the read out of the hands of the QB and allow the OC to make the call.

Offensive Line: Zone blocking to the right.

QB Read: If the defense doesn’t respect the two receiver side (Y & Z) the QB will catch the snap and automatically throw to the Y on the fast screen. If you are getting edge pressure this is a good go-to as well.

Z: Blocks the CB if there is no leverage player or defender playing press man over him. He must always block the nearest threat to the Y.

Y: Turn towards the QB, show him your numbers. He can work back a yard or two which will create an easier throw for the QB and give himself more separation from any defenders. Catch the ball, turn upfield. Always look to work to the outside, away from pursuing inside defenders.

S: Stalk block defender covering him. If he is uncovered, he works to the middle safety.

X: Stalk block the CB.

Bubble Screen (3×1) 

Bubble Screen 3x1

The next screen is the Bubble Screen to the trips side. This is a great option for when the defense doesn’t respect the trips side of the formation. If they are sending edge pressure this is a great go-to. Even if you don’t throw the Bubble often, having the Z run the Bubble every time it will hold some defenders. The success of the Bubble route is based on his ability to horizontally stretch the defense. By doing so he puts the defense’s overhang player in conflict. This means that the receiver’s route must be run full speed in a race to the sideline so the overhang player has to fly out of the box if he is going to defend the bubble.

Offensive Line: Zone blocking to the left.

Q Read: If the defense doesn’t match the trips formations (puts 3 defenders on our 3 receivers) then you throw the Bubble Screen. If they put 2 defenders over the 3 it’s an automatic Bubble throw. If you don’t want your QB to make that read you can just say “Fast” that will tell the QB to automatically throw the Bubble. This takes the read out of your QB’s hands.

Z: Receiver should have his inside foot back so that his outside foot will allow him to take a great leverage/bubble step. You want the Z to work away from the line of scrimmage and stretch horizontally. Once he catches the ball he turns upfield and tries to score!

S: Stalk block defender covering him. He must understand that he must block the closest threat to the Bubble Screen first.

X: Stalk block the cornerback.

See Also: Spread Offense Playbook for Youth Football 

Now Screen (3×1)

Now Screen 3x1

The Now Screen is probably one of the best plays in youth football. It’s an easy throw and it will allow you to get your athlete the football in space very quickly. Many youth football CBs play off coverage so the Now Screen is a must-have. You can have the QB read it pre-snap or you can give him a “fast” call and that will tell him that he is throwing the Now to the Y as soon as he catches the ball. Every other player goes through their blocking progression regardless.

Offensive Line: Zone blocking to the left.

Q Read: Pre-snap, if the CB is playing off coverage the QB will catch the snap, square up and throw to the Y. We need a good throw here- QB needs to plant and release.

Y: Turn, show numbers catch the ball get upfield- MAKE A PLAY.

Z: Run Bubble.

S: Stack block defender.

X: Stalk block defender.

See Also: Using the Jail Screen to Maximize the Bubble Screen 

Push Screen RPO (2×2)

Push Screen 2x2

This is another one of my favorite screens! The Push Screen will allow you to get your athlete the ball in space very quickly. It will also force the defense to adjust to the motion or they will get themselves outnumbered outside. Typically, the defense will do one of two things- 1, they will over adjust to the motion or 2, they won’t adjust at all. The first time you run this the defense probably won’t adjust.  The Push Screen RPO gives your QB two options. This is a pre-snap RPO read which the QB will make a pre-snap decision.

Offensive Line: Zone blocking to the left.

Q Read: This is a pre-snap read- if the defense doesn’t adjust with the motion you will have 3 vs 2 defenders so the QB will automatically throw the screen to the T. If the defense matches the motion play, the QB will run the ball (Zone Left).

Y: Stalk block the defender.

Z: Stack block defender.

S: Stalk or runoff.

X: Stalk or runoff.

Smoke Screen (Trio)

 

Smoke Screen

The Smoke screen is a good play for when defenses aren’t up close on the # 2 receiver (Z). Many times team will press up on #2 (Z) which will take this play away, however, if they aren’t the Smoke Screen hits big. It’s important that your X aligns really wide, taking the CB out of the play. Many teams will run the Smoke Screen to the #1 receiver (widest receiver) but we like to the inside receiver (Z) because it’s a shorter, easier throw. If the defenses isn’t matching your three receivers, then this is money all day long.

Offensive Line: Zone blocking to the left.

Q Read (predetermined call): Catch the ball and throw the smoke screen. We don’t want the QB to actually read this, usually we like to call this from the huddle or from the line (no huddle).

H: Arch and block the defender covering the Z.

Z: Step then come back to the ball. Work to get outside don’t run back into the pursuing defenders.

X: Stalk block the CB. You can also have him outside release and run off if it’s press man coverage.

More Plays: Free Youth Football Plays 

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