There are a couple of things in our offense that we love. We love going into the Trips formation to force the defense to make a choice on if they want to use more defenders to combat our backside receiver or the three receivers on the wide side of the field. We also love reading players, especially when it means that our Wide Receivers will not be asked to block for 3-4 seconds. We found that the Colt Route was the perfect way to combine these two by allowing us to run the Inside Zone Read to our Trips side while also reading the backside force defender.
Take Advantage of Backside Force Defenders with the Colt Route
We love being able to run any play out of our formations. We think this forces the defense to honor the threat of our staple plays from all of our different looks. The problem that we were running in to was that we couldn’t effectively run our Inside Zone play towards our three receiver side in the Trips formation. If we tried to we would have no option to account for the D Gap run defender (we read the C Gap defender) and unless our Quarterback was more athletic than the defender they could shut the play down for 3-4 yards.
One obvious solution was to have the Wide Receiver block the Force defender. The only issue here is that the receiver would be blocking a defender who is coming downhill quickly and we would be asking that receiver to sustain the block for a long time. While we work daily with our receivers on blocking, and they do a great job, that is not their strength. In addition to this, when we block in space the chances of a penalty go way up. There is just more space for the ref’s to see a potential holding call.
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The solution that we came up with was to use the Colt Route. This Colt Route was a simple read route where the receiver would turn into the pitch man so we could read the backside force defender (normally the Safety). We were hesitant because it would require a read from the receiver but we were surprised just how quickly our receivers picked it up.
The Colt Route will have the receiver explode vertical for 5 yards to sell a Fade. This helps the receiver to figure out if the Cornerback is going to play him deep or is going to cover any run to the backside. At five yards the receiver will drop his hips and speed to judge the reaction of the Cornerback. If the Cornerback keeps backpedaling it means he is responsible for any deep receiver (which means the Safety or Linebacker is the force defender) so the receiver will turn around and square up to the QB at about 7-8 yards. If the Cornerback reacts to the drop in speed and the run action of the backfield by flying up to make the tackle, then the receiver knows the Cornerback is the force defender. This means that the Cornerback will be coming up to make the tackle so the receiver and will find the space in front of the Safety and present a target for the QB.
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This simple adjustment is a great way to attack the backside of Trips and win the numbers game. If you can read both the backside C and D gap defenders you will be in a position to create huge gains. In addition, the defense will have to combat this by adding more defenders to the backside which will open up your attack to the three receiver side.