Not many formations stress the defense like the Bunch Formation. This formation puts three receivers closely packed together wide. The defense is forced to defend these players in a variety of different way. The Trail Passing Concept out of the Bunch Formation is a great way to get one of your top receivers the ball.
Trail Passing Concept out of the Bunch Formation
The Bunch Formation is designed to use three receivers to stress a single point on the defense. The traditional alignment for the Bunch is to have the point man, or the player on the line of scrimmage, lined up on the numbers. The key here is to stress the defense by expanding the amount of space they have to cover. While there is an advantage of a tight Bunch, by putting the Bunch wide it forces the overhang player to declare if he is going to stop the run or the pass. The further the Bunch moves out the more he is forced to declare his intention. Once the point man has aligned the other two receivers will line up one yard behind him and one yard to either side of him.
Related Content: The Double Post Passing Concept
The point of the Bunch is to align close together so that crossing routes make it difficult for the defense to follow a single defender. This creates natural picks and confusion in the defense when they are trying to determine who will defend each player. Defensive Coordinators solved this problem by switching to a Banjo technique. This technique will have one player outside, one player inside and one player deep. Each defender will then take the receiver that comes to them. This takes away the effectiveness of any crossing routes because the defenders will let the receivers cross and defend whoever shows up on their side.
The solution to the Banjo technique is to exploit the rules of the Banjo technique with the Trail concept. The Banjo technique counts on the offense releasing one receiver in every direction. If all three receivers go the same direction it breaks the defense’s rules.
The Trail Passing Concept out of the Bunch Formation is based around all three receivers breaking inside. The Point man and the outside receiver will be running slants. The point man needs to run a flatter slant than he would traditionally run while the outside receiver will need to run a skinnier slant than he normally does. This creates separation between the two routes and forces two defenders to cover them.
The Trail route from the inside receiver is what makes the concept effective. The inside receiver will take a release like his is running an arrow. This will make it clear to the outside Banjo defender that he will take him. On his third step he will plant and come back along the same path that the two Slants ran (we tell him to take three steps and then split the Slants). The two slants that ran through before will have cleared space for the Trail route. In addition, because he threatened the outside defender’s leverage wide, he will be able to beat him back inside for an easy completion.
The Trail Concept is so effective because it takes advantage of the rules of the defense. By exploiting the assumption that the defense is making, and then breaking that assumption, the offense is able to break the coverage. Not only does this lead to an easy completion, it gets the defensive players questioning their coverage and thinking more.