Using the Down Concept in the Spread Offense
Getting your best player the ball on the outside of the field is one of the timeless universal principles at all levels of football. There are a million ways to go about getting him the ball there, but all offensive and defensive game plans feature some level of attention to controlling the access to the outside of the formation. Here’s how using the down concept in the spread offense will help you score more points.
Using the Down Concept in the Spread Offense in Youth Football
Many defenses will attempt to stop this by putting one of their best defenders at the Defensive End position. Often this can be a difficult block because the defender is a talented player and is focused on ensuring that the ball doesn’t get outside. This sole focus allows him to rush up field hard which prevents the offense from being able to effectively get the ball outside.
While some coaches and game plans will rely on the offensive lineman to be a superior blocker and make the play, we believe that any time the defense takes something away, they open another opportunity for us. When a defensive end is rushing hard up-field and we cannot get him blocked, we use his athletic ability against him by running our Down Play.
The Down Play is a staple of offenses at all levels because of it’s ability to exploit a strong defensive end rushing up-field. On our Down play we are going to leave the Defensive End alone and have our PST and Tight End block down and be responsible for their inside gap. Then we pull our Play-side Guard and have him kickout the Defensive End that is rushing up field. Because the Defensive End is rushing so hard up field, this becomes a very easy block for the Play-side Guard. The rest of the line runs our Inside Zone concept to ensure they get the Nose Tackle and Backside Guard sealed off.
In the Backfield there are a variety of different ways to run concept, but it should be tied to your ability to get the ball outside. We are a very big Outside Zone team, so when we run our Down play the Running Back will step and make the play look like Outside Zone. Once he takes the handoff he moves his aiming point to the Play-side Tackles Inside Foot and attacks downhill.
Once the offense has run the Down play effectively a couple of times the Defensive End will start to question what is coming. This questioning is normally enough to allow our Tackle and Tight End to effectively block him which opens our Outside Zone play.