MID TRIPLE PART 1: BASE RULES
A lot of coaches have been emailing me about the Mid Triple play over the past few weeks. In this post, we’ll look at the basic rules and principles of Mid Triple. Let me start by saying that this play is a game changer. This is one of the few plays that we run at the high school level that has a chance to go the distance every time. It is a relatively “inexpensive” play from a teaching/time standpoint, and it is a great compliment to Veer. It gives us a “counter” play without the need to pull anyone. Additionally, Mid Triple solves a lot of the problems that we face against an Odd front like scooping the NG/BSLB and the unprotected mesh (open B gap). It is also effective against 8 man fronts and offers us an alternative to LOAD scheme for Veer. It’s the Leatherman tool or Swiss Army knife of the Flexbone offense.
The Mid Triple play is basically a combination of our Midline Double and Inside Veer play. We call it Mid Triple, but most of the time the ball will go to the B-back or the A-back. We start our count from a 2 tech out. If you see a lot of 2i’s that slant both ways, then you can include them in the count as well, but we don’t get a lot of that. By starting the count at the 2 tech out, we are still able to have our B-back as a viable option when we run at the Shade-5 side of an Even front like the 4-2 or 4-3. We count this way, because our PSG will block anything in the playside A gap by rule.
So let's go over the Read key (#1) in different fronts. Against a Odd front, it will be the 4i/4/5 tech DE. Against an Even front (preferably Shade-5 side), it will be the 5 tech DE. If you run it to the 3-5 side of an Even front, it will be the 3 tech. You will need to make some adjustments to run it to that side, because you're now outnumbered.
The next defender outside of the Read key will be #2, the pitch key, which will be the OLB against a 4-2 or 50, or the Stack LB against a 4-3 or 3-3 Stack. We don’t identify a #3 on this play, and you’ll see why when we discuss the A-Back mechanics. The PSWR will block the Near Deep Defender unless we give him a tag to do something else.
Timing is the key to executing this play correctly. Your QB/B-Back Mesh and the path/footwork of your A-Backs are probably the two most important areas for you to rep in practice. Those two areas are the first things that will get you in trouble with this play.
- QB: Mid Double steps. Clear the cylinder. Read #1 for Give/Keep. Read the shoulders of #2 for Pitch. DO NOT ATTACK #2 if he squats or attacks you. If his shoulders are turned in, he has no shot at tackling the pitch. Snap your head and pitch the ball. Our coaching point on this is to sit in the chair on the pitch.
- B-Back: Step with backside foot first. This will allow you to cut on your 3rd step (inside foot) and make it easier to cut to the playside if you get the ball. I also feel it keeps them from drifting too wide or taking Veer mesh steps. If you get the ball, YOU MUST GO PLAYSIDE. Read the PST’s block on the PSLB. Do not dive into the “false” hole backside. All of our OL are blocking defenders that way. If you do not get the ball, YOU MUST GO BACKSIDE. This will help pull defenders, mainly LB’s that way, which will help the play.
- PSA: TWIRL ARC. Go in motion on Ready. Get 2 feet in the ground at the snap. On the 3rd step, push for depth (should look the same as your steps when you’re the pitch man on Veer) and start to pivot your hips/shoulders around towards the sideline. Your 4th step is like a drop step to get everything flipped back towards the sideline. Yank your outside arm to help open your shoulders and hips. Get your eyes up and begin your ARC (fast tempo). Block the flat defenders, whatever shows up there. Be aware of possible stunts pre-snap (3-2 Exchanges, CB on LOS).
- BSA: You are the pitch man. Leave on the “T” in SET (at the snap). Aiming point is thru the hand of the B-Back. Sprint thru the hand to a spot 5 yards behind the PST. You must be in the QB’s vision when he comes off the mesh. Snap your eyes to the QB on the 3rd step, not before. Do not look to turn up with the QB like Veer. If you get the ball, you are trying to beat everyone to the sideline.
If everything works out and ball gets pitched, the entire defense will be standing flat footed, looking inside at the QB/B-back, while the two A-Backs are running full speed towards the sideline.
OL BLOCKING & RULES
The OL blocking is very simple on this play. It’s basically down/back blocking. The OL is blocking down/back and are responsible for their backside gap. The PST is the only exception to the rule. The PST will take best release for the PSLB. The key to the OL blocking is to make it look as much like Scoop blocks as possible. We want to get the defenders moving sideways if we can. The one area where we will tweak the blocking scheme will be with the Center and PSG, depending upon the look. The Center and PSG are attempting to make it look like a scoop, regardless of the front. The whole key to play from an OL standpoint is getting the NG or Shade to read it as a Scoop block. If you can do that, those interior DL won’t be able to tell the difference and you’ll have success with the play.
CENTER/PSG vs 0 NG
Against an Odd front “0” NG, we will utilize a SLICE technique, where the Center will take the backside thigh/hip of the NG and the PSG will take the playside thigh/hip. The Center works on a tight path which is more upfield than sideways. The PSG has to be very aggressive and has to attack out of his stance. The PSG will attack any color that isn’t covered up by the Center.
The NG should step backside with the Center, if the NG is reading the Center. We are trying to make this look exactly like a Scoop block going the other direction. As that NG moves with the Center, it makes an easy block for the PSG to clean up. If the NG is slanting, then the free man will have a chance to move up to the BSLB. We usually tell our PSG that he’s never wrong for attacking the NG and not coming off of it. The key is to get your Center to work thru his track and not chase the NG if he slants playside. I try to teach my inside guys that they have to sell out on this block, like the 3&3 Drill. If nothing is there, they’ll end up in a Bear Crawl, which is fine. This is not a position block. We want to get the NG on roller skates and clear the cylinder.
CENTER/PSG vs SHADED NG
When we run this play to the Shade side, we teach our Center and Guards that it’s exactly like a 0 NG, except now we know he’s slanted into the playside A gap. We will use the same technique and try to make it look like a Scoop block. The Center again has to be disciplined to not chase or try to block towards the Shade. If he does that, the Shade will read it as a double team and will hunker down in the gap, creating a pile. That’s definitely not what we want. The Center has to work on his tight angle and the Shade should flow with him, which makes the PSG’s block much easier.
PART 2: MID TRIPLE vs 50
In Part 2, we’ll look at running Mid Triple against the 50 defense. We’ll discuss theory behind why we run the play, adjustments, defensive stunts and formation adjustments. We’ll also look at video cutups to see some common errors that occur and talk about how to fix them. Please check back or subscribe to the blog by entering your email in the box to the right.