Guest Blog: How adding a TE can give you an advantage on the defense by Payton Haynes

Bio and Background on our guest blogger, Payton Haynes:


Luther College (IA) – February 2013 – January 2018

Offensive Coordinator/QB-RB Coach

•     Top 10 rushing offense in the nation 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (Lead Conference 2013-2017)

•     Top 25 in time of possession in the nation 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (Lead nation in 2015)  (Lead Conference 2013-2017)

•     Top 30 in 3rd down conversion in the nation 2014 and 2015


William Penn University (IA)–  July 2011 – February 2013

RB/Slot Coach

•     Conference Champions in 2012

•     Compiled 18-5 record in two seasons, playoff berth in 2012

•     Top 5 rushing offense in the nation 2011 and 2012


Willard High School (MO) - July 2008 – December 2009

QB/RB/WR Coach


Reeds Spring High School (MO) – July 2007 – March 2008

QB/LB Coach 



Adding at TE to Inside Veer



Running inside veer will allow you to always have a numbers advantage on the defense no matter what defense you see in a given week by not having to block two defenders playside.  Normally this involves the first man on or outside the offensive tackle and then the next defender outside or force player. There is a basic count system that most triple option programs use to determine who these defenders are. #1 being the defender on or outside the playside tackle and #2 being the next defender outside or force player.  Adding a TE to a formation can really allow to you put a defense at a disadvantage throughout a game.


What makes a quality TE and how can you find one on your current team?


The answer is much easier than you may think. You do not have to have the prototypical 6’2” 215 machine that can bulldoze a defensive end and also run past a defensive back for a deep touchdown. The best TE can be hidden in the player that you have always been trying to get on the field but did not know how. The undersized, quick offensive lineman that may not be able hold his own against a large defensive tackle is the perfect person to attach to help double team a defensive end or climb to a linebacker. You may also have a player that is a big wide receiver and his feet are not the best to play wide receiver or does not run the crispest routes. He is also a great candidate for a TE position. In the diagrams below I will show you how adding a TE to the playside or backside of the formation can help you perform better on game day.


4-3 Defense – Adding TE to the backside of the formation


Without a TE attached, the defense will be able to stay balanced and force you into what direction they want you to run the play by switching their “A Gap” and “B Gap” defenders. Traditionally you will run inside veer to the “A Gap” defender, which will constantly have your QB make a check to that defender. This can slow down your offense and make your players have to think.

Adding a TE 4-3.PNG

When you add a TE to the backside of your formation it will force the defense to predetermine which side they will be putting their “A Gap” and “B Gap” defenders. This will allow the offense to run the play in the direction that they chose and not make the defense choose for them. This can play a huge advantage for your offense if you want to run to the field or boundary or get the ball into a certain player’s hands.

adding a TE 4-3 cont.PNG


3-4 Defense – Adding TE to the playside of the formation


Adding a TE to the playside of the formation against a 3-4 or an odd front defense can give you an extra blocker to help account for a defender that might be causing an issue when running inside veer. There are two different formations that can give you this advantage depending on if you are trying to help account for a linebacker or secondary defender. It is best to teach your offense both of these formations and switch them up throughout the course of the game to keep the defense guessing.


Double-teaming the playside linebacker

Double-teaming the playside linebacker



TE as a detached blocker: Double-teaming the playside safety

TE as a detached blocker: Double-teaming the playside safety


Final Thoughts :


These few little adjustments when adding a TE to the field can make a large impact to an option style offense. Try adding simple tags for your TE to tell him where to line up and what defender he needs to block in each formation and situation. The more formations you can give a defense when preparing for an option offense, the more time it takes away from knowing their basic assignment keys.  Adding a TE is an easy way to quickly add formations to your playbook. Make sure to focus your attention to these schemes in practice and put your offense in difficult situations to prepare them for when they see it live on game day. You can use a variety of drills to accomplish this from half-line to full team situations. The addition of a TE can make a game changing impact on your season if used to properly.


Payton Haynes

Former Offensive Coordinator

Luther College

Decorah, IA