Post #2 in a Series on QB development within a Flexbone Offense: Guest Blog "The Point Method" by Don Watt
Once again, I’m pleased to be presenting a topic for this site. As mentioned in my last article, the teaching of the nuances and nuggets of this offense to coaches, in my opinion, comes in a close second to coaching it to players. I hope you can pull a few thoughts out of this entry, tweak them a bit to suit your players and make them your own as I once did.
In this instillation, we will drill into the “Point Method” mesh that we use in our option game and why we prefer it over other known methods, like the “Ride & Decide”, in executing the first phase of our offense.
In full disclosure, I have written and re-written this article about three different times, each with fancy graphics and images, gussied up drawings and personal accounts from our players to get their take. Finally, when speaking to an old coaching pal of mine and letting him look over the finished product, he slapped me back into reality by saying, “Why are you turning something so simple into something so complicated? Just write it the way you taught me.” His statement spoke volumes and I realized that I needed to set aside all the fluff and present a simple, meat & potatoes product that matches the method.
Some of the more lively chats and debates I’ve heard of in this system over the years have come by way of coaches debating which method (“ride and decide” or “point method”) is THE METHOD or the proper way to conduct business in the first phase. As one may argue that his way is superior due to having less of a propensity to fumble the ball, another may lean toward simplicity; where one may debate that one method is better due to its ability to disguise the mesh to second or third level players, one would say that he doesn’t have to teach the exactness of riding from the back hip to the front and just exactly where that moment of decision is made.
Taking all into consideration we employ the “point method” for two main reasons, SIMPLICITY & TIME.
The simplicity in teaching the method was taught to me as a straight forward, no nonsense way to get into running the play and working with reads instead of spending chunks of time on the specifics of pre-mesh QB positioning. It was a way to jump headlong into the offense quickly, often in mere minutes. It was the simplicity that allowed me to teach new, back-up or “emergency” QB’s how to get where we needed to be (flattening the learning curve) and get into the process of running the play, reading the read and getting rep after meaningful, efficient rep.
Along with the simplicity was a time saving component. I had a hard time griping about needing an extra practice period when I heard my R&D brothers talk about how much time they spend with their QB/B mesh. I simply didn’t have the time to teach an aspiring QB the minutiae of exactly how far back I wanted him to reach, compound that with riding to the point on the front hip and when that ultimate moment of decision needed to be made when we give or keep. With four different QB’s, at varying learning stages, you could have four different interpretations and executions. All of the aforementioned issues had a common theme to me…TIME SAVINGS.
Next, I saw many of my fellow “triple guys” have issues with keeping the ball off the ground. You can call it what you like, maybe I wasn’t taught the “right way” but I had some of the same issues too. I was caught in the mental back and forth of daily ball security circuits while still using a method I thought had a higher chance of not securing the ball. This duality, coupled with the above time issues, had me looking for something else, a way to proverbially “build a better mousetrap” and I found it in the point method.
The following is the way we teach QB’s the technique in the simplest way we know how:
1. Secure the snap:
We tell our QB’s that in executing this portion, we need to “tattoo the laces” of the football on their belly as we begin to turn toward the A-gap.
2. Sprint into the A-gap:
I want the QB’s to get their two feet down as fast as they possibly can. Further, I tell them that I will look to see who can get their two steps down faster, the offensive line or the QB. This usually gets the QB’s revved up. More, I explain that if any OL can beat the QB’s feet, they can have a chance to play QB. This playful back and forth kicks off that mental clock in both positions. The OL fire off faster in hopes of possibly playing QB, the QB’s not wanting to get beat sprint into the A-gap. The payoff is a “force multiplier”.
3. Point the ball at the HOK/Read Key:
Once both feet are down, we “remove the tattoo” and point the ball at the read. I tell the QB’s that the sooner that you can get a read on the HOK’s intentions, the more sound their read will be. This quicker “time on target” gets further emphasized by me telling the QB’s that they “dangling the carrot” sooner in hopes that HOK shows his intentions as soon as possible. In drilling down, I want the ball pointed at the hip pad/backside of the read where he is sitting pre-snap. That is, at the snap, we don’t want the QB to track the hip as the read moves up field. The point towards the defender’s hip places the ball on the front hip of the QB which is consequently where most R&D coaches say that the QB’s decision point should not go past. “Thumbs at the Bums” is the verbiage I use to reinforce that if the ball is pointed at the read’s backside, so are the QB’s thumbs.
Careful attention is emphasized at this phase to ensure that the QB locks out his elbows. This ensures that the ball is presented in a static position in the middle of the B-backs dive path. Any bending of the elbows takes the ball off center of the B’s belly and risks the QB getting a shoulder pad to the jaw should he try to over correct. The only other factor that could skew the placement is a QB who shortens his steps for the sake of quickness.
It should be noted that we set a 3 foot hard deck with regards to the splits of our offensive linemen. That is, our splits will never be shorter than 3 feet apart. Additionally, the aiming point of our B-back (when running inside veer) is the inside heel of the playside guard. This spacing allows the B-back to run his path
Our next blog post will continue with an emphasis on QB development, we will detail the Ride & Decide method for option mesh. As always feel free to discuss blog posts or ask questions on our forum page located here: http://flexbonenation.proboards.com/ If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on twitter @runthetriple or @themeshpoint and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.