Monday, November 8, 2010

Auburn Gap Runs: Counter

Once you’ve taught the power, you’ve also taught the counter (to the playside). All the rules remain the same; PST works a B-gap track, PSG works an A-gap track, Center works backside, and BST hinges.

The only thing that changes with counter is the backside guard and H-back. The guard will change his pulling footwork to accommodate the trap technique on the end. He will exit on a 45 degree angle, rather than the 90 degree open-hip technique used on power option. Since the guard is kicking out the end, the H-back will exchange roles (with power) and seal the first backer inside the box.

The same principles used with power apply with counter. If the DE wrong-arms the kickout, the guard can log, leaving the H-back to loop outside and bounce the run.

After a heavy diet of power (overload of numbers at the point of attack), the homerun threat of counter action can stretch defenses to a breaking point. To help with this horizontal stretch, the slot (#2) running orbit motion will adhere to a simple set of rules. If the ball carrier is aligned in split backs (away from where the orbit motion is coming from), the slot (in motion) will continue on an (power) reverse track to the counter action. If the ball carrier is stacked (pistol), the motion man will reverse out and run an option course with the quarterback. This simple rule helps stress defenses who will game plan against counter/power, by spinning a safety down with the motion. By introducing the reverse path, the playside safety is widened, creating a larger seam for the ball carrier to run through.

One interesting thing to note regarding Malzahn’s approach to offense, is that with this system, they don’t tell the backs where to line up.  The backs will align based on the play called (not the formation).  A basic formation, such as “Twins Right” will be called (“Twins Right, 91 Counter”), but the H-back and Fullback will align based on the play (i.e. counter = split-backs).

Another wrinkle can be added to run the exact same play out of 1-back; QB Counter.  Nothing changes for guys upfront.  Since QB counter is usually run out of 1-back, the play-fake speed sweep helps open the run. 

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