The following is a synopsis of what I consider the finest, free playbook on the internet:
Ted Seay (who, despite our never having met, has influenced me greatly) now has this gem in it’s 4th edition (available here). Schematically, 10/20 personnel Wing-T that combines series based runs with modern horizontal and vertical stretches is my cup of tea. Even if it is not your brand of football, I stand by my sentiment that EVERYONE concerned with offensive football should read this document.
In particular, as feeble an attempt as it may be, I would like to review Mr. Seay’s concept of “unity of apparent intent” (UAI). My intention is certainly not to add to this idea, nor do I trust I can adequately rehash it. My hope is to relay enough information that your interest is peaked and you will do yourself the service of reading about the “side order of football”.
WHAT IT IS…
The UAI is all about deception, a key component of the Wild bunch offense (and every other scheme). Starting at page 154 of the linked document, Mr. Seay artfully ties military strategy with football philosophy, creating his theory of attack as it pertains to offensive football. Again, go read the document for this valuable insight, as the scope of Mr. Seay’s theory (The Tao of Deception) is another article in and of itself. For now, I want to focus on what this means from a series based approach.
Creating conflict, in its most simple form, involves attacking a defender’s over reaction to a base play.
The above diagram is a crude drawing of the curl-flat concept, where by the Flat Defender ($) is placed in a no-win situation. He can either cover the out route and allow the Curl to materialize behind and inside of him, or he can sink to the curl and give up the easy throw to the out.
It is a typical 2 on 1 stretch that many offensive passing concepts seek to create, and unless the flat defender receives help from one of his teammates, the only thing stopping the offense from running curl-flat all the way down the field is a lack of offensive execution.
So here is what happens:
The cornerback (C) will only allow 10 yards completions happen right in front of him for so long before he starts playing the curl (instead of his deep 1/3 responsibility). Attacking overreaction (cheating of assignment, over aggression, etc.) is what series based play calling/offensive structure is all about.
Another crude drawing, but the wheel tag is an excellent way to attack a CB who is jumping curl routes. Essentially, we are attacking the primary responsibility of a player who has abandoned it in favor of “plugging the dike” somewhere else.
So, that is a simple example of what we mean generally by “creating conflict”. The UAI, however, is about the details. It’s about making Y’s out and wheel routes stem the exact same way. When two things look the same, but end up attacking a defensive in ways that are not only different, but in fact complimentary, then you have developed the unity of apparent intent to your advantage.
Imagine the CB has a great position coach….one who is determined to make cover 3 work against this little curl-flat with the wheel tag package. He decides to teach his CB to key #2 (Y) in his backpedal. He notices that on Curl flat, Y will vertical stem his route before breaking it hard to the flat. On the Wheel, however, Y will stem straight toward the sidelines and start to veer up field.
So, if Y stems vertical, then the CB has the ability to press the curl…….if Y immediately releases to the flat, then the CB knows he must play the wheel. The pattern of an offensive player’s movement tells the defender where he needs to be.
When it comes to making offensive decisions about “how do we run this route”, etc., this must be in the forefront of the play designer’s mind. Routes need to stem the same way (and runs need to look the same too) in order to keep the defense in a state of confusion/uncertainty. When an offense eliminates cues as to their intention, thereby gaining UAI, the offense functions far more efficiently.
For Mr. Seay, this culminated in how he blocked Fly sweep and the FB compliment off it for his Wild bunch.
Coming from a Wing-T background, Mr. Seay’s original version had pulling OG’s on the sweeps. After much study, he finally decided to switch to zone blocking everything.
The result is a truly UNREADABLE offensive series that starts with Jet Sweep (with OZ blocking). The compliment is the front side IZ run with the FB, which Mr. Seay’s research has shown actually averages more yards per call than the sweep. The OL movement and backfield mechanics look EXACTLY the same on both plays, leaving defenders without a reliable visual key.
We talked about curl-flat and Jet Sweep series, but this concept needs to be built into everything you do, regardless of your offense flavor.
Obviously the ability to execute is paramount, but winning football games against good competition comes down to details. That guy running the Jet needs to move at the same pre-snap speed and purpose whether he is getting the ball or not. We can’t cheat initial movements too much (though a little may be advisable in certain situations), and especially if we do not have a GOOD REASON for it.
Again, great stuff from Mr. Seay.
I appreciate the comments.
Per Mr. Seay's invitation, here is a link to some new WB material:
Enjoy it.......I know I will!