Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vertical Set

walk backwards.

There, you did it. Thats all there is to the "vertical set".
"Vertical Set" as it relates to Air Raid protection is just that, a replacement to the kick-slide. It is a vertical withdrawal from the line of scrimmage where you do not chase rushing defenders, but wait for them to engage you at your anchor point. This allows offensive linemen to remain square (preventing an easy loss by turning the shoulders and improper leverage in the pocket). When rushing the passer, the first step for a defender is to reach the blockers hips and gain leverage (by getting the blocker to open up a gap through turning, or by the defender getting at the same horizontal plane of the blocker). Because the blocker is moving away from the defender at relatively the same speed, he is prolonging the time it will take for the defender to execute an escape move (get past protection and get to the the quarterback/launch point).

Though, it does require a modicum of athleticism (moreso than a kick-slide), anyone can perform it and be better off for it (because of the increased speed of their retreat versus a kick).

The distinct advantage is that because you are retreating at a faster pace, you buy more time before engaging rushers. This allows the line to keep everything in front of them (twists, stunts, angles, etc) and confidently pickup threats to the launch point. This was previously addressed here as well as here (protection with prepractice work) and video of Oline work.
The main coaching point required is to keep the 5 linemen at the same level or horizontal plane. To do this, you simply need to rep the steps (inside, outside, inside, outside) with an emphasis on the first step explosion. Each stride should equal out to roughly a yard. Referencing the previous Louisiana Tech posts, you'll see there should be plenty of video to see examples.
This is why Air Raid teams work so much on the agility ladder (see previous posts here and here ).
Examples of LTU using the vertical set


Anonymous said...

Vertical sets have their place but I would caution coaches about using them for all situations. The problem with a vertical set is you don't get enough of the guy covered. The advantage of the kick slide is you can get the guy covered and then react of him. The vertical set IMO is easier to teach and may be a better option for some but I don't believe it is the better alternative to kick slides at the college level where you have much more time.

Hemlock said...

I would have to disagree with Anonymous on this matter. First, I would say that you cannot coach both. Your linemen will never develop the technique required to execute either set well. Second, the it depends on what you do. For reasons that I will outline in an upcoming series of posts on the Run-N-Shoot, vertical sets do not marry up well with what the Shoot does. However, for types of launchpoints the AirRaid uses its perfect. Third, the proof is in the pudding. TexasTech has been a vertical set team for years and they are amongst the nation's leaders in sacks allowed.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the linemen are stepping first with the inside foot on this set. I am not a line coach, but isn't it usually the outside foot that goes first in the slide step? I am big on footwork so if someone could break that down for me it would be neat-o.

Anonymous said...

Just as the article explained:
Inside foot is up in the stance.

The steps are inside, outside,inside, outside.

Anonymous said...

Hemlock. I want more please. Do you have video on the vertical set as an entire line working at the same time? Also, love the run n shoot would love to hear your thoughts. So keep it coming! Great job by the way! Thats my pep talk now please get to work! LOL

The Flipped Coach said...

Thank you for the detail posted so far on the vertical set...this is more then I have found anywhere else! So far everything makes sense and I'm excited to practice it with my team, but a few questions still remain.
1. Center's steps - Which foot first? Does it matter?
2. Line splits - I am assuming that the wide three foot splits are the best because that's what Tech has used. Any other thoughts? It probably spreads out Defensive lines so blitzes and stunts are easier to pick up as well as putting defenders farther away from the QB.
3. Finally, I am really curious about the reasoning Hemlock gives for the benefits of the vertical drop combined with the AirRaid launchpoints? Are you suggesting that the kick slide is less effective for the AirRaid?