Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spacing...The Final Frontier - part 4

The final read in the Spacing progression is the Flat route.  This is a 2003 Toledo cut-up when Rob Spence was the OC there.  The frontside X WR has a Speed Out.  The QB sees the CB up tight initially and decides that the Speed Out will not be not there.  The QB should have stayed with this route because the CB was bailing out, albeit slowly.  The depth of the CB is one consideration for the QB's pre-snap read; the other consideration is the presence of an alley player.  The nearest LB was not in the alley, but was tucked in the box, so he was not a threat to the route.  The alley is defined as the area between the X WR and the OT to a depth of 8 yards.

If there is no one in the alley, this is considered a Premium look.  Although this was a Hard Access (no alley player and a "Hard" CB within 6 yds) look initially, it became a Free Access (no alley player and a loose CB) look to the X WR.  Defenses like to disguise their coverages to confuse the QB's pre-snap read, so it is important for the QB to get a post-snap read and follow through on his progression by looking to the X WR first. 

Free Access is the look that the QB wants to see from the Defense.  Many teams put their best WR at the X position so they create these Free Access looks and isolate their main guy 1 on 1.  This is done by overloading the opposite side of the formation with Trips or Bunch formations, as Toledo does here. 

The OL is using Slide protection to the right with the RB blocking the first thing off the left edge away from the slide.  The use of motion in Spacing can be an effective way to disguise the play initially, since a compressed split is needed by the WR to get to his spot on the Mini-Curl route, which is roughly 4 yards outside the OT.  The WR also could get to his spot here by running his route in at a 45 degree angle. 

The QB also could have thrown to the Sit route if he puts the ball on the opposite shoulder of the defender.  The Mini-Curl is double-covered, leaving the Flat route wide open.  Florida QB Coach Scot Loeffler said at the 2009 Florida Clinic that the Flat route should be run at "golf-cart" speed--fast initially, and then choke it down.  He wants to be fast initially to get past the Mini-Curl's route and make the Flat player on Defense commit.  The flat player cannot cover both in Cover 3 if the "spacing" is right.  It is important for the Flat WR to choke it down so he doesn't run out of bounds and has room to run up the sidelines.  The FB running the Flat route choked it down, but the QB led him a bit too much on the outside, making it hard for the FB to stay in-bounds and get upfield. 

Spacing (to Flat route) @ Yahoo! Video

This concludes the Spacing series.  Click on the Spacing Label below if you would like to see the previous posts.


brophy said...

Thanks for the series, Coach Hoover
Love the delivery and style you bring.

Y'all - be sure to check out Hoover's awesome collection of knowledge and insight here as well;

Anonymous said...

First off, great website. Very insightful, and I usually pick up something everytime I'm on here.

Secondly, just for specifics, that cut-up is from the 2003-2005 Toledo Rockets era. The QB is Gradkowski and those are the three years he started.

Coach Hoover said...

Thanks for the correction. I was way off--sloppy on my part. The opponent was Syracuse from 2003, which beat Toledo 34-7. I will go back and correct that.