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Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

Managing the Utility of Rocket Toss: Part Two

The first part of this series posed the idea that Rocket Toss is a play that can be overused and used for the wrong reasons. It has been seen as a cure all for an offense struggling to gain yards. I also asked you to take a look at your own offense. Let’s assume the problem with Rocket Toss is not with the execution of the quarterback and the A-Back on the play. Assuming the ball is delivered to the A-Back properly and he is in the correct position to receive the ball. Did you find any problems? Did you find games where it was not effective? What were the causes of that ineffectiveness? Are you calling plays with a purpose, and due to specific stimuli from the defense?

hi-res-452665133-robert-godhigh-of-the-georgia-tech-yellow-jackets_crop_exactFirst we have to examine why the play is used. As I stated last week the play should be used to counter a defense who is trying to utilize a blitz heavy scheme to stop your offense. Why is Rocket Toss effective against this look? Its effective because the defense is over-committing it’s defensive personnel between the tackles. This defensive personnel now is not able to pursue sideline to sideline which is one of the biggest factors in an unsuccessful toss play. A blitzing defense is likely to play man, and man defenses cannot adequately provide run support to defense against a play that hits the edge quickly.

So what makes the play ineffective over the course of a game or a season? The first obvious response is that it is being used to try to solve problems not stated in the previous paragraph. Objectively that’s a fine statement, but what does it look like in practice against your team? Moreover what specifically is the defense now doing to try to stop rocket instead of blitzing, or what specifically by alignment or scheme cannot be adequately overcome by your player

The first problem you may face is that you don’t have another look off of Rocket Motion. Assuming you play in a good league against good coaches, or at some point throughout the season you are facing a defensive coordinator worth his salt, he will undoubtedly take notice if you run nothing other than Rocket Toss once the motion man clears the fullback. If this is the only look you have ever shown off this motion, the play is a dead giveaway before the snap. This allows the linebackers and the secondary to pursue at full force at your ball carrier. This will overwhelm your perimeter blocking structure and lead to a diminished gain on the play.

One Look Off Rocket Motion


The next problem faced by the overuse or misuse of Rocket Toss is an overactive force player, or a player not playing any other responsibility other than blowing up the Rocket Toss. This may or not be independent of the above point of there not being anything else in the offense with that deep rocket motion. I am sure we have all faced this at least a few times. The OLB or CB or SS leaves his responsibility before the ball is snapped and is in the backfield effecting your ball carrier well before your perimeter blocks can be set, or with overwhelming force neglecting any other possibility on the play. The diagram shows an OLB, but the problem player is the force player, regardless of where he lines up.

Overactive Force Player


When the play is run properly against the proper stimuli and with the correct techniques and execution, the 5 technique should not need to be blocked. Similar in nature to interior linebackers making plays, here now we have a player that should not have to be blocked causing problems either by making the play himself, or preventing the offensive tackle from engaging a more dangerous pre-snap defensive player. This is either due to him recognizing the rocket motion and simply sprinting to the play, or by a very good player quickly defeating the wide scoop by the playside tackle.

Escaping 5-Technique


Again, the linebacker or linebackers either have not blitzed, and thus can chase the ball carrier at full speed, or they are not held on the interior of the defense because they fully understand that once the slotback clears the fullback, its rocket toss and they can pursue at will. They are faster than your linemen, and even with quality scoop blocks it becomes very difficult for them to block these 2nd level defenders.

ga-southernIn short the problems caused by the overuse or misuse of the Rocket Toss manifest themselves by the defense being able to attack the ball quickly and with overwhelming force. This is due to improper sequencing of plays, an incomplete conceptual use of the rocket motion. The ball carrier is pressured by the force player either making the play or disrupting the perimeter blocking schemes and forcing the ball inside; or a player who should be blocked or need not be blocked on the interior of the defense was able to abandon any gap responsibilities and sprint to the perimeter.

What would your response to these problems be? The first response should be to not run rocket until the proper situation arises again. This would be a defense blitzing to stop triple option or a collision on your offensive tackle when running triple option. There are times though that the play will be there in the proper sequence, and when you call the play they do react properly to it. It is your job to call the next play in direct response to what they did to stop your Rocket. Part three of this article will look at ways to combat these problems either by going back to base plays and why they are now open again due to the defense reacting in this manner to Rocket Toss, or how you can react to this as a play caller and leader of your team through the use of alternate formations. The Flexbone Association Academy is coming along full speed ahead. We will be ready to roll by February. I’m getting more inquires every day. Will you be the next one?

Synjyn Days Photo: JOHN AMIS — AP

Georgia Southern Photo: Photo: CMGDigital

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