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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 Three

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. The second installment of the series examined what reasons Rocket Toss can become an ineffective play, outside of the execution of the offense. 

This third installment of “Managing the Utility of Rocket Toss” will look at using the “Freeze Technique” and the blast adjustment from various formations to “fix” Rocket. As a head coach and or offensive coordinator the first thing you should be looking at if Rocket Toss didnt work is WHY. This is why we cannot call plays without sequencing. Doing so will lead to decreased production. There are times where the defense will change what it does from play to play, and although the play was there just a play ago, it’s not there now. None the less understanding the sequencing of the offense is critical.


The first concept I will touch on is using the freeze technique. Calling plays from the sideline is becoming increasingly popular at the collegiate level, and is trickling down to the high school level. If you have seen Navy play in the last few years, you have seen them use this technique. In short the A-Back will take his motion steps, stop and reset. The play caller is looking for the adjustment the defense is going to make pre-snap. This is particularly useful against blitzing, or stemming defenses. If the defense is willing to show its hand so to speak before you snap the ball, it will give you time to readjust and change the play call if you wish.

How you implement this system and when is up to you as a head coach when assessing where you are as a team. I would not hide behind the “my kids wont be able to handle this” argument. From my experience its often the offensive coordinator or assistant coaches who aren’t willing to learn and implement all the intricacies of a no huddle system where plays can be checked at the line of scrimmage. Going no huddle of course does not mean that you are forced to play faster. By getting to the line of scrimmage quickly you give yourself and your team more time to adjust while you still have time on the play clock. Using the freeze technique and being able to check in and out of plays will give your team an advantage.

Go Back to Triple Option

Other than poor execution, one of the problems espoused in last week’s article is likely why Rocket Toss is not effective or less effective than it should be for your program is an overactive or quality force player. This could be an OLB, SS or even a CB, but we will focus on this player being a SS or OLB playing the alley, rather than the CB firing for the pitch.

If the force player in this case being the alley OLB or SS is making the plays on rocket toss the first reaction you should have is to go back to triple option. This will of course depend on how that force player is playing. If he is only spiking hard when the A-Back clears the B-Back you should consider running triple with the A-Back clearing the B-Back before the ball is snapped. This will take some practice time, and your quarterback will have to work on his timing with the A-Backs, similar to how you will need to work on the timing and aiming points slightly using twirl motion.

Keep in mind that this OLB/SS is often your QB player on option. If he is not playing the quarterback regardless of motion, you should be looking to run more triple and you should be expecting your quarterback to be the one who is making the yards for your team. If the defense allows their force/alley player to become overactive to stop perimeter plays, they are jeopardizing their ability to stop the quarterback. This should be the first area you look to exploit if the defense is using this force player to stop Rocket Toss.

Triple Option Against Overactive Force Player


Blast Adjustment

Now lets assume that you are playing against a very good force player. You would like to run Rocket Toss, the defense is showing it’s there but the force player is able to make plays and keep his responsibility on triple. If this is the case you have to find another way to block him. The way to do so is to use the “Blast” adjustment to Rocket Toss. Blast simply means that, depending on formation, a player from the outside will be blocking the force player. This can occur in two main ways. The first is to run it out of what is called the over formation. We call it East/West but the division one schools call it Over. Out of over the covered receiver will blast the force player, the eligible receiver will block the free safety and the A-Back will arc the corner.

Rocket Blast out of Over Right


When running Rocket Toss out of over you give your team an overwhelming advantage in terms of blocking angles. Every player has an optimal angle to block the defender. If executed properly the ball carrier will have a huge seam to run the ball outside of the force player while reading the arc block on the corner.  The other way to accomplish the same goal is to run the same play out of the double flex formation.

Rocket Blast out of Double Flex


Out of these two looks, you are giving yourself the chance to run this play against an active force player, because you are blocking him from the outside in. If you run this with success from the following looks what the defense will likely do is to try to move the force player outside of the receiver out of double flex or outside the covered receiver out of the over formation. If this is their tactic, then the answer again is to come back to triple, because what they did was remove their quarterback player further from the action. If triple  is not working due to extremely poor interior blocking then consider double option with the OLB player removed.

Rocket Toss can be run easily out of “Heavy” All heavy means is that the offensive tackle will flip to the other side of the center and line up next to the other tackle, this is the standard tackle over formation. This may or may not be effective against an active force player dependent on how the defense accounts for the tackle over look. If their answer is to slide the force player up on the line of scrimmage, the adjustment would be rendered ineffective. Using blast out of over or double flex is the best adjustment you can make via formations.The next part of the series will look at play-action passing options that you have off of Rocket Toss.  Join the over 100 coaches who’ve invested in the future of their programs in the last few years. See what the Flexbone Association can do for you.

Feature Photo: AP Photo/Nick Wass

Robert Godhigh photo: AP

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