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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

Use The Load Scheme as an Alternate Against 4-3 Defenses

The 4-3 defense is a popular one against Flexbone Offenses. Turn on Navy, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern or any other Flexbone team, and there is a pretty good chance the defense is playing a 4-3 scheme against it. There are also a variety of ways to play the 4-3, the defense can play 4-3 Under, they can walk the OLB’s up to the line of scrimmage;  or they can keep all three linebackers inside the A-Backs, among other options. 

One of the “godfathers” of the Flexbone is former Air Force, Clemson, Arkansas and Rice Head Coach Ken Hatfield. While at Rice his former Offensive Coordinator Scott Wachenheim published an article in American Football Monthly. The manner in which the Triple Option is executed has been changed slightly by the Paul Johnson/Georgia Southern tree of coaches since then. What’s interesting to me about the article in their “base” scheme when running Triple Option against 4-3 defenses. What you will see in the article is that, when at Rice, they loaded the outside linebacker with the A-Back and cracked the safety with the wide receiver. This is different from how Navy and Georgia Tech run the play. However it can be used as an adjustment.

Rice/Hatfield Blocking Scheme


This scheme was on the backburner for us for most of the year, because we did not see a team playing the particular 4-3 scheme where we wanted to utilize it. Finally in our first round playoff game against Fairhope we saw an opportunity to run it. The reason was because their OLB,who would have been #1 or #2 in the count, based on reading the stack was sitting in the box. The defensive ends were doing a good job squeezing the tackle, which clogged up the B-Backs path. We wanted to find a way to run Triple Option more effectively; which in turn allowed us to get the ball outside. We started running 12/13 Load (see below) on the 4th or 5th series of the game. 

12 Load v. 4-3


In addition to how #1 and #2 were playing the B-Back and quarterback; our opponent was rolling the playside safety down to take the pitch. We knew that if we ran 12/13 Load we would be in a 2-1 situation with the safety, where we assumed he’s been coached up to take the pitch all week. Now we would show him a look where the quarterback is running free in the alley and he is faced with both the ball carrier and his responsibility (the pitch back).  

When we ran Triple Option the remainder of the game we didn’t run 12/13 Load every time, but we used both 12/13 and the Load tag, to show the defense two different looks to run the same play. The stimuli to the defense would be the same at the snap, but we changed out blocking scheme in an attempt to confuse the defense and ultimately give our offense the best chance to move the ball and score touchdowns.  Below are just a few clips of us running the load scheme. 

12/13 Load v. 4-3

After we started running the Load scheme we were very successful on offense. In our six remaining drives we scored four touchdowns. This scheme gave us a chance to be successful by simply running another tag. We stuck with the system, rather than panicking and abandoning everything we’ve worked on to get to that point.

As you progress through next season and each one following, I urge you to stick with the system. When it comes to learning the Flexbone Offense from scratch or altering what you currently do with it, I know that you have a choice in where to turn. The question I pose to you is this. When it comes to making a choice in where to invest your time and money; who are you going to trust? Are you going to come to the Flexbone Association that has been improving offenses since 2007; where I have years of experience not only learning the offense from the highest levels of football, but have also proven it on the field? Or are you going to go to one of my competitors; of which have almost no practical on the field experience or success? You can invest yourself and your program in theory, or you can invest in the Flexbone Association Academy or Flexbone Association Camp. Give yourself the Flexbone Association Advantage. Contact me if you have questions.

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4 Comments on “Use The Load Scheme as an Alternate Against 4-3 Defenses”

  1. Scott Jazdzewski April 14, 2015 at 10:49 AM #

    4-2 and 4-4 defenses act the same. If it’s a 3-3 the PST goes directly to the FS

  2. TJ Cavaliere December 19, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

    Can you run this load scheme against a 4-4 defense….and if so would the A back block the playside inside LB or the outside LB and force the safety to run the alley?

    • Scott Jazdzewski December 20, 2013 at 9:19 AM #

      The A-Back will load the PSLB to FS as a default. I saw you got a new HC job there in CT. Send me an e-mail when you get the chance.

    • Rich Holmes April 14, 2015 at 10:20 AM #

      If there is a 1 high safety PSA and PST track (load) ILB to FS. In an 8 man front, be it a 4-2, 4-4, or 3-3, the automatic rule should be load to FS.

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