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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

Triple Option Errors: Offensive Line

Nothing can be more frustrating than watching an option team abandon Triple Option at the first sign of trouble. If you are a Flexbone team I implore you to work on fixing the problems your offense faces before succumbing the the knee-jerk reaction of running something else. Here are the biggest errors high school football programs make when coaching the Triple Option and Flexbone Offensive Line.  Avoid these potential errors before they ever start.

1. Offensive Line splits are tighter than three feet.

The guards must be at least three feet away from the center.  The tackles must be near four feet away from the guard.  This allows the quarterback to have more time to read #1 and the exact splits as given take defenders away from the play. You should automatically make your splits four feet against odd front defenses. Three-plus foot splits are a non-negotiable aspect of the Flexbone Offense—issues occur when this is not utilized.

2. Offensive Line is crowding the ball.

How can your Offensive Line possibly expect to Scoop block when they are unable to win the angle on the defender in the playside gap? Offensive Linemen must have their helmets break the belt buckle of the center—if their hands are at the heels of the center, this occurs—because of this they can run through the back tip of the football, get outside of the defender in their gap, and cut the defender in their gap. Proper scoop blocking is impossible when you crowd the ball.

3. Offense runs triple and veer releases the playside tackle to the inside every time.

Wedge blocking is an outdated concept.  If a defense has #1 take the dive, #2 take the quarterback, and the inside linebacker run over the top to take the pitch, the playside tackle will never get there.  Thus, running Triple Option is a 3-on-3 concept.  Oklahoma started veer releasing the tackle outside v. Odd-front defenses back in the 1980s.

The playside tackle’s job on Triple Option is to veer outside, unless he hears an “Ace” call (Center/Guard Double Team), or if the guard is covered where he would veer inside.  Another situation for the playside tackle to veer inside is if the coach insists on running Triple Option to a 3-technique (feasible but not optimal for high school).

4. Backside Offensive Linemen are taught to cutoff instead of scoop.

Ashley Ingram, Navy Centers and Guards Coach, and friend of the Flexbone Association, stresses that this block is the defining block of the Flexbone Offense and the triple option concept.  By winning the angle on the backside through scooping, the offensive line cuts off the pursuit angle of the defender.  This eliminates late help on the dive, and in some cases, prevents the quarterback from getting chased down if the quarterback pulls the ball.

In order to scoop, the offensive lineman must run through the back tip of the ball, and as soon as the offensive lineman gets outside of the defensive lineman in the playside gap, the offensive lineman squares his shoulders and crashes vertically toward the goalline.  This eliminates the defender’s charge and pursuit angle to the football.  If there is no defender in the playside gap, the offensive lineman works vertically to the second level and walls any defender who dares to cross to the playside. 

Scoop blocking must be taught—this is another non-negotiable of running triple option out of the Flexbone Offense.

5. Playside Linemen do not release properly to level two.

The linemen in question here are the center and playside tackle. The guard will not release to level two unless he is uncovered. The two biggest issues preventing offensive linemen from releasing to level two are their speed off the line of scrimmage, or their pad level. There are several drills you will learn with the Flexbone Association Academy or with your very own Flexbone Association Camp.

When referencing the playside tackle, speed and technique are crucial. If this player cannot release to level two, Triple Option will stagnate. The B-Backs path will become impeded–the playside linebacker will be able to escape over the top and #1 can potentially play both the B-Back and the quarterback. 

When referencing the center, the errors usually occur against a head up defender. If the center plays with a high pad level, the nose tackle will be able to get his hands on the center. The center will then not be able to veer to the backside linebacker, often times allowing him to scrape over the top and defend the dive. Secondarily a center with poor pad level can at times disrupt the quarterback if the defender can force him back into the backfield. The center is the most important linemen you have. Speed and leverage are critical to successful Flexbone Offensive Line play. 

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