About the Post

Author Information

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

Leverage Pitching

There is a better method for executing the 2nd phase of the triple option. First, let me ask this, how many times you have heard the following phrase. “If you run Flexbone, your quarterback takes too many hits, he’s going to get injured, and now your best player is sitting on the bench.” I have heard that criticism hundreds of times. Teaching your quarterback to replace the read on Triple Option will save him wear and tear, and give him more confidence when executing the offense.

Replacing the Read


In the diagram above, the dive key took the fullback on Triple Option thus sending the quarterback onto the pitch phase. What I teach our quarterbacks to do here is to put the most amount of pressure possible on the defense. The way to do this is to have the quarterback replace the dive key. He will run the ball in the alley as fast as possible, and he will NOT attack the pitch key. To do this, the quarterback will seat the ball in his chest, shift the weight to his front foot to push off and step around the dive key who is tackling the fullback. When the quarterback’s outside foot hits the ground, he will accelerate up the alley immediately while pressuring the pitch key to come down hard inside to tackle him.

Reasons to Replace the Read Instead of Attacking the Pitch Key

  1. You will attack the defense as fast as possible.
  2. You will limit the amount of contact your quarterback will take, especially the big hits.
  3. You will stress the defense through the speed of execution, especially the pitch key, to make lightning-fast decisions to stop your Triple Option.
  4. The pitch phase of the Triple Option will open up tremendously, and increase the amount of room your pitchback has to run the ball.

Simply stated leverage pitching is a concept where the quarterback will decide to pitch the ball before he reaches the pitch key with the ball. He will “leverage pitch” when the pitch back has effectively outflanked the #2 defender in the option count (the guy the quarterback is reading for pitch) If there is no way the pitch key can tackle the pitchback the ball should be pitched.  This concept coincides with replacing the read like discussed yesterday.

If you replace the read this makes the pitch defender come that much further down to tackle the quarterback. When he does so, this is where the leverage pitch happens. If the pitch key runs hard to the inside for the quarterback he will be in no position to tackle the pitchback. Forcing the pitch key to crash hard makes it much easier for the pitchback, because it opens up the sideline for him to run that much more. It also allows him to attack level three of the defense while having the ball in his hands quicker.


This will be a stack read for the quarterback (#1 will almost always be the pitch key)


The 4 technique tackles the fullback


The pitch key (#1) is in no position to tackle the pitchback thus allowing Dobbs to leverage pitch off of him


This is the same pre-snap look as the last drive


The four tech again takes the dive


The pitchback has leverage on the pitch key, therefore the ball is pitched


Although he looks as if he is in good position to take the quarterback, he does not even get a hit on the quarterback, accomplishing both getting the ball to the third phase of the option without having your QB take a hit.



Given a brief number of clips I have shown there are many cases when leverage pitching will be your best option, and different scenarios under which it will occur.

  1. #1 and #2 come hard taking the quarterback and fullback
  2. The pitch key is flat footed or trying to slowplay the quarterback
  3. The stacked #1 and #2 defenders hang on the fullback
  4. The pitch key turns his shoulders to the inside indicating he is taking the fullback
  5. The pitch key comes hard inside on the snap getting hung up with the tackle giving the quarterback an unclear read.

I’m sure I missed a few examples but as you can see leverage pitching gives the quarterback an advantage when running veer. Next is how it is taught to your quarterback. When teaching Triple Option, we will teach it in parts to start with. When teaching the pitch phase the first thing we will do is introduce the concept of leverage pitching in individual meetings. We will show him video of this technique in action illustrating, and reiterating all the reasons we are doing so with the quarterbacks at this time. During indy and group drills I feel it is important to have a coach serve as the pitch read early in the year. This allows the coach to see his footwork, his eyes as well as to give him every read the coach can think of. Leverage pitching turns into more of a “feel” concept for players. Most quarterbacks pick up the idea quickly. It will take some time and work between coach and quarterback to make him feel comfortable with the various reads you could see.

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  1. 10 Priorities of Triple Option Instruction | Flexbone Association - March 25, 2016

    […] one common issue is the A-Back is not running a parallel pitch path with the QB. This will also help keep the QB clean and put the maximum amount of stress on the defense. The ball must be pitched parallel. If […]

  2. Teaching Your Quarterback to Read the Stack / Area Read | Flexbone Association - August 14, 2015

    […] a defender on the track pull the ball. If #2 is cancelling the dive, expect a quick read and likely leverage pitch on […]

  3. Flexbone Triple Option 101 | Flexbone Association - July 11, 2014

    […] 7. Go score unless #2 comes to tackle you, and if so, pitch the ball parallel to the Backside A-back. (This is called leverage pitching) […]

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