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

What Are They Doing in the Secondary?

There are only so many things a defense can do in the secondary to stop you, while maintaining integrity against both Triple Option and Play-Action Pass. 

Cover Two – Safeties Deeper than 9 Yards


What this means on Triple Option – You have to switch block the perimeter because the CB is more dangerous by alignment. The WR will outside release and block the deep defender . If neither of the secondary players runs with you, we will come back and throw Play-Action on the next snap.

What this means on Play-Action Pass – Post-Wheel is your best combo. Chances are on this play the cheating secondary player will be the CB, which means the Post will carry the Safety and the Wheel has the best chance for a big play. Teams that play Cover Two into the boundary give you a window to throw the ball to the WR if the A-Back carries the Safety deep. Navy exploited this against Notre Dame this yearHere are your backside choices

Cover Two – Safeties Closer than 9 Yards (Tight Four-Across)


What this means on Triple Option – The A-Back will Arc to the Safety who is #3 by alignment. We know this because he cannot get over the top of the WR if he releases outside of the CB vertically.

What this means on Play-Action Pass – A Post-Wheel combination will likely get behind the Safety, putting the CB in a trail position. The A-Back may have to stop on the Wheel route because the Safety will likely have depth on him, not allowing him to get deep on the Wheel. Here are your backside choices

Four Across – Corners at Six Yards or Deeper, Safeties Deeper than 9 Yards


What this means on Triple Option – The A-Back will “jog” into the alley and block the first threat; this is the player that becomes #3. He will work to get leverage to the sideline on this defender. The WR will release vertically and stalk block the deep defender. 

What this means on Play-Action Pass – Post-Wheel is still your best combo. The pre-snap read will occur on which defender is cheating on triple option. The chances for a big player are greater on the Post. If the Safety cheats the CB is often out of position, and a late trailer on the post. The Wheel can be a big play if the CB is chasing the post hard. Here are your backside options.

Cover Three – Corner has eyes on QB, Usually between 5-8 Yards, Safety Deeper than 9 Yards 


What this means on Triple Option – The A-Back will load the PSLB to the Free Safety (#3). The WR will stalk the CB. 

What this means on Play-Action Pass – Two verticals is the best playside combination. A Stalk and Go or Hitch and Go can be very effective on the CB if the QB pump fakes. The Playside A-Back is often times wide open down the seam if the FS is running hard in the alley. The backside receiver usually has alot of room to run on the backside with single coverage. A Post route on the back side can be good. 

Cover One – Corner has eyes on WR, usually inside 7 Yards, Safety Deeper than 9 Yards)


What this means on Triple Option – The A-Back will load the PSLB to the FS (#3). The WR can run the CB off and stalk him once he reacts to run. The CB is likely to have a very late reaction to run due to him being in man coverage. 

What this means on Play-Action Pass – Two Verticals is the best playside combo. Stalk and Go can be effective on the outside based on the CB’s reaction by the WR. Navy crushed North Texas with this at least once in ’07, sorry Chuck. The WR on the backside has a very big cushion. An A-Back cross can be very effective if the FS is playing hard out of the middle. The backside CB is in man coverage, if the A-Back gets enough depth he can be running free on the backside, especially if the LB’s are reacting hard to run.  

Learn what matters in the Flexbone and Triple Option with your Flexbone Association Academy.

Photo: Gail Burton (AP)

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

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