Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Triple Option Play From the Spread Formation: A Nice Overview

Steve Sharik posted a nice piece over at mgoblog about the triple option play out of the spread formation. The progression is similar to the same options observed from conventional triple option plays that most college football fans recognize out of base offensive formations like the "I formation" and "wishbone formation".

The triple option play has been frequently utlized by many read spread option football teams in the past like Utah, Northwestern, Oregon, West Virginia, Florida, and many others. When executed properly, this is a very difficult play to defend against, as the misdirection of the blockers and the QB and tailback fakes frequently places defenders out of position to make the stop. The advantage of perfecting this triple option play is that auxiliary plays tack on to it fairly easily, including regular and play action pass plays, and even run or pass reverse plays, which can really mess with the heads of the opposing defense.

Here's Steve Sharik's post which is a very concise description of the formation, positions, prescribed blocking and progression of the triple option play: Triple Option in the Spread Offense: a Brief Overview (Posted using ShareThis).

This of course begs the question whether Michigan's 2009 quarterbacks will be seen running this play very much? In 2008, I cannot recall a single game where Steven Threet or Nick Sheridan ran a full triple option play with a trailing tailback or a Y or H receiver shimming over into trailing pitch position. I may have missed it.

The answer to the question is yes. Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson both operated spread offenses in high school that utilized the triple option play.

Here is an example at the 2:11 mark of Tate Forcier running only a double-option play out of the spread offensive set, where he pitches the football perfectly to his trailing tailback Brennan Clay (OU commit) for a 35 yard gain versus Oceanside during the final state championship game for Scripps Ranch high school. Oceanside won decisively 49-14.

Here is Forcier running a speed double option play for a touchdown in the game:

I would not be surprised to see the double- and triple-options plays to be incorporated into the Wolverine repetoire at some point early this season, and possibly by the first game.

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