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  • Barry Hoover

    Awesome job, Chris.  I love the Rocket.

  • Giordi

    This is just an awesome post. Really informative. I’ll be mulling over this all offseason.

  • Daniel Andrews

    I don’t like outside zone blocking at all, in fact, I dislike zone-blocking in general for reasons which don’t relate to this post so I will put those biases aside.  The reach block is extremely difficult to execute and create a seam when a defense defends it properly either from a DE/EMOL making a mess allowing flow to get to the ball or by the playside defense maintaining gap integrity.   I really like to run G scheme  with some of our own added rules depending on the tech of the EMOL and furtherest player at LB depth to playside, because it complements our Belly dive play.    The goal of an outside run play is to seal the inside pursuit we make game week adjustments and in game adjustments on fullback, kick-out/seal responsibilities.

    Chris:  I think you are misleading a little bit about the Alabama-Ga. Southern game.   Ga. Southern was able to run the ball well before the game was in doubt which didn’t happen till the late 3rd quarter and after Ga. Southern had 5 sustained drives in that game.

  • Anonymous

    300 yards rushing on Alabama is very impressive. I didn’t mean to be flippant, just that Alabama did win, but I don’t think I was diminishing the fact that they racked up a ton of yards and some points on the best rushing defense in the country.

    For the outside zone, I know teams that use it with the rocket and it is fine. The line has to understand the concept of the play and that it is not about stretching the defense out like a typical “stretch” play. When I said outside zone I meant more for purposes of what rules to use so you don’t have to teach an all new blocking scheme. If your guys can’t reach you can fix some of that with some crack type blocks. It also depends if you already use some pin and pull type schemes. Again, the point of this was to just talk about how to integrate the play into what you already do.

  • Daniel Andrews

    I didn’t think you were flippant at all about Bama-Ga. Southern.  IMO  Ga. Southern had the best offensive game of any team against Alabama this year.

    Certainly some teams can execute the zone reach really well, but I have seen almost every double wing team using it struggle at times, especially against linebackers playing at a deeper depth to read midline/veer series better in even front or in a  50 front.   Not as well schooled on Pin and Pull, but we started out as a reach team with rocket and changing the blocking added about 2-3 yards per carry.   Pin and Pull looks a lot like a combination of G scheme, Trap, and Power “O”, Buck Sweep blocking.   

  • Robc

    It may be a minor thing, but one thing I dont like about the shotgun version of the inside zone handoff and the counter is that the toss fake comes after the handoff.  The flexbone versions, the initial quarterback motion is exactly the same as on the rocket toss so the counter is hidden for a fraction longer.

  • Daniel Andrews

    I am actually glad you brought this topic up.   Our team sees a lot of Jet motion and I think if some of the shotgun teams started using Rocket Motion w/ their Jet they would be harder to defend.  Shotgun Jet and Rocket are hard to distinguish pre-snap.  Basically what we see involving the player in Jet motion are Jet Sweep, Jet Option (usually an unblocked 3) and not inverted veer but we will likely start seeing this, and a screen to the Jet.  If a team starts incorporating Rocket motion  they can run inside zone triple, a true outside veer, and of course Rocket Toss.  A team can use either motion as window dressing for after-snap reaction, unbalance or balance a formation, make a defense shift to an alignment advantageous to what the offense wishes to do with one of their base plays.

  • http://twitter.com/mccook2002 mccook guy

    Do you think this series can legitimately be run from a 3×1 set? I’m very interested in how the trips formation sets up the midline option, but I’m looking for input on how effective Rocket Toss can be run either to the trips side or away from it- any suggestions?

  • Andrew Calara

    Great post.  I’ve seen the Raiders (who run as many toss sweeps and end arounds as anyone in the NFL) do similar with the counter in a pro style, usually with Marcel Reece (as athletic a FB in the league) in the offset I.  They’ll fake a toss to the back or wideout on an end around, and then hand it off to the FB with the guard pulling around to the weakside.   I wish I could find video of an example, it’s worked out well for them a few times this year.

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  • CC

    One thing about Rocket that we did not like this year (high school)
    1) Negative yards – if you can’t turn the corner it often loses 5+ yards
    2) Can’t cut in high school outside the box!  You will notice GT does a lot of that and I think that really helps the Rocket toss – so how would you compensate for that???

  • A fan

    Does a flexbone team adjust its line splits for the rocket? Most flexbone teams have at least 3 ft. splits between linemen, but sweeps usually work better with small line splits so the ball carrier can get outside sooner. Do you narrow the splits, and risk the defense anticipating what’s coming, or keep the 3 ft. flexbone splits, and assume your A-back is fast enough to get the DE who’s now a couple yards wider?

  • Oskie

    An equalizer when running Rocket is to run it out of empty.  Read where the defense is weak and run to that side.  Somebody cheats play action pass or boot.  LBers overpursue run misdirection.  It is a nice package and if you throw in your 3 step package it  can cause a huge headache for defenses

  • Anonymous

    CC- 

    1.  Negative yards…this happens but very rarely in our experiences.  If it does it can be attributed to a blown blocking assignment or an over committed defensive player/scheme.  Obviously with a blown blocking assignment it is crucial to make sure there are sound blocking schemes and the players understanding their role in the blocking scheme.  Any time you have a play where your ball carrier is receiving the ball at depth there can be a risk of a loss (basic I-toss sweep, triple-option pitch, speed-option pitch).  If it’s an over-committed defensive player or defensive scheme then it comes back to seeing what they are giving up in being over-committed.  They can’t do two jobs and if they are selling out to stop the rocket, they are weakening themselves somewhere else and it becomes our job as coaches to attack those areas that are weakened.  That is why this isn’t just a play.  To be effective, it has to be built in the structure of a series with the ability to attack off-tackle, inside, backside and over the top.   

    2.  You are correct…partly, about not being able to cut on the edge!  I agree that cutting on the edge would really make this play devastating!!  But with the speed of the rocket sweep you only need your players to essentially “get in the way”  of the defender.  We don’t ask our kids to “move people” on the edge, we teach them to engage and stay engaged.  It’s the backs responsibility to find that lane on the edge.  Sometimes it’s wide, up the sideline.  Other times it becomes a cut up because the defender is pushing to the outside to force it back inside.  When this happens the back needs to cut inside that block, BUT, he has to work back outside after cutting up to avoid late pursuit catching up to him.  Here is the “partly” part…With our playside wings, we do teach them a legally executed cut block according to Federation rules.  You can cut a player if your initial contact happens above the waist.  If our wings feel like they are losing the battle on the edge and getting pushed back we teach them to roll into the defender while maintaining contact with the defender.  It is very effective.  Those are the ways we compensate for not being able to cut.  My o-line coach and myself often wonder what this offense would be like running it in Texas where you can cut…WOW!!!

  • Michael

    The Broncos under Mike Shannahan used to run a rocket toss to Rod Smith, often out of a 5 wide or ‘Tiger’ formation. I personally like it better than a jet sweep, because you can’t get a handoff on the jet sweep as clean as possible every time and the runner still has lineman to clear before getting to the edge.. If the player runs through the ball on a rocket toss, then he is at full speed on the edge quicker. The whole key to the rocket toss however is the blocking of the outside receiver to the play side.

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