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Texas Tech's Double Screen

by: Rick Dykes
Offensive Coordinator,Texas Tech University
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One of the biggest advantages an offense can have in a game is an ability to keep the opposing defense off balance. At Texas Tech, we try to gain such an advantage in a variety of ways.

One of our main goals is to mix the running game with the passing game using a large variety of formations. Another of our biggest weapons on offense is our screen game. I would like to talk about one of our most successful and unique screen passes. We call this play "Double Screen."

Double Screen has been one of our most consistent plays over the past few seasons. We have averaged over eight yards a call for the last four years. The major advantage that contributes to the success of the play is that it gives the QB has three options to go to. We rarely have a bad play since one of the options is usually open.

Diagram 1
Diagram 1

We run this play out of two different formations-a pro-set and a three wide receiver set. Regardless of the formation, the fullback is always offset to the right or to the left and then motioned into position on the right (see Diagram 1).

The outside receivers, Z and X, always remain the same regardless of the formation. They push the man over them and simulate a streak pattern. When the defender recognizes the play, they stalk them. If the defense gives them a zone look they continue to block from the man on, to the first man inside. The only change is X in the three wide receiver set. This will be explained later.

Diagram 2
Diagram 2

On the snap of the ball, the play looks exactly like a drop-back pass play. The linemen pass set; the backs split flow with the fullback to the right. The tailback runs to the left. The quarterback drops straight back just like he would in a five-step passing game with his eyes down field on the free safety. The first option the QB checks is the tight end. The TE takes an easy release-preferably inside, but depending upon the defensive alignment-and takes a path to hook up directly over the center at a depth of six yards (see Diagram 2).

If the linebackers are playing zone or are man-to-man with the backs and leave the middle, the QB will set at 4 to 5 yards and deliver the ball to the TE. The quarterback should know whether he is going to go to the TE within the first three steps of his drop. After three steps, he comes off the TE and moves on to option No. 2, the two-count side.

Diagram 3
Diagram 3

Option No. 2 is the two-count screen to the right, which involves the fullback, right guard and right tackle. The RG and RT pass set big-on-big, just as in drop-back protection. They will engage the defensive players for a count of "1 one-thousand, 2 one-thousand," and then let them go before pulling to the right. The RT pulls outside looking to block the first off-colored jersey he encounters. The RG pulls outside to block the second off-colored jersey. Both the RG and RT are working to gain outside leverage on the defenders (see Diagram 3).

The FB attacks the first man outside of the RB and blocks him for a count of "one one-thousand, two one-thousand," then lets him go and sets at a position five yards outside of the RT behind the line of scrimmage. After catching the ball, the FB runs outside knowing that his blockers are working for outside leverage (see Diagram 3).

The quarterback continues to gain depth even after he reaches five steps. After he has checked the tight end, he moves to check the two-count side. If the TE is covered then usually an inside linebacker has him. If no defender has advanced to cover the FB, then the quarterback delivers him the ball.

Diagram 4
Diagram 4

The three-count side is the third option to the quarterback and involves the center, left guard, left tackle and tailback. The center and left guard both pass set using big-on-big protection and engage the defender for the count of "three one thousands." After three counts, they allow the defenders to rush and pull outside to the left. The LG pulls and looks to block the first off-colored jersey to show outside. The center pulls looking to block the second off-colored jersey to show outside. Both are working for outside leverage (see Diagram No. 4).

The left tackle's assignment is slightly different. We do not want our TB to block a hard-charging end coming off the corner for three counts, so we turn the end over to the left tackle. The LT pass sets, turning outside-inviting the end man on the line of scrimmage to rush up field. After the LT gets the end man moving up field, he cuts him in order to get him on the ground, thus creating a throwing lane for the QB (see Diagram No. 4).

The tailback releases at a path just behind the left guard and sets in the gap behind the guard and center. He wants to keep his pads down and hide, keeping his eyes on the LG and C. When they release to pull outside, the TB turns and runs down the line of scrimmage to the left at a depth of 1-2 yards looking to catch the ball moving outside. After he catches the ball, he runs outside knowing the C and LG are working for outside leverage on the defenders (see Diagram No. 4).

The QB continues to drop after checking the TE and the two-count side. The three-count side is his third option. If the TE and FB are covered, then the QB delivers the ball to the TB on the three-count side (see Diagram 4).

A third wide receiver can be substituted for the tight end, allowing the double screen to be run two different ways, depending on hashmark alignment. We refer to our third WR in this set as Flip.

Diagram 5
Diagram 5

If the ball is in the middle of the field then Flip will take the responsibilities of the tight end. We will put him in motion toward the ball. He should time his motion so that he leaves late and fast. On the snap of the ball, Flip takes a path to hook up over the center at a depth of 6 yards. The responsibilities remain the same for everyone else (see Diagram 5).

Diagram 6
Diagram 6

When the ball is on the hash, we run the play a little differently to keep the defense off balance. We move Flip across the formation and run him up the rail to block down field. Our X receiver will cut his split down slightly and, on the snap of the ball, take the place of the TE and take a path to hook up over the center at a depth of 6 yards. The play remains the same for everyone else (see Diagram 6).

Coaching Points

1. The quarterback and the linemen are the key to the success of the play. They must make the play look like a drop-back pass. In order to create seperation from the QB, the line must attack the defenders aggressively, for their respective counts, before allowing them to rush.

2. The QB is responsible for creating the throwing lanes. The TE, FB and TB all have their respective landmarks and these never change. The QB must avoid the rush and deliver the ball. Many times he must scramble to the side he is going to throw it.

3. We will not audible out of this play if we get a blitz look from the defense. The TE coming over the middle gives us a hot receiver for any plugging linebackers coming through the interior. If we get pressure off of the corner, we want to throw the ball behind the oncoming rushers. This play is not designed to defeat the blitz, but it is not a play that is defenseless against it.


We practice this play along with our other screen passes every practice for two periods. We feel the screen is a valuable part of our offensive scheme so we spend a great deal of time working on it. The most important part of practicing this play is getting a good simulation from the scout team defense. Due to the importance of timing, we always practice this as a team.


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