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Point/Counterpoint: Play #4 – Third and goal from the 7-Yard Line With One Minute Left
Point-Counterpoint – Play #4 – Third and goal from the 7-Yard Line With One Minute Left
In the situation of 3rd and goal from the seven yard line with one minute left there are several contingency factors that we must look at prior to making our play call. The first factor is that the game is tied at this point with sixty seconds left, and we have two downs to score with the game tied. From our standpoint with the ball in this situation we have to understand that we can potentially take the lead with a field goal in this situation with under one minute left.
We have two downs to put the ball into the end zone or one down to run the football, get the field goal closer, force the defense to use a timeout to stop the clock (assuming they have any left) and kick a field goal to win the game. The defense is going to be looking to create a turnover or bring pressure in a passing situation to force us into a longer field goal situation so we are expecting some sort of a pressure front.
Our defensive approach in this situation is exactly what Coach Liotta expects. With less than a minute to go and the ball on the seven, we want to force the issue and attempt to force a turnover or at the very least, force a field goal attempt. The offense has a decided advantage as they can run the ball, take more time off the clock and attempt a field goal or they can take a shot at the end zone. This obviously has a major influence on the type of pressure we will bring. We want to accomplish 2 things with the pressure we bring:
1) Negate the run with a run pressure.
2) Keep the QB in the pocket should they attempt to move the pocket and throw.
As a result we will bring a crossfire blitz to the strong side while collapsing both edges with our safeties. In our scheme we would call this Texas Choke Cover 0 (Diagram 2).
In this situation we are going to run our tackle over heavy formation with a tight end in the ball game as the backside tackle (Diagram 3). We have set up a heavy tendency to run our jet sweep to the strength of the formation (tackle/wing) side and our quarterback power read in the same direction with our tailback running the jet motion to the strength of formation. In this situation we are going to run what we call our “flip” or counter play. We block our counter flip play in the same manner that we block power, so our guard will be wrapping around to the play side and our h-back will be kicking out the end man on the line of scrimmage who in this situation will probably be the weak safety. We run our counter this way so that we only have to teach our offensive line limited blocking schemes and, to them, up-front on this play it is just power “flipped”. This play should get us potentially into the end zone or get us closer for the game winning field goal attempt from the right hash.
Based on the offensive and defensive play call the play should come down to the execution by 5 players on both sides of the ball.
By virtue of deciding to play man coverage we have negated the corners and middle safety from the run equation. Although we have collapsed any type of strong side run the play Coach Liotta called is as good a play he could have called. As previously mentioned, we believe this play comes down to the ability of the Center to effectively block back on the NG and the double team of the backside OG and TE to eliminate any penetration that could disrupt the mesh point. This will be a key determining factor to the offensive and defensive success(Diagram 4).
Keep in mind that the pressure called is designed to gain penetration in the backfield. The next question involves the point of attack from the Safety on the weak side. Because his aiming point will be the backside shoulder of the QB, how quickly the HB can adjust to the safeties course will be a determining factor for the QB and how soon he is forced to pull the ball. That leaves the pulling OG and the position of the Will linebacker. By virtue of the TE down block the Will backer will scrape hard off the TE’s down block. (Boot is not a concern as we have decided to collapse both edges.) As with the penetration by the weakside DE and NG, the Will backer will need to fit tight off the TE’s down block to force the backside OG to make a quick decision on whether he wants to “kick out” or “log” the Will. All things being equal, I believe it comes down to the Sam backer’s ability to get over the top quickly as he should read the pulling OG to finish the play. Makes for an interesting conclusion to both play calls.
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