Friday, February 15, 2013

Pistol Zone Read- Accounting for Gap Exchange

Two Tracking Two

One concept we like on offense is the concept of two offensive players tracking two defensive players. This is a very important concept in our option game from the pistol and offset look from the gun. When we started running the zone read in 1999, defenses were vanilla in how they defended us. By 2003 and 2004, however, defensive coordinators started to cloud the read for the quarterback.

The favorite stunt we would see was the defensive end running the heel line, while the read side inside linebacker would work the C gap. Typically this stunt was run when we got a one technique and a 5 technique to the side we set our back. The first time we saw this our quarterback got hit in the mouth. The defensive end running the heel line gave the quarterback a pull read. It was frustrating for the quarterback as he was doing exactly what he had been coached to do. 

Our staff sat down the following Sunday and began to look for solutions.  Little did we know the answer was already in our playbook. Because we had been running midline with great success for several years, we had seen a similar gap exchange from the Mike LB and the 3 technique. The 3 technique would squeeze the release of the guard, while the Mike would work over the top into the B gap. To counter this we had a second player tracking the Mike linebacker.

We got on the white board and started looking at how we could make the same concept work with our zone read game. We ended up with a simple concept that could work with any of our zone read concepts, as well as our inside veer play. We would use a second player to track the playside linebacker, along with our read side offensive tackle.

Our read side tackle and our bonus player would both have their eyes on the playside linebacker. If the playside linebacker stepped up in the B gap, the tackle would block him. The second player tracking the playside backer would climb to the next most dangerous man. 

If the playside linebacker scraped outside, the second player tracking the PSLB would block him, while the tackle would work to the next most dangerous man.  

In addition, we also turned our inside zone read into a triple option by adding a pitch phase. From our 2x2 look our inside receiver would be our pitch man. This keeps the defense from rolling a safety down to play the quarterback. They must honor the pitch phase. 

Here is a clip of this two track two concept in action with a pitch phase.

In the clip, our second player tracking the read side backer took a poor angle and got leveraged by the safety. Instead of a 25 yard gain, we settled for a 9 yard gain.

Here is another example, where our playside tackle gets a body on the side backer, and the Y climbs to the safety. The triple option aspect forced the defense to play assignment football.

As we expanded and grew our pistol offense, we were able to be creative with the alignment of the second player tracking the read side backer.  Any of our skill players could be the second player tracking the playside linebacker. We could align them in the backfield, or as a wing or slot to or away from the read side. In the picture below, the F is aligned in a slot and works across the formation to work with the read side tackle to account for the playside inside linebacker.

 A lot of coaches ask if he gets in the way of the pistol back. The only way this happens is if he doesn't hustle on the snap.

Below is the back aligned in the backfield becoming the second player tracking the read side backer.

Another rule we added was that our read side tackle blocked anything that crossed his face. If the read player crossed his face, we blocked him. Instead of determining our read pre-snap, we told our QB to read the C gap player, after the snap.

As defenses began to catch-up with the zone read, we had to adjust how we read the C gap. Sometimes we would get three players moving on the read side, and the quarterback had to be drilled to make a post snap determination of who his read is.

We must differentiate when we need to have a second player tracking the playside backer. If we are getting a slant across the tackle's face, the tackle would block him and the QB adjusts his read to the C gap player. If C gap player runs the heel line, we want to get a second player tracking the PSLB to account for the gap exchange.

I hope there is something you can use from this blog post. These are ideas you may want to consider if teams like to gap exchange your read game. 

If you are looking for more information on the two tracking two concept, check out 101 Pistol Option Plays. It is available on Amazon and from Coaches Choice. The ebook is only available here:

Also, published a couple of iBooks that can help your program with X's and O's. The first is on Installing RPO's into any offense. Here is a link to the iBooks version: The ibooks version includes explanations, diagrams, and video clips on multiple RPO Concepts. It will give you a simple process for implementing them into your offense.
If you don't have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can order the Amazon version for the Kindle. It has everything except the embedded video. You can order it here:

I also wrote a book on Tempo. It will greatly help you build a multiple tempo system with simple communication that will allow your kids to play with confidence. It also had over an hour of video clips! You can order the ibooks version here:

Order the Amazon Kindle version here:
Follow me on Twitter: Coach Vint's Twitter Page

One of the keys to our success was tremendous preparation!The key to  preparation was our outstanding group of documents we used for all three phases. If you are looking for fully editable and customizable documents that you can tailor to your program, I have made mine available. 

Here is a link to my offensive game planning documents:
It includes everything from a scouting report template, to practice plans, to a two-sided color call sheet, and more! Each of the nine documents are fully editable and customizable! Order today for under $15 and download them tonight!

Here is a link to the defensive game planning documents. It includes 12 fully editable and customizable documents.

And finally, I put together a special teams resource. This has everything you need, included drill tape, practice tape, and game footage. It includes teaching presentations and scouting forms just for special teams!

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