Written by: Garrett Wingate
About: Coach Wingate for the last 3 years has been an Asst. Coach at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, N.C and is currently a Ed.D. candidate at UNCG in Kinesiology. He also served in various roles at North Pitt High School since 2014, with the last role being Head Coach. Before coaching in high school, he interned for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and worked for the East Carolina Football Team under Skip Holtz and Ruffin McNeil from 2007-2013.
In the last article I explained how the Air Raid Offense has evolved in some circles into what we now refer to as the “Power Raid.” If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here. It gives a better explanation of what the Power Raid offense is.
In this article I want to explain basic formations and plays that you can use and incorporate in your offense using the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method. As a reference point one of the best high schools to run a version of the Power Raid would be Hoover High School in Alabama during the MTV 2-A-Days series. I added their playbook as well as some game film as a reference below.
The first thing I want to mention is you can be as complex or as simple as you want to be. The beauty of the Air Raid offense is the simplicity. Like I stated before the issue with the Air Raid offense is the running game if you aren’t completing passes. Keep in mind while looking at the plays that I encourage you to think outside of the box and get creative! How do you think Lincoln Riley has been so effective? He thought outside of the box and it shows. At one point at ECU he put his best WR in the “Y” spot instead of the Z to create mismatches with Linebackers. Also Riley now doesn’t run 618 (Y-Stick) like everyone else does. So think outside of the box as you are reading.
I am writing this as though those of you are reading have an understanding of basic Air Raid terminology. If you don’t, check out this website link. It is great for understanding the Mike Leach Air Raid pass plays.
While looking just remember the main concept above it all is: Power Run game, Air Raid passing concepts.
Listed below are some formations that you can use in your offense. If you look most of the formations are similar to the Air Raid formations we see today. Remember the ones below aren’t taking the place of formations like “Early/Late, Empty/Lucky, or others,” these are just some ideas you can use. You can name formations whatever you want to. Here are some notes below when it comes to formations:
- I like to stick to the basic rules Leach and Mumme use when it comes to formations names. Any formation that is a color is 2 RB automatically. Any other name will be 1 RB or none.
- Some coaches like to use different people for different positions. Some coaches like to put the “Y” in the backfield instead of the “H” because the Y is a bigger body than an H normally. Some coaches put the best WR at Y instead of X or Z because they want a mismatch on the LB’s and that puts taller WR’s on the cornerbacks. Remember, there is no right or wrong way, just preference.
- Where you see Black and Red, you could use another name to flip the formation easily to get the backfield players on the otherside, such as Brown or Orange.
To keep it simple I picked two runs to show how they can be utilized out of different formations (Inside Zone and Counter). The same run play ran out of different formations can turn into 4 or 5 different run plays with a one word tag. For example, Lincoln Riley’s main run is counter but he runs it 7 or 8 different ways. One run concept, but can be run a multiple of ways.
The way the runs are called is based on states, and cities or professional teams could be variations of the play. You can chose whatever you want, but I like for there to be rhyme and reason in an offense. Inside Zone is called Idaho and Iowa. If you look at a map of the USA, Iowa and Idaho are located for the most part on the middle of the map and they both start with the letter “I” just like Inside Zone. So Idaho= Left and Iowa=Right. Same thing with counter. Cali is on the left and Carolina is on the right. You can do this for all of your run plays if you wanted. Another example for Midzone could be Montana=Left and Michigan=Right and so forth.
Here are some notes on the run plays:
- Idaho= Left
- Cut= Inside Zone Split Blocking
- Roll= QB Bootleg
- Basic Inside Zone blocking rules are as follows: Double all 1 techniques and base block all 3 techniques.
- The QB read can change depending on the formation and how you want it blocked. These are some versions that you can use to create mismatches.
- When it comes to the Play Action passes and 94, the passing plays are all about the concept. If the players understand the concept of the pass route, then they will know exaclty where to go. For example on “Black Iowa 94 Roll,” The “Y” has to know that he is the 2nd WR in the play so he has to run the sail route.
- A good rule to use is that players in the backfield do not count towards the passing concept in most cases on Play Action. They will have a designed route.
- RPO terminology is simple. The QB will call out the run name to the OL, “Iowa, Iowa!” then give the pass signal to the WR’s. In the case of “Wing Iowa 617,” 617 is the passing concept. All the WR’s have to do is run 617 while the OL will run Iowa.
- The RPO’s are pre-snap reads. If it looks open before the snap, fake the run and then throw it. If the pass is covered, run it.
- On RPO’s in Inside Zone, if the DE is crashing too hard and getting in the passing lane, tell your offensive tackle to block him instead on RPO plays.
- Cali= Left
- H= H will be a puller instead of the OT
- Lead= Lead Block by 2nd RB
- Bounce= F Back motion to the away side of him
- 40’s and 50’s calls are screens= 50= left screens, 40’s= right screens
- Same RPO rules apply
- “Ace Flip Carolina F-Swing” is a RPO designed for the QB. If the Swing route gets covered the QB tucks the ball and runs Carolina.
- There are a million different ways to block counter. These are some basic ways to think about.
In my offense I like the idea that any quick pass can be combined with any run for an RPO. For example 618 (Y-Stick) can be combined with Inside zone, Counter, Power, or Trap.
All I am showing in the examples below are some basic quick game concepts and how they can be ran out of various formations.
Notes on Quick Game:
- Most all quick game passes start with a “6.” Most dropback passes start with a “9.”
- Each 60’s pass play has a special responsibility for the F back. Some plays call for a bubble, angle, or choice route. It all depends on the spacing of the play. As you can see, most of the ones I chose have a “check bubble” release.
- In 2RB in quick game, there will be two choices if there is no blitz from the defense. This includes a bubble and a shoot route. The F back will more than likely run the check bubble because he will be familiar with pass protection and the H will run the shoots.
- One good thing about 2 Backs in the backfield on quick game is the ability to pick up the blitz and close in the box to open up the outside WR’s more.
- The passing game is all about a concept. You can call a pass whatever number you want as long as you follow the passing concept. So 618 should always be a variation of the stick route. As long as you have one WR run the stick, one stay in the flat, and one go deep, that is a stick concept. Think outside of the box!
In selecting the dropback passes I chose 3 that are common (92 Mesh, 94 Y-Sail, and 91 Shallow). As you can tell in the play sheet each one can be run out of different formations. Notes on the plays are below:
- Rodeo= Rollout Right
- The key to passing the ball out of different formations, is making sure your players understand the passing concept. 92= mesh, so there has to be a mesh by 2 WR’s. From there you can add tags out of different formations to make the passes seem like different concepts, but they aren’t.
- On 92 mesh, an F-Back normally has a free bubble release. Just make sure when you have 2 backs in the backfield you have a designed tag for them so they do not get confused. In my examples I used “H-Wheel.”
- On 94 the concept is Y-Sail. Included with the Y-Sail concept I added a slow F screen to the left side. This gets the QB rolling out to the right and if sail is open he should throw it. If it is covered, he will have a backside slow screen.
- On 91 the concept is a shallow-dig. Any receiver can be tagged to run the shallow. All the other inside WR needs to know is that they will be running the dig route.
Hopefully this article sheds some light on what you can do with the Power Raid Offense. My suggestion is that you keep it simple. 4 runs, 4 quick game passes, 4 dropbacks, and then add your screen game. If you start there you will have plenty to choose from. Like I showed earlier, one tag can change the run play to look like another one. Just learn the basics behind each play and then get creative. As long as you follow the basic rules of the play, you can’t go wrong. If you have any questions feel free to contact me! Good Luck!
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