In Part 1, we looked at the philosophy of Trick Plays. This included when to call them, what they are used for, and also some of the thoughts people might have about them. In Part 2 we looked at the more basic trick plays that many of you already run.
In this article, we will look at some more advanced, crazier, trickier and riskier trick plays. If you invest some time in these plays, it can give you that one play that can change the game around.
A more advanced form of the toss pass, these plays are used to force the defense to react to the first pass. These are always used with some form of a screen pass in order to make sure the first pass is backwards. When successful, these plays can result in huge gains and it can also open up your screen game for the rest of the game. This past season, we hit one of these chances and it opened up our screens for the rest of the game.
Swing Double Pass
Swing screens are a big part of our offense. We have replaced toss sweep by running these Swing Screens that can get one of our best athletes in space quickly with blockers in front. The trick play we use off of this is to throw a Swing Double Pass. The RB will run his normal Swing path, but will work on getting slightly more depth. The QB will not get a drop, but will catch the snap and execute the throw to the outside.
It is important for the player running the Swing path to sell the swing. No matter what, the ball carrier will tuck the ball away and lower his pads for 2-3 steps. We use receivers in front to protect the screen, and we will only release 3 players into the route. The playside split will run a Block & Go, the BS receiver will run an Over or Post route to try to be in as an option and the QB will release down the opposite sideline. The only read we give the RB is really the Playside Split. If he is open, air it out, if he is not, run the ball. We will alert the RB when we want to look at the throwback to the QB, but that is usually used in the Red Zone.
Fast Screen Double Pass
This is another way we protect our screens and look for big plays. We run a lot of fast screens like a lot of spread teams. For this play, we will align in a 3×1 formation with a player stacked behind the Split Receiver. We like to run this into the boundary as it is an easier throw for the QB. The stacked player will align a little deeper than normal and on the snap, he will immediately take 1-2 steps backwards. The QB will receive the snap, take a step forward and pivot and throw. The receiver will tuck the ball away and dip his shoulders. It winds up looking a lot like the QB play-action that Tim Tebow made famous at Florida.
On this play, we only release 2 players. The receivers to the play side will stay in to protect the thrower. The backside split will run a Deep Post and the QB will release to the opposite side. Once again, the thrower only has one read, throw it to the Post if he is open, or run the ball. We will tell him when we want him to look for the QB, again, usually in the red zone. This past season, we substituted our backup QB as the thrower and the other team did not notice. We underthrew the ball, but we had the opportunity for a big play.
A few years ago, we were looking for some ideas for trick plays to take into the playoffs with us. As we were scouring the 21st Century football trick play repository (YouTube), we came across a play that looked a little different. A college team lined up in a 2×2 spread formation and showed sprint out action to the right. The QB planted once he got flow outside of the Tackle, and threw the ball back to the left to his Left Tackle!! The LT caught the ball and aired it out to a receiver coming across the field from the other side for a huge gain.
As it turned out that season, our LT was also our backup QB. (I know, we were hurting for OL) We decided that this was a play we would add to our game plan. We threw it, but the LT over threw the Receiver in what would have been a sure TD. Our video on the play has been lost and I cannot find the original inspiration on YouTube.
We got this play from YouTube as well, the best resource for trick plays in this modern era. Everyone loves to show off great trick plays. It was run in a Texas State Championship game for a TD. We are a no-huddle check with me team. So the idea behind the play is to line up with everyone, including the OL standing up, looking relaxed.
They are all looking over to the sideline like they are waiting from a call from the coach. The center will have his hand on the ball, the QB will be looking to the sideline as well. There is only one receiver that is involved in the route. The QB will initiate a silent snap and the receiver will take off on a go route. The OL will not move!! This is incredibly important. They will stand there like nothing is going on. The QB will receive the snap, take a drop and let it fly. We have run this in practice and in games. The defense, other than the man covering the receiver releasing on the route, will stand there like nothing is happening.
We ran this in a playoff game and wound up getting a pass interference call for a big first down that led to a TD. When we run this next time, we will change the receiver that will be getting the ball. The entire team is looking to the sideline, that means that most of the defense is half looking to that sideline as well. This play will work best if you release the opposite receiver from your sideline as he will get less attention.
I know the fear…the defense is going to rush and kill my QB. Once you run this in practice and you see how your own defense reacts, I think it is something that is worth having in the playbook for those times when you might be playing a team better than you and you need something to catch them off guard.
This is one of those plays that I don’t think I would ever be able to call in a game, but it worked here! The QB turns his back to the defense and without looking, throws the football like a bouquet to his receiver that is the only one expecting the throw.