My favorite pass concept of the past five years has to be the Double Post concept. A well run post is one of the most difficult routes to cover, so my thought is why not run 2!? The Double Post concept is something that has been around the NFL and College for a long time. In the West Coast, it is run as a Dino Double Post and a wrinkle on it was made famous by Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators.
It is not a play that I see talked about a lot by high school coaches, and I think that is because it is not part of the most popular offense, the Air Raid. I love running 4-Verts, but to me, the teaching time required for the QB to become great at 4-Verts is a lot more than is required for success with the Double Post. Essentially, the QB is reading a single defender. Obviously, there is a little more to it, but all it boils down to is having the QB read the Safety to the call side. He will dictate what the QB will do with the ball almost every single time.
Before we get into what the QB is looking at and how to read it, let’s talk about how we teach the routes. We teach a concept based passing system, so our players never learn a numbered route tree. We tell them the rules for the receivers based on #1, #2, and #3. The receivers are counted from the outside in, so the widest receiver is #1, and then we count from there. We also teach the routes to be yardage based, not by the number of steps.
Double Post Routes
- Frontside #1 = COP (Corner-Post): This route is designed to win and put the CB on outside leverage of the WR. Push vertical for 7-yards, plant with inside foot, take 3 hard steps to the Corner (front pylon), plant with your outside foot, SINK HIPS and burst to the near upright of the goal post for 3 steps before looking back for the ball.
- Frontside #2 = Post: Push vertical for 7-8 yards, step 45 degrees to the outside with a great head and shoulder fake and burst to the post aiming for the far upright of the goal post.
- Frontside #3 = Speedo: First two steps vertical and on the 3rd step, roll to the outside. Pull your head and elbow through to flatten and run out of the break on your 4th step. Do not hard cut, chop your feet or lose speed through the cut.
- Backside #1 = Hitch: Attack the outside shoulder of the defender over you. Look at the DB right in the eyes and drive hard to 6-yards. You must pump your arms violently throughout the break and all your body language must tell the DB that you are going vertical. Snap head and shoulders around expecting the ball, DO NOT DRIFT INTO THE CUT. After the catch, spin to the outside and dip your upfield shoulder to give the DB a smaller target to tackle.
- Backside #2 = Corner: Push vertical to 7-8 yards, head and shoulder fake to the inside, plant off inside foot and break to the outside. Take 3 hard steps before looking back for the abll. Aiming point is the front pylon, if we are inside the 20-yard line, aiming point is the back pylon.
- Backside #3 = Shallow: Initial aiming point is the back feet of the defensive lineman closest to your alignment. You want to get across the field with depth as quickly as possible and you should be at 5-yards by the time you reach the opposite OT. Do not stop on your route, once you get outside the opposite hash, you can slow yourself by showing your numbers to the QB to encourage him to stop you with the ball. Against man-to-man, stair step on the way across to create separation.
Double Post can be protected with any type of 5 or 6-man protection. We usually preferred to protect with 6 because when we called this, we wanted to take a shot, so the extra protection was nice to have. If it is 6-man protection, we would have the RB Check Release between the tackles. Our favorite way to run this concept is with Play-Action. Attach whatever your favorite run action is to the play and protect it the same way. We never got good at it, but this is a good time to pull some lineman for protection as well to really sell the run concept. Our 6-man protection was Half-Man, Half Slide.
Attacking Coverages and QB Reads
Double Post was our answer to all 2-High Safety coverages, and especially against Cover 4 with a flat footed safety trying to read run action. The frontside of the route is not what we want to throw against single high safety coverages because it is most likely that the CB will have inside leverage against the COP route. It can work against Cover 3 or Cover 1, but we have better options to attack those looks.
As I said before, the read for the QB is very simple. Pre-Snap, he finds the safety to the call side. If the safety is down, then he knows that he will read the Backside, or Smash concept. The Smash concept is strong against Cover 3 and we try to train our QB’s to take what they get with the read on the CB for the Hitch or Corner.
If the call side safety is not in the box, then he is who the QB will be reading post snap as well. The read for the QB is Inside Post to COP. If the safety does not squeeze inside to cover the Inside Post, the QB will put a Level 2 ball to the Inside Post as soon as he hits the back foot of his drop. We are exclusively out of the shotgun, so on his third step of the drop, the ball is gone. If the safety squeezes the post or is sitting flat footed, the QB will throw the COP route. When he hits the 3rd step of his drop, he will gather (most people call this a hitch) and throw the COP. Our rule on the COP route is that it is a Level 3 TD throw every single time. If he has to try to fit it in a tight window, then the route is not open, the ball should be thrown high and deep so the WR can run under it.
It is our belief that our WR will always win a 1-on-1 when running the COP route. If he cannot win that route, we will not be calling this concept very often.
There are not many limits to how you can formation the Double Post as long as you can have two receivers to the call side. It is an effective play if the second receiver is a TE or a Slot Receiver. I would recommend that you run it out of whatever formation is your best for running the football. We were the most successful at running it out of 2×2 Spread with fake Jet Play-Action going to the Double Post side. We also like the 2×2 Spread look because of the Smash Concept to the backside. First, it gives us a nice bailout if the QB does not like the look he is getting to the call side, and second, it holds the backside safety by having to cover the Corner route.
Empty formations are another good way to attack the defense as many teams will go 2-High against Empty. By putting the call side to the 2-WR side, you will still have a Shallow route to throw on any type of blitz that you need to adjust to.
One way to dress up this concept is to stack your receivers, or to use short motion on the call side. By aligning in a stack, it should almost guarantee that you will have inside leverage on the CB that will usually align to the outside. The other way to get that same leverage is to motion your #1 receiver inside of your #2 receiver just prior to the snap.
We have not found the need to tag this concept yet, but it is something that can definitely be done and will be something we look at in the future. Possibly the most famous tag on this concept would be Mills. The tag changes the Inside Post to be a Dig or a Curl. Mills was made famous by Steve Spurrier and is broken down by these great articles:
Another tag that could be very effective after some success with the Double Post, is to tag the Inside Post to a Post-Corner route. For us, that is a different concept that we call Scissors, but if a CB is working as hard as he can to get over the top of the COP route, it can leave the Post-Corner route wide open to the outside.
In this clip, the WR does a good job of getting the CB outside of him and leads to a TD.
On this play, it is pretty well defended by the defense, but the combination of the good throw (high and deep) and the WR gaining leverage, it is a big play for the offense.
Here the QB hits the Inside Post but has to wait a little bit for him to clear the LB