General Bootleg Principles for Quarterback (1957 and today)

In 1957 Forest Evashevski’s book Scoring Power with the Wing-T became a bible for wing-t coaches. As I was flipping through the pages, two things got my attention. The first was in the text where Evashevski points out that the quarterback in the wing-t offense is really no different than the spinner fullback in the single wing offense. I think back to spring of 2012 when I told our quarterbacks that I was going to turn them into spinner backs with our new reverse-out footwork from the pistol. This was an effective change for us in creating misdirection and helping our play action, and was the basis for Evashevski’s backfield action.

The second part of the book which I took a snap shot of was a section of text with the heading, “General Bootleg Principles for Quarterback.”

photo (4)

Many of these coaching points are very similar to the coaching points used in our boot/naked package.

I will give you our take on each coaching point:

1. Never start the bootleg path until the fake is complete to the running back. We require our quarterbacks to carry their fake two steps vertically with their head and hands snapped to the running back.

naked snap

2. The best possible path is parallel to the line of scrimmage. Once the quarterback is two steps vertically, he can snap his head and shoulders out of the fake and attack the edge.

3. When possible, the ball should be hidden from the time it arrives in the faking pocket. Our quarterbacks are taught to put the ball on the opposite hip flexor to keep it completely hidden from the defense.

opp hip

4. The success of the bootleg depends on the faking and blocking of the remaining 10 men in the play. Our coaching point here is that we tell the O-Line to fully block the run, but don’t get caught down field illegally. The wham or pin block by the H-back adds to the run keys for the defense.

5. Do not panic and show the ball if the end drives at you. He is only guessing you have the ball. Continue with head fake. We make this a point with our quarterbacks. They must stay on their naked course. Most of the time we have someone at least brushing that end to make him think run.

6. The play is only good as the details of the quarterback. We constantly reinforce this coaching point. We want to see the run and the pass look exactly the same as far as quarterback mechanics and tempo.

7. The bootleg does not require a great passer, but it does require a great faker. Because the reads become very clean, this type of passing attack does not require a quarterback who has a huge arm. An athlete can be effective in the boot/naked package if he is consistent in his run fakes and naked mechanics.

8. Throw for the touchdown before running or throwing for the first down. This is a principal we believe in and build into the quarterbacks progression. His first look is the one that can hit big, like in the example below.

9. Know the paths of all of the bootlegs. We run naked off of all our runs and the quarterback must make each run look like the corresponding naked.

The game is constantly evolving, but many things remain the same.


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