Introduction of Quick Rhythm Option Routes by Josh Herring

Below is the introduction to Coach Herring’s iBook Quick Rhymth Option Routes.

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It is an exciting time to coach offensive football.   With so many variations in scheme and tempo as well as the advent of run-pass combinations and the increased development of quarterbacks and receivers at a younger and younger age, at times it can seem that defenses are under siege.  We have gone from being one of the two or three spread teams in our entire region to being a part of the majority as more and more teams have chosen to go up-tempo and wide open in their offensive outlook.  However, as defenses become more and more familiar with these types of offenses and continue to adapt their personnel to face them, we face new challenges.  We must constantly work to adapt our own schemes so that we can give our players answers for the myriad defensive concepts we face on a yearly basis.  Further, because we so rarely see the same defensive looks we have observed on film, we must place a premium on adaptability throughout the course of a game.  At Lassiter we are a multiple, up-tempo no-huddle offense.  We use a variety of formations and personnel groupings but base out of a four wide receiver personnel grouping.  While we always strive for balance within our offense, the method of attack we are most known for is a quick rhythm passing game consisting both of quick game and dropback passes which use timing in an attempt to get the ball out quickly and accurately before protection breaks down.

Within our passing game we use a variety of conversion and read routes, from seam reads, to hitch-fade conversions, to option routes with a two-way go either inside or outside.  We have routes which read the technique of inside and outside linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks post-snap. Having our players react post-snap to defensive looks has at times given us a true advantage, especially early in games when even we as coaches may be unsure of what looks we might see.  This work will discuss two forms of “option” routes we use as quick rhythm concepts.  Both not only allow receivers to react to varied coverage looks, but also enable the quarterback to get the ball out rapidly.  We have been incorporating elements of option routes as far back as 2007 in two different states which are highly regarded for high school football excellence (Alabama and Georgia) and feel they can create a significant advantage for the offense if properly executed.


For us, a true “option” route involves a wide receiver reading a defensive player and making a possible two way break off of that defender.  While some may consider any route in which a receiver has more than one choice an “option” route, for us principles such as “keep running vs man and sit vs zone” are ingrained from day one of practice and so don’t necessarily qualify as a true “option route”.

The option routes we will discuss in this article provide a number of rewards.  First of all, they allow you to force the ball to a good player.  An explosive skill player cannot simply be taken away by alignment.  They provide an opportunity for explosive plays as well as high percentage throws that most high school and even middle school quarterbacks can make.  By allowing a player more than one way to beat a single defender, it should theoretically take two men to cover him in a form of in-out bracket coverage (Fig.1) (Fig.2).  If you can succeed in causing the defense to take this step, you have eliminated the “plus-one” advantage that defenses naturally have mathematically.  This means that first, defenses will have difficulty outnumbering your protection, and second that covering one receiver with two defenders should naturally create either isolations or a numbers advantage for you elsewhere most of the time.

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Fourth, these routes complement other parts of our passing game, often looking exactly like another pattern initially, and also attacking defensive over-reaction to common patterns.  Maybe most importantly of all, we have found that option routes can not only make a talented player even more dangerous, but can give less talented players a chance.  Most teams have one or two smart receivers who are smaller or slower than more physically talented skill players, and option routes allow them the freedom to use their brains within a clearly defined set of rules.

Read the rest and get over 2 1/2 hours of video including instructional video, analysis of plays with coaching points, and 70+ cut-ups for your own review.  Coach Herring has presented all the details you need to make option routes part of your offensive attack regardless of what type of system you use.  These concepts are cutting edge and allow for high percentage throws with explosive capabilities.

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