From Quick Rhythm Option Routes Ch1: “Sloppy” (Slot Option)

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In 2008 the traditional Air Raid version of Y Stick was a major part of our passing attack, and had been for several seasons.  In a region that had experience defending passing teams (including multiple variations of the Air Raid/Tony Franklin/Hal Mumme/Mike Leach style system we ran) for years, basic patterns had grown increasingly difficult to complete due to familiarity with these types of offenses and new and advanced combo coverage systems.  The proliferation at even the high school level of the sophisticated pattern-match schemes popularized by coaches like Nick Saban certainly can make life more difficult for a passing offense.  The Stick pattern which had once been an automatic completion was often covered immediately with “in-out” coverage techniques (Fig.3).  Teams had so thoroughly scouted common tendencies such as cheating the RB up and out to run an Arrow to the flat, that simply by alignment linebackers would immediately begin yelling “Stick! Stick!”

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Figure 3- LB In-Out coverage technique to cover stick

We needed ways to attack weak away from the “push” of the Mike.  Although we have since developed numerous ways to attack aggressive Mike linebackers who push immediately to the field or three receiver side of a formation, our original method was the “Sloppy” pattern (Fig.4).  “Sloppy” stands for “Slot-Option” in our nomenclature.  Pro and college teams have used variations of the pattern for years.  NFL third down backs like Darren Sproles have made a living by running versions such as “HB Choice” from the backfield.  For us, what began as a simple 2×2 tag has expanded to multiple formations and positions over the years and continues to be a highly efficient and at times explosive pass play.

Sloppy provides a way for a receiver to uncover versus any matched defender (Fig.5).  Perhaps the greatest positive is that not only is the route a high percentage throw for the QB, but it provides a big play opportunity that many quick game patterns lack.

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