How to Run the Triple Option Offense in NCAA 14
The triple option offense has been a staple throughout the history of college football. The history of this offense can be traced back to the summer of 1968, as then high school football coach Emory Bellard brought the scheme to Ingleside High School in West Texas. Bellard brought his wishbone style triple option with him when he progressed to the college ranks, where he coached at Texas Texas A&M, and Mississippi State.
QB; FB; 2 WBs; 2 WRs; then you 5 linemen.
The base formation for this offense will be Flexbone-Normal or Wingbone Normal. I personally like to use the wingbone as a base formation. EA added it to last year’s game, and it allows you to run the triple option without any pre-snap motion. To successfully run this offense you will have to spend a good bit of time practicing and getting the reads down. The concept of this offense is to attack the defense with multiple running threats on a single play and gaining a numbers advantage by leaving players unblocked to read.
There are two phases: the dive phase and the pitch phase. The dive read (#1) will typically be the first down lineman outside the B gap (DE in 4-3 and DT in 3-4). This player will be left unblocked for the QB to read. If this guy stays at home you give the the FB. If he attacks the dive you keep with the qb and proceed to the pitch phase. The pitch read key (#2) will be the first man outside of the dive read or stacked behind. If the player commits to the QB you pitch to the WB and turn up field and get what yardage you can. If #2 attacks the WB or plays both you keep with the QB and get what yards you can. The worst thing you can do is try to string the play out laterally. If the defense can do that you lose.
The best part of this offense is if the defense tries to load the box you can burn them through the air. With the flex and wingbone you have 4 quick receiving threats on the field at all times.
That is the basics of this offense. It’s not fancy, as you will end up with more 3-5 yard plays than you will big run. The beauty of this offense, however, is you can bore you opponent to sleep, while possessing the ability to break a big play at any moment. Often times, you can set up these big plays by capitalizing on your opponent’s frustration.
Some of the other key plays are double options such as the speed option and various load options. The Midline option is another key play. It is an option between the FB and QB. FB traps and dives are good quick hitting handoffs to use in short yardage situations. If you are using the Flexbone and your opponent starts shifting to the motion side then counter options are great plays. The play will look like a normal option but after the dive read the QB reverses field and runs the pitch phase back to the motion side. Jet sweeps and WB tosses are good plays to get outside quickly.
• Have a blocker on a defender with a ball carrier behind.
• Have two blockers on one defender with an option play.
• Create one-on-one match-ups in the passing game.
• Often subject your QB to a lot of punishment.
• Very much dependent on solid AI blocking.
• Can be a difficult offense to run effectively if you fall behind multiple scores.
The two most important positions in this offense are QB and FB.
QB: You need at least two guys here. QBs take a pounding in this offense. I prefer to have guys with 85+ speed, 80+ agility and acceleration. You can get by with a guy in the high 70s if he has high agility and acceleration. You also need guys with good carrying and injury ratings. I don’t put a lot of stock into the throwing ratings of guys but accuracy is more important than power. I typically look for Athletes to fill the QB spot. They have much better carry ratings than QB prospects and if push comes to shove you can always throw them in another position in an emergency.
FB: You need a couple of studs. They need good agility, acceleration and break tackle. The minimum for speed is probably the low 80s. If they are fast that is just a bonus. Most of their yards will come inside of the box so they will need to be able to slide over into holes and be able to fight for yards. You can find power backs and undersized TEs to put in this spot. They will have horrible overall ratings but that doesn’t affect them for what you need. It will be different this year with the addition of the Infinity Engine, but a lot of great power backs fell through the cracks last year because they had mid 80s speed. Those are the guys I targeted. Athletes are also a good option here. My best guy last year was a 250 pound athlete recruit that was too slow for what other teams wanted at HB.
WBs: I go for speed guys here. They are not only HBs but WRs as well. If you get some top speed guys out there it creates matchup headaches for the D. In an ideal world these guys would also have some kind of blocking rating but in the past NCAA has never really generated HB recruits that can block. If you want guys here that can block, you can always try to grab some fast FBs. In last year’s game there were a handful of them, but for the most part you are looking for scat backs here.
TEs: I normally don’t recruit TEs for this position. I grab lower talented offensive linemen that have high run blocking and change them to TE. I rarely use sets with a TE
OL: Run blocking and strength is priority #1. Your guys need to be able to pass block some though.
WR: I like big targets that can catch the ball in traffic. I typically look for guys in the 6’3” and up range. They don’t have to be burners but they must have good hands, route running and catch in traffic ratings. I also look for undersized receiving TEs and move them to wideout. With the improved downfield blocking I may end up utilizing this strategy more considering WRs typically have had poor blocking ratings. Remember WRs first job in this offense is to run off or block corners and safeties
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