Organizing Pass Plays as Concepts
Further Note on Concepts
Q: I have some questions concerning different passing concepts. Unsurprisingly, I've found many different opinions concerning number of concepts and names for them. I've heard some coaches say that every passing play falls into one of four different concepts, including: vertical stretch, horizontal stretch (outside in, inside out), flood concept, or a single receiver concept. However, I did read the Norm Chow article on your website and saw how there are coaches who believe there are many more than that. This seems confusing. For example, some coaches have a "Quick Game" concept. How can that be a single concept when most of the plays in the quick game use a different concept? In our quick game we have a four verts play that is a vertical stretch concept. [Ed Note: Is it really a vertical stretch? Or a "deep horizontal stetch" on the F/S?] I am aware that a single play can have more than on concept in it and I understand that different coaches have different names for the same plays/routes/concepts etc. I am just looking for some more clarification on ways to tell which category a certain passing play fits.
A: Passing concepts are intended as a tool and a framework to attack defenses. I put up multiple approaches to show that there isn't one hard and fast way to go about it, and to demonstrate that it's just a way of thinking about passes that can improve your approach. I think you can keep the number of concepts fairly small.
I will note that I think there is something to Norm Chow's "oblique" or "triangle" concepts, (which really is just the combination of a hi/low and a horizontal stretch). So my advice is to just tinker with it and come up with a framework that works for you. On one level, I'm convinced that there are really only three "concepts" - vertical stretches (hi/lo), horizontal stretches (in/out or out/in), and man concepts (rubs, option routes, or just plain old routes good against man). Then from there you break them down further (two level or three level vertical stretches; 1-2 in/out reads or 1-2-3; triangles which are both 1-2 hi/lo and 1-2 in/out reads).
In the end, it's about finding a way to structure your offense so that it (a) makes sense, (b) is tight and efficient with a core set of plays, with the best way of achieving this being to eliminate duplicative concepts, and (c) gives you a quick framework to draw upon when attacking defenses.