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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nevada's "Horn Play" from the pistol

I wrote a brief overview of the Nevada Wolfpack's pistol offense for Dr Saturday. One interesting play that I didn't have the space to mention was their "horn" play, which is kind of like a combination between the old counter-trey and the pin-and-pull version of the outside zone.

The mechanics are fairly simple. They always run it to the tight end side. The playside of the line (the side the ball is going to) basically alternates between "down blocks" and "pull blocks": the tight-end blocks down on the defensive end, while the tackle pulls and kicks out the outside linebacker; and the playside guard blocks down on the defensive tackle or nose guard, while the center pulls and leads (called a "fold block") up to the linebacker. On the backside, the line essentially steps down and seals off the pursuit.

In the backfield, the quarterback reverses out and the runner takes a few counter or delay steps before starting to the playside.

The idea is to get some misdirection but not to use full pullers like on counter-trey; that way the linebackers freeze and don't flow so fast to where the run is going. Relatedly, they get good angles on the playside with all the "down blocks" and kickouts. The runner can either cut it inside the tackle behind the pulling center, or between the tight-end's down block and the tackle's kick out, or take it completely around end. Below is a video clip of Nevada running this play. (And check out the effort the center gives, even if he doesn't actually block anyone.)


Anonymous said...


Wow. As a Wing T guy I'm loving this play. Reminds me of the 22/28 off the buck series.

Dare I go into the pistol this season...?

Anonymous said...

Indiana will be running the Pistol this season.

Doc said...

LSU runs the exact same play quite a bit.

Gustaf Hallgren said...

At a clinic a couple of years ago, Jim Mastro, the RB coach at Nevada, said that the Horn play is basically the old wing-t buck sweep.

Unknown said...

Great write up however it is the Wolf Pack and not the "Wolfpack". NC State is the Wolfpack but Nevada is the Wolf Pack.

Ted Seay said...

Chris: The idea is to get some misdirection but not to use full pullers like on counter-trey; that way the linebackers freeze and don't flow so fast to where the run is going.

Of course, it would help if the Counter Trey(Deuce/Ace/Gap) as it is usually run these days actually countered something. To me the so-called Counter Trey is a Power play with one step of "misdirection", and that's why I like the play so much as a (true) counter to the Fly sweep, where the defense gets to watch a receiver in motion across 1/3 of the field before the flow starts back the other way at the snap.

LB's tend to pay a lot less attention to linemen pulling one way when there is a legitimate 4.3 threat about to hit the opposite perimeter at full speed.

You know -- a threat actually worth countering against by the offense?


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billmountjoy said...

The Counter Trey/Duece/Gap IS the Counter to the Inside Zone.

Joe Jacoby detailed this is his lecture at Godwin HS (Richmond, Va) in July 2009.