Motion in the Spread Offense Running Game

Using Motion in the Spread Offense Running Game
By: Jack Heneghan
            In the spread offense, wide receiver motion can be used to open up the running game. This article will cover three types of motion, motion to a Pistol set, motion to a two-back set, and speed sweep motion. Many of these plays use motion to provide different types of zone read style reads and they are all easy to flip. They all start out from a base 2 x 2, 1-back set.  For each motion there is a base play and another play to use if the defense is keying on the base play. Since the base plays are fairly self explanatory, only the secondary plays are diagrammed. They are diagrammed with 6 defenders (4 d-linemen and 2 linebackers) in the box.
            The first type of motion is the slot motion to a pistol set. By sending a slot in motion behind the quarterback, the QB now has more options, a back to his side, and a back behind him. The first play is a zone-read triple option. With the line sliding to the left, the left defensive end is unblocked. The QB makes a zone read on him and has the slot as a pitchman if he decides to keep it. If the end starts keying on this, you can run a counter to exploit him. The counter starts the same way as the first play, but in the counter the QB always hands off the ball to the back running left. While the QB and slot execute the option fake, the back with the ball cuts across the formation and runs in the space vacated by the end pursuing the option.
            The second motion is the slot motion to a two-back set. Out of this motion you can run the belly triple option by using the zone read with either of the backs and have the other run behind ready for the option pitch. It the defense starts stopping this then the QB power is a good changeup. It starts the same way, but this time the after the zone fake, the QB cuts back and follows his lead blocker through the hole.
            The final type of motion is the speed sweep motion. This motion has a few more options. If you motion from the running back’s side there is one set of plays, but if you motion from the other side, there is another. If you motion to the running back from the opposite side of the formation, you can give to the sweep, fake the sweep and give to the back going the other way, or have the QB fake the sweep and keep it the other way (with a possible inside shovel pass away from the speed action). If motion comes from the running back side away, the options are the sweep, or the fake sweep and speed option the other way. If you do fake the sweep and speed option away, it is important that the center gets to the second level if he is uncovered.
            Motion can help to open up running lanes in the spread offense. Motion allows you to get your playmakers the ball so they can exploit mismatches. These plays are only the beginning; hopefully this article gets you thinking about other plays using pre-snap motions and some complimentary passes or screens.
For questions or comments, contact Jack Heneghan at email:  [email protected]

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