The Rise of the B-Back Toss

OVER THE LAST TWO SEASONS, Navy and Georgia Tech have increased the frequency that they are running the B-Back Toss.  This concept has been helpful to both of these Triple Option college programs. The reason why is that the B-Back Toss occurs at the same width as the Rocket Toss and by tossing the ball to the B-Back, there is no motion that leads the defense to the play.  This column focuses on the rise of the B-Back Toss, why you are going to see this concept more in 2016, and why you could incorporate this concept into your Triple Option Offense.

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BAINBRIDGE ISLAND (WA) — I just got done running my second Triple Option Football Academy Camp of the summer (yes, I know it’s still spring) and I’m sitting down with the coaching staff at Bainbridge High School.  Jeff Rouser, Bainbridge’s recently hired Head Football Coach is sitting down with me and a few members of his staff.  We were talking about the camp and all the positives that derived over the last three days.  The one assistant coache then asked me what I thought about the camp.

“B-Back Toss looks phenomenal” I said.  “The B-Back Toss looked great at the last camp I ran as well (Oklahoma Union High School in South Coffeyville, Oklahoma). When we ran the B-Back Toss, the timing was simple, the ball got tossed just as wide as the Rocket Toss, and there was far less instruction required.”

I felt at this point that we were really on to something that could forever evolve the Triple Option Offense.

When I run a Triple Option Football Academy Camp, I teach the top concepts that Navy, Georgia Tech, and the Citadel run during the previous season.  I combine the data from the prior season, and the concepts they run the most, I teach to my clients and their players.  The B-Back Toss was on the fringe of being part of the 2016 Installation plan.  Navy and Georgia Tech ran it just enough for me to teach it to my clients.  The surprise both coaching staffs had after witnessing the execution of the B-Back Toss was evident.  Both coaching staffs and I had total conviction that if Triple Option is run, and the defense forces a give to the B-Back for less than four yards… then the answer is clear… Toss the ball outside to the B-Back.

FALLS CITY (TX): Read the story of how this small school in Texas scored 680 points in 15 games after Dr. Cella ran his three-day camp with them.

This is an over-simplistic concept to install; however, to become excellent at anything, one must focus on the details.

The Playside Receiver cancels the Deep Defender. So, who is the Deep Defender?  The Deep Defender is the defender who drops over the top of the Receiver when the Receiver sprints off the ball.  Somebody on defense has to do this.  If they didn’t, then you’d come back the next play and throw the ball to the Receiver for a touchdown.  Anyhow, the Deep Defender always starts off as the Corner.  If the Corner bails at the snap, he is the Deep Defender.  Now, if the Corner stands flat-footed or moves forward at the snap, then he is no longer the Deep Defender and the Deep Defender becomes the Safety (unless both the Safety and the Corner moved forward at the snap–then you better throw the vertical for the touchdown on the next play).

Now here’s the following progression the Playside Receiver utilizes to block the Deep Defender: 1- Sprint off the ball; 2- When the Receiver gets three yards away from the Deep Defender, the Receiver breaks down and chops his feet; 3- The Receiver lets the Deep Defender make the first move as the Deep Defender is going to move left or right toward the football; 4- Once the Deep Defender makes the first move, the Receiver laterally shuffles to get even; 5- Once the Receiver is even, the Receiver will sprint forward; 6- Finally, once the Receiver is nose-to-nose and one yard away from the Deep Defender, the Receiver will punch his hands through the sternum of the Receiver, and drive the Receiver vertically backwards through the echo of the whistle.

The Playside A-Back is responsible for the Alley defender.  This is the defender who is located in the… yes, alley.  He will be between the Receiver and the A-Back. Often times, this is the overhang player; however, it could be the Corner or the Safety.

Here, the Playside A-Back will take a rhythmic drop step with his playside foot.  He will crossover on his second step.  Then, the Playside A-Back will start running flat. His goal is to run just past the alley player.  Once he gets past the alley player, he will step forward with his outside foot and turn vertical.  Then, once he is within one yard from the alley player he will put his knee through the crotch of the alley player and simultaneous punch the stomach of the alley player with his inside hand, and then the Playside A-Back will pound his arches vertically through the echo of the whistle.

The great thing about the B-Back Toss is that you are getting the ball away from your Offensive Line.  I mean, why else are you running the Triple Option Offense anyway?  Hopefully, you’re running the offense to take tremendous physical pressure off your Offensive Line.  The B-Back Toss takes the pressure off the Offensive Line–to a totally different level.

The Playside Tackle will veer outside and block Mike to Free Safety.  Here, the Playside Tackle will take a six-inch T step with his playside foot.  This is a step that goes simultaneously lateral and vertical.  The Playside Tackle’s second step is to get his feet even as they were when he was in his stance.  In fact, the inside hand of the Playside Tackle dips down and the Playside Tackle will end up back in his stance.  This is so #1 (the defender aligned on his who is the Quarterback read on the Triple Option) cannot get his hands on the Tackle.

On the Playside Tackle’s third step, the Tackle steps vertical with his outside foot, vertically pounds the ground, and when the Mike Linebacker comes within one yard of the Tackle, the Tackle will utilize his inside hand to punch the stomach of the Mike, and then the Tackle will pound his arches through the echo of the whistle.  If the Mike is not present due to the fact that he blitzed (or other reasons), then the Tackle will run vertically.  When the Free Safety appears within one yard of the Tackle, the tackle will punch his inside hand to the playside stomach of the free safety, and the Tackle will pound all 14 cleats of his into the ground through the echo of the whistle.

B-Back Toss v. 4-4
B-Back Toss v. 4-4

The Playside Guard is going to open flat with his playside foot and run into the alley.  His eyes are focused on the next alley defender.  The Playside Guard will stay flat past this alley defender, and once he gets outside this alley defender, the Playside Guard is going to turn upward with his outside foot.  When the Playside Guard gets one yard away from the alley defender, the Playside Guard is going to put his knee through the crotch of this alley defender, simultaneously punch his inside hand through the playside stomach of the alley defender, and then the Playside Guard will vertically pound his arches through the echo of the whistle.

The Center, Backside Guard, and Backside Tackle all Scoop.  They are all going to step flat with their playside foot and run past the threat in their gap.  If there is a threat in their gap, they will get totally and completely past the threat in their gap, dip their inside hand down to the ground to cancel penetration, step vertical with their playside foot, and vertically move through the second to the third level.  They will utilize their outside hand to punch anymore who attempts to cross from the backside to the playside, as they move from the second to the third level.  If anyone does, the Center and the Backside Guard/Tackle will punch the playside stomach of the crossover defender with their outside hand and then they will pound their arches through the echo of the whistle.

Then, there’s the Backside A-Back.  His job is known as “the filler.”  The Playside A-Back is going to T step with his playside foot through the outside foot of the Backside Tackle.  The Backside A-Back is going to vertically move through the outside foot of the Tackle leaving “no green in between him and the Backside Tackle.”  Once a threat appears, the Backside A-Back will put his knee through the crotch of the threat, punch his inside hand through the playside stomach of the threat, and the Backside A will pound his arches through the echo of the whistle.

PHIL ZUKOWSKI: The Cashmere (WA) High School Coach reflects on his amazing season after Dr. Cella ran his three-day Triple Option Football Academy Camp at Phil’s high school.

The Backside Receiver has the most thankless job in the program.  He is going to take a four-inch step with his inside foot and run through the goal-post.  If the Backside Corner gets even with him during the process, the Backside Receiver is going to utilize the same technique he would utilize to block the Deep Defender.  This block by the Backside Receiver often determines the difference between a 15-yard gain and a touchdown.  The Backside Corner is the insurance policy of the defense, and the Backside Receiver must immediately cancel this insurance policy.

The Quarterback has a three-step progression (literally) to Toss the football. 1- He takes a six inch punch step with his Playside foot; 2- He takes his backside foot and swings it at 135 degrees, so the backside foot is exactly pointing  one yard outside the Playside tackle. This is where the Quarterback is going to toss the ball; 3- He takes his Playside foot, steps, and pivots into the pitch.  The Quarterback gets his hands under the bottom 20 percent of the ball.  With tight knuckles and the ball at his hip, he underhands a tight knuckleball to the B-Back who catches the ball five yards deep and one yard outside of the Playside Tackle.

The B-Back is the star of the play.  He opens flat with his Playside foot and will run through the ball catching the ball one yard outside the tackle at a depth of five yards.  Once he has the ball, he will hit the seam created by the Playside Reciever, Playside A, and Playside Guard.  The B-Back’s goal is to continually work outside and score.

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B-Back Toss v. 4-3

The B-Back is getting the ball one yard outside the Playside Tackle at a depth of five yards.  At all these Triple Option Football Academy Camps I run, I see so many high school Quarterbacks not pitch the ball wide enough.  This has to become an obsession on the part of the coach(es) who is/are responsible for the Quarterback.

Another thing about the B-Back Toss is that you don’t just run the play to run the play.  I see so many high school coaches running plays with the intention that they simply hope the play works.  That’s not how this offense works and that’s not how the B-Back Toss works.  The B-Back Toss is run when you execute Triple Option, and on the give to the B-Back, he gains less than four yards.  When the defense allows the B-Back to run the dive, this means that they are boxing the offense inside.  The last thing the defense wants the offense to do is to get the play outside.  So this is why you run the B-Back Toss.

One great thing about the B-Back Toss is that you don’t have to block #1 in the count… or any other Defensive Lineman for that matter.  Now #1 is the defender that is aligned on the Playside Tackle.  Due to the fact that the ball is pitched so wide and the Playside Tackle veers outside of #1, #1 is stuck in the B-gap.  The only defenders that can make the tackle are any defenders from the C-gap out.  This is why the ball must be pitched one yard outside the Playside Tackle at a depth of five yards.  Any pitch that is narrower than this could invite #1 to fly upfield and make the tackle.

The B-Back Toss is a fabulous concept for when you can’t get four yards on the give phase of the Triple Option.  If you can’t go inside with the B-Back, go outside with the B-Back.

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