Originally Published: April 5, 2010
Author: Jeff Bayerl
In the Beginning
Since the beginning of time…or at least since 1966, Menominee has run the single wing under Ken Hofer. In the late 1960’s, 1970’s and the early to mid-1980’s we were a running team. We threw the ball 6-8 times per game to keep the defense honest. From the mid-1980’s through the present we’ve become more air oriented.
Passing Through the Years
Our passing game has increased not only the amount of times we throw, but the number of pass plays we now have at our disposal. The one thing that has remained constant through the years is the 49 Short Option Pass. This play is our bread-and-butter play along with our power off-tackle play, 48 Blast.
49 Short Option: The Early Days
In the early days of the 49 Short Option or Flip 41 Short Option play, we had fast wingbacks who could run and catch. This put pressure on the defense to cover our speedy WB. That allowed our QB to get to the flats and catch a lot of passes over the years. The defense has to respect the run but also defend the pass on this play. As the play develops it looks exactly like our 49 Power Sweep.
Do I Cover or Do I Rush?
There have been many teams we’ve played for the first time over the years who could not cover the QB in the flats. Once teams caught on to what we did, they would make it difficult to get the QB out of the backfield by jamming him with a LB on a blitz. To combat that strategy we would sometimes motion the QB out and switch the routes.
Isn’t That Special!
The defenses then came hard off the edge with the DE. Ken then went to what we call “Special” formation.
Special 49 Short Option
Special 49 Short Option was born. Now we have the SE run the Flag route and the WB runs the Out route. The QB now has a better angle to block the DE. This formation has stretched the defense and we end up running the ball more on this play than passing it.
Special 49 Short Option Post
A variation of Special 49 Short Option is 49 Short Option Post. The SE runs 8-10 yards, takes a step towards the flag and cuts to the post. This play almost always results in a touchdown.
49 Short Option Adjusts
When you are having trouble getting your TB to the outside to run this play because the defense comes when you run 49 Short Option, then we run a variation of the play called Esky Pass.
The WB runs at the outside cover man (CB) with his inside shoulder aiming at the defender’s outside shoulder. He runs 8 to 10 yards and breaks sharply to the sideline. The 8 End (right TE) runs an 10-12 yard Flag route. The 2 End (left TE) runs a backside Dig route. If there’s no one in front of him he keeps running. If the OLB sits then the 2 End curls over the right tackle area.
This is a straight drop back pass. Our TB footwork is Step, Cross Over, Hop & Fire. The whole play develops right in front of him. The one that opens first gets the ball which usually is the WB. However, if the Safety does not cover properly, the 8 End (right TE) will be open deep. The backside Dig route is always open.
49 Short Option Drill
How do you get your TB to throw it when he’s supposed to throw it and to the proper receiver? From the freshman level on up we drill this during Skelly Pass Drill.
49 Short Option Drill Pre-snap, the coach tells the CB and LB their responsibilities.
- CB cover WB; LB blitz = QB open
- LB cover WB; CB blitz = WB open
- CB cover WB; LB cover QB = run the ball
Decision Cone: Passer needs to know what to do by the time he reaches the cone.
Two-Point Conversion Play
A killer two-point conversion play is 49 Short Option Throwback. In the past two seasons we’ve won two ballgames with this play.
QB must avoid the DE, get to the endzone and look for the football. It happens fast. You can even put the ball on the left hash mark to get the flow of the defense going aggressively to the left.