In looking over Mouse Davis’ original Run and Shoot Playbook from his tenure as the 1984 Houston Gamblers head coach, here are some tips and notes I came upon.
– Always draw up any pass package against 3 deep coverage (Cover 4 look with 1 deep safety).
– A lot of motion is used to help the QB and receivers determine whether the coverage look is man or zone based. Note that with recent developments/complexities in defenses, may not be as advantageous.
Ace – Double Team block by G and C on man (NT or DT) lined up over C.
Cal – C blocks LB.
Cob – G pulls back to block NT/DT lined up over C. C then pulls around G and blocks LB.
Combo – OT and W or Y receiver wall off DE and LB.
Deuce – Double Team block by G and T on man (DT or MLB/ILB) lined up over G.
Dog – Used in Short Yardage/Goal Line situations. Double Team block by C and G play is aimed towards on man (DT/MLB/ILB) lined up over G.
Dot – Used in Short Yardage/Goal Line situations. Double Team block by C and G play is not aimed towards on man (DT/ILB) lined up over G.
Dudad – Combo Block by G and T on a DE/DT and a LB.
Drive – A bull rush block man on man aiming to drive through the opponent’s numbers. Key block technique in the running game.
Four – Double Team block by the TE and W receiver.
Gee – Combo Block by TE, T, and G. TE and T block against the grain (i.e. block left when play goes right and vice versa) and G pulls out to take on the SLB.
Help – Occurs in pass situations. RB has to block outside while the OL blocks the gaps.
Slip – General term for Combo block by 2 blockers on 1 DL and 1 LB.
Solid – General term for man on man blocking.
Trey – Double Team block by T and TE on man (DE/OLB) over the T.
Major Coverages Faced
Cover 4 Invert: Generally out of a dime (5 DB) package with only 1 safety back deep. The 5th and 6th DB play along the linebackers line.
Cover 4 Buzz: Generally out of a 4-3 package with only 1 safety back deep. The SS takes over for a LB and plays at essentially what looks like a 4-4-3 defense.
Cover 4 Cleo: Generally out of a 4-3 package with both the FS and SS playing deep. The SCB plays tighter on the WR while the WCB plays shallower.
Cover 4 Across: Generally out of a 3-4 package with both the FS and SS playing deep. Utilized against streak routes as all 4 DB drop back.
Cover 4 2: Generally out of a 4-3 package with both the FS and SS playing deep. Both CB play tight up on their respective WR.
Cover 4 5: Similar to the 4 2, however, the big difference is that the WLB and SLB play tight up on the W and Y receivers.
Cover 4 1: Generally out of a 3-4 package with a FS playing deep. LILB has option of blitz/zone drop while SOLB blitzes. SS plays up slightly along ILB lines.
Cat – MLB and WLB blitz at the same time.
Smack – MLB and SLB blitz at the same time.
vs. Bump & Run and Cleo Looks – All out routes turn into fades
vs. Bump & Run and Cleo Looks – All post routes turn into out routes
vs. Man Coverage – All curl and in routes turn into out routes
Route 1 – Slant (Break is made at 6 yards)
Route 2 – Quick Out (Break is made at 8 yards)
Route 3 – Hitch (Break back is made at 9 yards)
Route 4 – Pressure Out (Break is made at 14 yards)
Route 5 – Slide (Break is made at 7 yards)
Route 6 – Choice Out (Break is made at 17 yards)
Route 7 – Choice Post (Break is made at 13 yards)
Route 8 – Post (Break is made at 20 yards)
Route 9 – Corner (Break back from Route 8 is made at 23 yards)
Route 10 – Go and Fade
Route 11 – Cross and Square In (Break from Route 5 is made at 27 yards)
Route 12 – Switch (Break from Route 5 is made at 28 yards)
W and Y Receiver Routes
Route 1 – Flat
Route 2 – Switch (Continues off Route 1)
Route 3 – Streak
Route 4 – Flag (Continues off Route 1 and Break is made at 16 yards)
Route 5 – Post (Continues off Route 3 and Break is made at 16 yards)
Route 6 – Drag/Hot (Break made at 4 yards)
S Back Routes
Route 1 – Screen
Route 2 – Swing
Route 3 – Flat (Continues from Route 1)
Route 4 – Delay (Block then move up to inside zone area)
Route 5 – Drag
Route 6 – Hook (Continues from Route 1. Break back made at 6 yards from line of scrimmage)
Route 7 – Rim (Continues from Route 1. Also known as a wheel route)
Handling Safety Blitz
On 60 and 90 series pass plays, the X and Z receivers must find the safety on their side. The “sight adjust” will be a slant if the corner is playing off or a fade if the corner is playing bump and run. No “sight adjust” if the W or Y receiver is on a flat route towards the side of the pattern.
Uncovered Receiver Signals
A hot call by the receiver with the QB recognizing visually and making the throw or the receiver will grab his facemask with the QB recognizing visually and making the throw.
S Back’s Role if QB Scrambles. X and Z’s routes if QB Scrambles.
S Back is to move in the direction that the QB is scrambling, right or left.
If the QB is scrambling towards, the X/Z receiver changes most routes to a Go/Fade route. An X/Z receiver on a Choice Post, Corner, Cross, Switch route will instead change to a Hook route. If the QB is scrambling away, the X/Z receiver changes all routes to a Drag route.
Basic Rules for all Receivers
Release – Get off the line quickly and try to avoid contact as much as possible. Any physical contact can disrupt the route.
Hot Call – Receiver will make the call in blitz situations by waving hand and screaming “Hot!”
Hook Up Signal – If the opposing DB is giving the short plays or receiver can’t beat DB deep, receiver can throw an arm up and change a Go/Fade into a Hook route.
Perfect Position – When possible, cut back “across” the DB’s face (i.e. force the DB to roll their shoulders and turn). If running a Go/Fade and the DB is in perfect coverage, the receiver has the option of cutting back towards an open area.
Additional Receiver Notes
1: Always read the alignment of CB, S, and LB before the snap. Look for a tip off to what coverage you’re facing.
2: Find out how the DB covers you in relation to the sideline and adapt to it or force the DB to alter it.
3: Always know your position relative to the sideline/goal line/end zone but focus on the catch first.
4: Study the tendencies of each DB and Secondary. Do they play loose or bump & run? Do they gamble a lot? Do they line up inside or outside of your body? How fast are they and know when they start to slow down on Go/Fade routes.
5: Run every single play at absolute full speed. Always expect the QB to throw the ball in your direction.
6: Vary the release you get off the line of scrimmage when going outside, straight ahead, or inside.
7: Change of Direction during the “weave” (i.e. in between the release and break of your route) should be made in a N/S direction and never E/W unless you’re breaking.
8: Vs. Man Coverage fake the man and not the area. Get as close as possible and force the DB to move/react.
9: Vs. Zone Coverage think position and try to find an open area rather than faking the DB.
10: Never shorten the designated depth of the route on a break.
11: When you’ve beaten a DB, be aware of holding/tackling. Separation is imperative!
12: Try to catch the ball in stride and run through the ball.
13: Attack the ball and prepare yourself for a hit whenever the ball is caught.
50 Pass Series – QB has a 2 or 3 step drop. Quick pass game. S Back reads LB on call side of play. If LB comes, block him. If LB drops back, run designed route. On even numbered plays, the Y receiver has a free release and W receiver has a check (block first) release. On odd numbered plays, the Y receiver has a check release and W receiver has a free release.
60 Pass Series – QB will roll out towards the right side.
460 and 461 Pass Series – Designed SBack or W/Y receiver screen plays. QB is to sell play as if a 60/61 pass play.
900 Pass Series – What is termed as pick plays. Involves the W/Y receiver forcing the MLB/ILB to set a “pick” against own SLB/SOLB.
84-85 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed inside dive.
88-89 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed outside stretch play.
80-81 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed draw play. QB is to sell play as if 60/61 pass play.
74-75 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed counter trey play. Aimed inside tackle.
18-19 Run Series – Speed Option plays with QB pitching to SBack.
The Choice (Option) Route
Usually a route concept assigned to a single receiver in a given play. It generally offers the receiver the option of 2 different routes to take, depending on the play of the opposing DB.
The Switch Route
Usually a route concept assigned to two receivers who “cross” each other forcing the opposing DB to catch up or switch coverage designation.