Defending the Option

More and more offensive coordinators are adding the triple option to their playbook. Here are just a few of the perks that come with running the triple option:

  • Quarterbacks with the ability to read can pick apart defenses.
  • Coaches can run the same play using multiple formations.
  • Plays can be called from the line of scrimmage (no huddle).

The triple option can be confusing for defenses, but one solution to defending it is rather basic – just man up!

The best way to counter a strong read option is to assign every defender a player that they have to match up with.

For example, assign the defensive end to the quarterback. The end is to attack the quarterback every play on the option regardless of whether he has the ball or not. This eliminates all the guesswork and reading on a defensive level. Assign the middle linebacker to the half back- make contact even if he is not the ball carrier. The outside linebacker matches up with the slot receiver or the fullback if there are two backs in the backfield. All key personnel on defense should be matched up with offensive players that have a essential role in the option.

Another way to defend the option is to load the box or bring more defenders close toward the line of scrimmage. This puts pressure on the offense to adjust blocking assignments because the first two options are runs (first the halfback and then the quarterback). Add a blitz to this package and force the quarterback to make tough decisions under duress.

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