Quick Passing Game

 Before putting in a 3 step game, I did a study which included video of our opponents 3 step games at the time.  What I found was that people were throwing a lot of fades in the 3 step game. I wanted a high percentage quick game - not a 50% passing game.  I didn't want to have the Quarterback and receivers to have to change routes or do sight adjusts because of the lack of practice time to do it. I also wanted an answer for the traditional 2 deep coverage which I could still have a high completion.  I basically wanted 1st and 2nd down calls that were like long handoffs. 

The study showed the number one route thrown was fade and the least route thrown was hitch.  The passing completion percentage was not even close with hitch winning out by a large margin.  So I wanted to put in a 3 step game that can give the quarterback options and yet be simple in design.

Long Handoffs

Three step passing game is a high percentage passing game.  We like to use this package as another run game.  You can utilitize run formations as well as passing formations.  With our running game we need to run from these same formations.

We use combination routes to control the defensive adjustments.  Also, we limit the route adjustments versus different coverage's. We utilize motions, shifts and formations with our passing game and still run the same plays.


The system is simple to teach the Quarterbacks.  When you are the quarterback running a play, you know you have a chance to be successful when you hand the ball off.  What is the number one thing that hurts the passing game?  It is Quarterback reads.  Out of 10 passes how many times does the QB throw the ball to the receiver you want him to throw the ball to?  Some coaches respond with one some say 5.  If you only get the QB to throw to the receiver you want him to - 5 out 10 times - You are not going to have much success.  Now, out of the 5 throws to the man you want him to throw to, the pass has to be accurate and the receiver 10 out of 10 times.

The three step drop passing game is an excellent first down play.  You do not have to wait until third down to call pass plays.

This offense is built around the fact that whoever has the chalk last wins. In the game who has the chalk last?  The quarterback.  In the no huddle attack - the coach can as well.

 In the NFL watch Tom Brady - everything he does before the snap is designed to gather information.  Shifting of formations, motions, double counts, delayed counts - all is for him to gather information - to help him attack the weakness of the defense.  Well, we are obviously not in the NFL or have Tom Brady at Quarterback but we can design our passing attack to do the same thing.

When we get in a game, I call the play and we line up on the line of scrimmage.  I put the chalk down. The defensive coordinator calls his defense and puts the chalk down.  The two coordinators are done.

Who has the chalk last? The quarterback goes underneath the center, he has the chalk last.  In this offense we want to keep the chalk in the quarterback's hand as much as possible.  I want to make sure he has the chalk last.

Three step

On our three step game  all of our routes have an answer against all coverages.  We want to teach the quarterback how to recognize coverage.  

***However at a later date and a separate menu button we will talk more in depth about recognition of coverage.

All we need to know for our 3 step game is if it's Man or Zone coverage. If Zone coverage - is it soft or hard coverage.

If its zone coverage - is it soft or hard?

Soft Coverage - The corner is off 5 yards or more and bails on snap.

Hard Coverage - watch the safeties they are the truth tellers.  The corners are liars by nature.  The safeties will have to align close to the man they are covering and will be in a different alignment on the snap or just after the snap.


Combination Routes Good versus
Hitch Combo Soft Coverage
Out Combo Soft Coverage
Slice Combo Any Zone
Flat Combo Any Zone
Jet Combo Man Coverage
Under Combo Any Zone

 We read the combination routes inside out.  

The hitch combo is good against soft coverage.  The out combination is good against soft coverage.  The slice combo is good against any zone but especially Hard zone.  The under combo is good against zone coverage but especially good against Hard zone. The Flat combo is good against any zone coverage.  The jet combo is good against Man coverage.  This is all the Quarterback needs to know. If he knows this page we are going to be good.  The slice combo is good against anything, really.  It is good against the soft coverage.  We read inside out.  

The backside routes are as follows:

Backside is TE - flat combo

Backside is WR - Hitch combo

Backside is Single HB - Quick out

Wide Receiver Technique

 When we talk to wide receivers we talk to them about techniques.  First I want one step breaks.  I do not want the receiver to chop his feet.  Second I want the receiver's arms inside.  We do not want the arms to stop.  We want them to drive the arms.  Third I want the receiver's eyes up.  We talk about that all of the time.  We tell them whatever they do they must regain leverage.  They must make the break that will allow them to regain the leverage.  He may have to get under the defender to get leverage. What is leverage?  It is when you are on an outside route, you are outside of the defender.  Inside route, inside the defender.

Read Progression

On the three step drop game the quarterback is reading inside out.  Can you throw to the inside receiver?  If you can't  you throw to the outside receiver.

We used to run a slant flat as our base.  We got away from that.  We went to a double slant in combo instead.  Here is the reason why. We have changed the read for the QB.  I want a simple, simple read for the quarterback on the three step drop so we can throw to the correct receiver eight or nine times out of ten.  We are still reading the slant  inside-out.  Can we throw the inside slant?  Yes I can.  Then throw it. If he can't complete it we want to throw to the outside man.

We ask our quarterback - what is the coverage?  It is soft coverage. Where is he going?  We are going inside, outside, hitch. The quarterback takes a three step drop.  The first step is a big step.  The first step determines the speed of the drop.  The second and third steps are little steps.  We say big one, little two.  It is one, two and three, throw.  He looks inside first.  If he does not like it he looks outside.  The quarterback sees soft coverage and he drops back and throw to the tight end.

The first thing we ask the quarterback is why did he throw a certain route?  If you can get your quarterback to ask himself that question it will help him.  Do you think the could become pretty good?  I ask him every single time.  We ask him during two-a-days.  You have to work on them all the time.

Our jet combination is good against any man coverage.  The outside receivers run a go route.  The inside receiver is running a four step rollover.  He goes 1,2,3 and 4 and runs the rollover.  It is a four step rollover.  It is all about speed on this route.  

How many defenders does the defense have lined up to the left of the rollover route?  Eight or more.  How many defenders are on the right side of the rollover?  Right! They only have two defenders over on the right side.  The quarterback reads inside out.  If he can't complete the rollover he throws the ball deep for the home run.  When we throw the jet combo we are going to throw to the inside man 8 our of 10 times.  We will throw the ball to the wide receiver if the inside man is covered.  If the outside man catches the ball, who is going to stop him?  The man that is covering him.  If he misses it is left up to the free safety to catch him and he is running away from him.

Now we can put plays together.  Let me draw some plays.  We will start with our blue formation.  This is the call "blue 77 hitch." The blue is the formation for us.  The 70 is the three step drop, and the second 7 is the the protection: 77.  The hitch is the route. We are running the 5 yard hitch route.  The wing is running the hitch route.  Protection wise we slide the protection.  The seven tells the tailback to go to the 7 hole.  He comes outside the tackle and blocks the first thing that shows.  He goes as hard as he can go.  We can cut the defender in college.  You can't cut in high school.  The thing we tell the tailback is that he has a license to miss.  That means he can go all out after the defender.  He is going inside out.  Everyone else has their gap.  They all step opposite the tailback.