As we mentioned at the outset of this series, Coach Drinkwitz hangs his playcaller’s hat on an aggressive downhill running game based on Inside and Outside Zone. It makes sense, then, that bootleg passes are another significant element of his playbook. Bootlegs are playaction pases that take advantage of a defense flowing in the direction of the run fake, attacking the backside of that faked play. I had more to say about bootlegs in this in-season piece.
Let’s look at several of the bootleg plays Drinkwitz employed last year at Appalachian State.
I’ve arranged Drink’s bootleg passes into two categories, Nakeds and Waggles. Nakeds have the quarterback bootlegging to an edge that has no sustained protection. A Waggle sends a guard to the unprotected edge to support the quarterback. This can help the quarterback get to the edge or set up in the pocket, depending on the guard’s technique.
This is a classic version of a Naked bootleg pass. Note that the routes are all moving in the same direction as the quarterback, and against the grain of the run fake.
And here is a very basic version of a Drinkwitz bootleg.
This play features split flow backfield action, with the H continuing to the flat.
Hitting the deep Out route.
Completion to the deep Comeback.
Taking a shot on a Wheel route.
On Waggle plays the guard to the fake side pulls around to provide protection for the booting quarterback.
The routes here are basically those of Y Cross with the running back running a Wheel on the backside.
And check out this throwback screen to the RB off a Waggle look.
Here the quarterback boots, sets up in the pocket and drives the ball deep to the slot on a Post.
On this play—which, for lack of a better term, I’m calling Reverse Naked—the quarterback opens away from the bootleg, but the running back immediately sprints to the flat away from the fake. The H back also goes to the flat, but across the formation, putting two players in the same area, one following the other.
While there is no hard fake, the play usually succeeds in outflanking the defense. Watch the LBs flow here.
Throwing to a Smash route.
This play from under center features a Jet fake, then a (dropped) attempt to the second flat runner.
In his screen package, Coach Drinkwitz leans heavily on two schemes—a running back Slow Screen and the Jailbreak Screen.
RB Slow Screen
The Slow Screen is the classic RB screen. The running back approaches the line as if he was pass blocking, then pivots out and gets behind the guard and center who are releasing.
This is actually a double screen where the QB has the option to throw the Jailbreak to the left or the Slow Screen to the right. Whereas on the next example the tackle stays on the edge rusher, here the tackle releases and the quarterback turns and hits the Jailbreak if the edge man interferes with his throw to the RB.
This is an example of a called Slow Screen.
The Jailbreak is one of the true innovations of the Spread Age. The receiver jabs upfield before retracing his steps, coming down the line toward the quarterback. Once he catches the ball he gets in behind his releasing linemen.
This is another double screen. Watch the edge player on the left take away the screen to the running back. This triggers the quarterback to throw the Jailbreak to the right.
The guard runs to the numbers, looking to kick out the flat defender. The center turns up into the alley between the hash and numbers, leading the way for the ball carrier. The backside guard comes down the line, picking off any defensive players who have sniffed out the screen.
This is a good view of the linemen carrying out these responsibilities.
This concludes our series on the Drinkwitz offense. Hopefully we now have a good sense of the basics of Coach Drink’s offensive principles and strategies.
Film Room will continue during the offseason, though with less frequency. In these installments I will probably look at a few of the secondary schemes Coach D has used, among other topics that should prepare us for the 2020 season.