This guide is intended to show a rookie coach how I go about creating a running play. When you're making a running play, there are many many possibilities that you can explore. You can explore changing the player that runs the ball, the part of the field the run attacks and the quarterback's delivery. It is always a great idea to have something in mind before you create your play because successful running plays rely heavily on timing and coordinated blocking
OUTLINING YOUR RUNEdit
The first thing that you will want to do is to think of the desired goal of your running play. Is this going to be for short, medium or long yardage situations? Are you going to go play it safe and get a guaranteed few yards or will you do a make-it-or-break-it type run that can really hit a home run?
Once you have that in mind, you will want to consider what formation you will run out of. Powerful formations like Goalline and Wishbone have two tight ends, which can really help short runs, but having extra blockers. A more balanced set like Pro or IForm will allow you to spread the defense out a little more while keeping a tight end in to block. Passing-oriented formations like Ace, Shotgun and Shot-Max can let you spread the defense more but give you less ability to attack the middle of the defense. Spread formation is really able to spread the defense out but you have to rely on a 5 man blocking scheme. Empty would be even more difficult to run out of because you have no running backs on the field.
Now that you have a plan for you run and a formation picked out, it's time to move onto the mechanics of the run
How will your run do what it's intended to do?Edit
This can sometimes be the most difficult part of making a play. You know where you want the ball to go and you know who will carry it, but what is the most optimal way to do it. In the back of you mind, you also have to consider the different ways the defense will break your run down as well. My main inspiration for making runs is real life football and common sense. I try to utilize what little I learned about real football in high school to make my run blocking schemes. There are many things you can try out. You can pull a backside guard, mix man and zone blocking, use directional blocking, use straightforward blocking, etc. Whatever you chose, be prepared for it to fail miserably in practice. It happens to the best of us and the key is to just fix what went wrong and don't get frustrated. Once you've done several different things, you will eventually get lots of handy tools in your playmaking toolbox that you can mix and match to make things work.
MAKING YOUR PLAYEdit
Now that you've thought your play over, it's time to actually make it! From your office, click on the chalkboard to go to your playbook. From there, select the formation that you want to use and either make a new play or edit an existing play. This will bring you to the Offensive Play Creator where the magic happens! To show you how to work this bad boy, I'm going to give a tutorial of a simple inside running play. The play will be from IForm and it will be a handoff to the running back. This will use all man blocking and the running back will hit the off guard hole to the right
STEP 1: Creating the Blocking SchemeEdit
The first thing that I do is to make the blocking scheme that I will utilize. That way I can try and visualize the best place to have my running back run to. I will start by having my 5 offensive linemen and my tight end block. Since this will be a run to the right and inside, I will have the center block RIGHT on the right defensive tackle (#2 in the play creator). That means that he will try and move that player to the right, away from the path of the running back. I have the right guard block CENTER on that same right defensive tackle. This is because I want to double team him, but if both block right and the DT breaks this block, both linemen will be defeated. This way, I lessen the impact of a broken block.
I then have the left guard block LEFT on the left defensive tackle. This is intended to keep the defensive tackle out of the backfield or from crashing down to stop the run. I also have the left tackle blocking LEFT on the left end and right tackle blocking RIGHT on the right end to keep them both from crashing the center. The tight end is told to block RIGHT on the right outside linebacker. This is because I want to keep him away from the running back in the center of the field.
Now that we have the blocking completed for the linemen, let's design what the "skill" players will do.
STEP 2: Pathing for the "Skill" PlayersEditWith the blocking set for the "Hogs", it's time to have the running backs, quarterback and wide receivers be told what to do. I generally would continue to set up the blocking for the play, so I would simply have the wide receivers block CENTER on the safety that is on their side of the field. This is simply to have the receiver open the field up some more and keep the corners out of the play while also allowing the back a chance to break past the safeties. The next and most critical part of the blocking is what the fullback does. When in IForm, the fullback is the runningback's very best friend. He is the guy that throws the potentially game breaking block. In this play, since the runningback is going to the right guard, I will have the fullback hit that hole and block CENTER on the middle linebacker. I am not going to use the hit hole command, but will use the go command to tell the fullback to go to that hole. I will path him to the line of scrimmage then have him block CENTER on the middle linebacker.
Now that we have all the blocking players set, we will now do the most important part of any run: the QB-RB exchange. Since this is a handoff, we need to make sure the QB is close to his RB when he is handing the ball off. First, create the running back's path. He will go first to where the FB's go command went, then have him go straight about three yards past the line of scrimmage then give him a run command. What this will do is have him "force" his way for a few yards then read the blocking, particularly the FB block, and decide where to go from here.
Next, we will have the QB do his side of the exchange. Normally, the rule of thumb is that you need your QB to go to where the RB's path is. Since the back is going right by the QB, we can get away with not having the QB move. However, for handoffs, you will find that the QB will do a fair share of moving about to get the handoff right. But don't get frustrated with handoffs...they DO WORK! They just take timing. For our example, we want the QB to wait before he hands off to the RB near the line. The time of the wait will depend on your team, but generally, 2 ticks might do the trick. But we'll have to see in practice to be sure! With the handoff, make sure you specify that you are handing off RIGHT to the RB. Then simply hit the end command for the QB.
STEP 3: Play Info and NameEdit
This part of the play is entirely up to your tastes! You can think of a snarky name for your play, or give it some sort of relevant football name. Whatever helps you remember it best is what I suggest. There's no right way of naming plays. You should also notice the dropdown menus next to "play usage". These are very important for gameplanning. Since this is a middle run from a balanced formation, you can just leave it for the normal play situation but if you think it is strong in another situation, you can add one. You do not have to give it a secondary usage if you don't want to.
Now that it is complete, hit save and you just made a running play! Time to practice it and perfect it!
Thanks for reading my tutorial. If you have any question, comments or concerns, shoot me a private message on the website. I'll get back to you pretty quickly