Friday, January 14, 2011

Wisconsin's Power Run Game

Anybody that has coached with me knows that I love "power" football. More specifically, I love the magical offensive play that bares the same name. Some people simply call it Power. some call it Power O, others call it Power G. I call it the best offensive play in football. Whether we are talking pro sets, 2 tight ends, one back, or with no backs (see Auburn) I love this play and in my mind no one does it better than the Wisconsin Badgers. In fact, I love everything about their offense and their program in general. In my mind their transition from Barry Alvarez to Bret Bielema has been successful because they did one thing that I find crucial to succeeding as a football program:
They took an honest look at what they are and what resources they have round them and they built the program around those resources. And what did they see? A landscape filled with massive offensive linemen and the reputation for running the football that will allow them to recruit a quality running back (or three).
Another staple of the Wisconsin offense is their use of the Tightend. Guys like Owen Daniels (Texans), Garrett Graham (Texans), Travis Beckum (Giants), and most recently SR Lance Kendricks (below) have been instrumental in every phase of the Badger offense.
I am especially in love with how Wisconsin has incorporated their TE in to their power run game.
The Basics of Power...

"Power" is a downhill run play designed to give the offense at least one double team to the play side while gaining a play side blocker by pulling the backside guard. There are hundreds of coaching points that coaches to discuss. Power can be run from multiple formations and utilizing several different motions. I've set and listened to coaches debate for an hour over what type of pull technique to use (I prefer skip pull). Regardless of the makeup of your offense, there is a place for Power.

Here is a look at Power from a Pro set. For simplicity purposes I am going to use an Under front.Versus an Under front most teams will double team the 5 technique and work to the backside linebacker. The fullback, or H-back, will be responsible for kicking out the end man on the line of scrimmage. In the Under front that will usually be a stand up DE or Sam LB in a 9 technique. The play side guard will work down on the play side shade while the center "chokes" back to the 3 tech. The backside guard pulls for the play side LB, in this front that is the Mike LB. The backside tackle gap-hinges to protect the backside. Our tailbacks take a drop step with their backside leg and drive downhill at the inside hip of the guard. The back has to be patient and hit inside his pull in almost every case. Our primary coaching point to the running back is the Power is a downhill play that should not bounce.

The school where I coach uses a pro-style offense that believes in running the football to find success. Power has been one of our primary offensive plays. Due to our proclivity for running the football we began to see and eight man front. Most of the teams in our region base their defense out of 4-3 personnel. The Under front became the most popular answer against our offense. Those same teams liked to live in Cover 4 on the back end of their defense. The result was tightly aligned Cover 4 safeties ready to get downhill in a hurry. Even prior to my arrival they always used a good play action game to keep defenses honest, but the bottom line is: we have to run the ball to be successful.

When everybody did their job and blocked the play correctly they always had that Cover 4 safety that they could not account for. That is where Wisconsin came to the rescue...

Wisconsin Power...

When I changed programs prior to the 2008 season and made the move to my current school I began looking for resources that would enhance the pro-style offense referenced above. Item #1, taking care of that 8th defender or aggressive safety. Thanks to a great connection from a great friend and former coaching brother I was able to get a cut-up of the Wisconsin run game. One thing that I had noticed from watching the Badger's play during the previous season was that they had a play that looked like a hybrid of Power and Counter schemes. The result: an extra man at the point of attack. The cut-up of the Badger run game opened the door to the play that would change our offense. Although the play was initially installed to become a part of our short-yardage/goal-line package, it quickly became a primary force in our game plan each week.

Wisconsin used an extra TE or Wing to pull from the backside and account for the extra defender. The blocking scheme for the rest of the line didn't have to change, they still blocked power. The carry-over was important to our staff. The only thing that we had to tweak was our running backs steps. Now the TB would take a drop-step at a slight angle to the weak side before working back play side and downhill on his normal path. The slight counter step allows for the extra "puller" to get in front of the play. The coaching point for the TE/FB/W that you use as the extra guy is simple, follow the guard and take the first color that you see. Just like a tackle on counter, he takes the window created when the guard in front of him declares and takes on a defender. Schematically you are only weak in one area: the backside edge. If a defense brings edge pressure off of the weak side the player can work down the line and stop the play for a short loss. Watching Winconsin this season it appears that they counter that pressure by having the "puller" read the edge as they pull.

We began to run this play from several different formations and be utilizing several different motions. The result was a play that accounted in over 60% of our playcall's in 2008. That season we rushed for over 3,300 yards and averaged 285 yards rushing a game and 6.1 yards per carry. Our run game, relying heavily on this play, accounted for 37 rushing touchdowns. Changes in our roster have led to adjustments in our scheme over the past few seasons but this play has remained an integral part of what we do.

Watch a Wisconsin game and you will see them run this from several different sets and formations. Below is a slide show of some formations used by both the Badgers and our high school offense to run this play effectively.


Fox said...

Hey Coach,

I would love to know if you saw in the Wisconsin cut-up (or through your own team experience) any problems pulling the BSTE.

Also, if I could look at any film of your team or Wisconsin, that would be great...thanks!


Pete DeWeese said...

I have been working on getting that video in a format that I can show. I will let you know as soon as I do.

Sando said...

good stuff bro. Power is the best play in football and you are correct that Wiscy runs it the best with the exception of Stanford.

Power said...

"Schematically you are only weak in one area: the backside edge. If a defense brings edge pressure off of the weak side the player can work down the line and stop the play for a short loss. Watching Winconsin this season it appears that they counter that pressure by having the "puller" read the edge as they pull."

Is this a pre-snap read or a post-snap read? I think it would be kind of hard to read this post-snap because they need to get on their horse so they don't slow the play down.

Great article! I wouldn't mind seeing some video also.

Pete DeWeese said...

Wisconsin does read the backside edge as the play develops. In the past we have had it be a pre-snap read. If the defense was bringing edge pressure off the backside our "extra" guy would stay at home and give us a second gap-hinge on that side. In some gameplans we would have the QB boot off of the hand-off to hold the backside DE.

I will eventually get back to posting on here and trying to add some video! We have a new HC and I have become the DC. I am focused on trying to win games!

Joe Taylor said...

I've seen the power blocked with the pulling guard kicking out the EMLOS. Which scheme do you think is most effective? Full back kicking out with the guard blocking the PSLB or ull back on PSLB with the guard kicking out?

Joe Taylor said...

Here's a youtube video of Wisconsin power play