First Option

For 2nd and 3rd graders, the first option play to learn should LOOK like the triple option. But it need not be the triple option.

The dive portion of the play should be run on what is commonly called the ‘inside veer’ path, over the guard.

We ran this play as third graders out of wishbone, with two tight ends, but it can be run from flexbone, pistol, or I formation just as easily. Optimally you run the pitch option play to the split end side, but in the 3rd grade, we ran the option only about 25% of the time. That percentage increased as we got older, so a tight end became a disadvantage. But early on we were running power plays as often or more than option, so having the tight end was useful.

In the huddle we could call any of the following:

  • Option Right, 44 Dive  – a guaranteed dive, 4 back (fb) through the 4 hole
  • Option Right, 16 Keep – guaranteed keep, 1 back (QB) through the 6 hole
  • Option Right, 38 Pitch – a guaranteed pitch, 3 back (LHB) around the 8 hole
  • Option Right, 18 Option –  a double option. The 1 back (QB) has an option to keep or pitch on the outside (8 hole)

It looked like triple, but it wasn’t ever triple. But it was reconizably option. Here’s a Youtube video that I made about it, shot with the only camera they let me take on the field:


This was the guaranteed pitch version of the play, but we ran the double option quite a bit that year too.

Here’s how it ran last year, for fifth graders, as a true triple from flex formation.


For our standard option Inside Veer, the #4 man is the dive key read. The #4 man (see our counting explanation here) was standing up, and blitzed to the inside. As soon as our quarterback saw him stepping across our tackle’s face, he knew he was pulling and there would be no dive.

The #3 man was a linebacker that tried really hard to get his shoulders turned to protect himself from the crack. He failed. It was close, but if you freeze the frame, you’ll see our end’s helmet to the inside, and you’ll see the linebacker knocked to his back, not to his knees (as would have been the case if we’d hit him from behind.) The #2 man is the pitch key, in this case the defensive end. He makes a hard charge at our quarterback, and causes a very quick pitch. Finally, the #1 man was obliterated by our lead halfback, who is a fantastic downfield blocker.

Our playbook has an 11 page description of this one play, against one common defense. But since coaches probably don’t need quite so much verbiage, I’ll provide you with the pertinent information.

  • PSE: The playside split end cracks #3 for the keep and/or pitch. If we run to the tight end side, the TE will arc to #3.
  • PST: OPTION Block! If #4 crosses your face, block him down. If not and you can rip inside him, block the PSLB for the dive.
  • PSG: If uncovered, step to the A gap, and put one hand on the hip of the nose if he is slanting your way, until the center has him under control. Then angle away and catch the MLB or BSLB when he attacks the dive, or when he tries to flow over the top. If covered, base your man away from the dive outside of you.
  • C: Cut off a play-side slanting nose, or block him away from the play. If uncovered, protect the backside A gap and get to the first BSLB.
  • BSG: Step to the A gap to protect against a blitz if uncovered, then get up field to cut off the first backside linebacker, or safety if two deep.
  • BST: Bump the tackle, then get to the second level.
  • PS A Back: Two horizontal steps to get OUTSIDE the #2 man before he crosses the LOS, then curl out to the #1 to stalk block.
  • BS A Back: Orbit motion on set, then get to pitch relationship. Catch the pitch. Help lead A back with a dip and slip if you get the pitch.
  • B Back: 6 inch step toward guard’s hip. Eyes on the hole. Soft squeeze UP to receive the ball. Try to get out to safety if you don’t get the ball.
  • QB: Mesh with fullback. Step around collision on pull. Run at pitch key’s outside shoulder. Step toward trail back on pitch.

Here’s a pretty textbook version of the play run to the left:


That 11 page document is now available in the Free Stuff area.