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Midline vs Odd Front  

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Jtatham
(@jtatham)
Bronze
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 328
October 4, 2017 12:39 pm  

A common problem for running midline seems to be a true nose out of an odd front. Specifically out of split backs - would an option (no pun intended) be to:

1) have the backside halfback be the dive back and send the playside back to help block the nose so that the guard can still go up to Mike or Will linebacker? Or 
2) still have playside back be the dive back but include a 3rd back as a blocking back to help with the nose
Or
3) out of T formation have fullback as dive back and playside back help block nose

I could go on and on, but bottom line is having a back help block a tough NT a legit way to run midline? I don't think I've seen anything on it, just wondering if you guys think it would work. thanks


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blockandtackle
(@coacharnold)
Silver
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 847
October 4, 2017 4:05 pm  

You want to run your dive options so that the dive back is aiming for a bubble.  You run Midline when you have an A gap bubble, ISV when you have a B gap bubble, and OSV when you have a C gap bubble.  A head up NG means you don't really have an A gap bubble.

A common auto-check for Midline is that, if there's a DL in A gap (or even head up on the C), the G will just block down on him while the FB leads through B gap and the play becomes an automatic QB Follow play with the T basing out.

I wouldn't worry about putting a back on the NG.  You want him leading through B gap for the LB if the QB keeps while the G blocks through play side A gap.  That is far more effective and a better matchup.

If you really want to run midline at an odd front, make sure the C scoops the NG and gets his head across him.  The backside G must also get over there and scoop so he gets the NG if he slants to the weak A gap.  Midline Triple was designed to kill the 3-0-3 front and it's blocked this way with a dive read off a 3 tech and a fast pitch off the DE.  If you're seeing a 4-0-4 or 5-0-5 front, just have the G block down on the NG and run ISV.

Also, Midline is hard to run from split backs due to the angles the backs take.  You want the back to ideally go straight up the C's crack ("the midline") and then cut based off the C's block--that means the dive back should be right behind the QB.  Most Split Back teams I know who even bother to run midline will cheat their dive back in behind the QB to the point where they're in more of a Far/Near formation than a true split back look.


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Jtatham
(@jtatham)
Bronze
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 328
October 4, 2017 7:18 pm  

You want to run your dive options so that the dive back is aiming for a bubble.  You run Midline when you have an A gap bubble, ISV when you have a B gap bubble, and OSV when you have a C gap bubble.  A head up NG means you don't really have an A gap bubble.

A common auto-check for Midline is that, if there's a DL in A gap (or even head up on the C), the G will just block down on him while the FB leads through B gap and the play becomes an automatic QB Follow play with the T basing out.

I wouldn't worry about putting a back on the NG.  You want him leading through B gap for the LB if the QB keeps while the G blocks through play side A gap.  That is far more effective and a better matchup.

If you really want to run midline at an odd front, make sure the C scoops the NG and gets his head across him.  The backside G must also get over there and scoop so he gets the NG if he slants to the weak A gap.  Midline Triple was designed to kill the 3-0-3 front and it's blocked this way with a dive read off a 3 tech and a fast pitch off the DE.  If you're seeing a 4-0-4 or 5-0-5 front, just have the G block down on the NG and run ISV.

Also, Midline is hard to run from split backs due to the angles the backs take.  You want the back to ideally go straight up the C's crack ("the midline") and then cut based off the C's block--that means the dive back should be right behind the QB.  Most Split Back teams I know who even bother to run midline will cheat their dive back in behind the QB to the point where they're in more of a Far/Near formation than a true split back look.

Thanks for the info Coach! As usual I'm trying to overcomplicate things. 🙂 When we ran split back veer last season we almost always saw odd fronts, and if we also got a 3 or 4i we would sometimes at least try running midline and see if the center could handle the NT by stepping playside and trying to seal him out. We never really saw the split back alignment as a problem for midline any more than outside veer since both essentially involve stepping inside or outside first instead of straight downhill like inside veer. That being said we did play with our alignments some based on the mesh timing, especially with outside veer. We treated midline, ISV, and OSV as essentially the same play just attacking the bubble the defense gave us, so it wasn't really a big deal for us that most teams didn't really allow us to run midline.


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