The Appalachian State football team took its talents to south Charlotte on sunsplashed Saturday afternoon at Ardrey Kell High School. It was the first such event for football using this as a way to market the program off the mountain in the backyard of its most populous alumni base within the state. Although tailgating was permitted for the event, consumption of adult beverages was not permitted and made for a somewhat late arriving crowd. Anyone who knows anything about a football practice, knows that arriving when the event starts is not that exciting. The first half hour was used for warmups, drills and stretching. Actual eleven on eleven drills began right around 2:30 pm.
What we saw was plenty of the pistol formation, using the tight end or H-back in the backfield along with a running back. The same base formation and play, with several options was used for the majority of the scrimmage. It was pretty obvious that the players were being force-fed the concept of the offense. There was plenty of zone blocking. That concept still remains a very effective way to run the football and a major part of what Appalachian does. The tight end or H-back, which we will refer to as the “trigger” was used just like any other back in the backfield. The offense remains one based on reading the defense. The triggger either picked up a blitzer, helped the line, or read the defense and went out for a short pass, by reading the coverage.
Another base play used was almost like a quarterback sweep option, where the option was a nearly lateral pass to a running back or wide receiver to the sideline if a running lane did not exist for the sweep. This was a play that was fairly successful for the offense. When the quarterback runs down the line, it brings all the attention on him running, and sucks in the safety or outside linebacker to middle of the field. When that closed up, a quick sidearm pass to a receiver made it very difficult for the defense to recover. The play puts the defensive back on an island, where he is forced to make a one-on-one tackle in open space to keep the offense behind the chains. Defensive backs make fewer tackles than any other defender on the field, which gives all the advantage to the offense. Just like how quick ball movement creates open shots in basketball, quick ball movement creates open running lanes in football.