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Bull Rush--a pass rush technique where the defender to get his hands up under the armpit area of the blocker and drive him back into the back field by vigorously pumping the legs and "bull rushing" into the backfield.
Curl--a pass pattern usually designed as a 5 or 10 yard route where the receiver runs down field, then turns or "hooks" back to the quarterback for the pass. Technically, the "curl" is a descriptive term used to describe a bowing or curling effect on the pattern as in the Zero Pass. [Example]
Crack Block (n.) or Crack Down (v.)--refers to when a player blocks inside toward the center position.
Drills--usually referred to as position drills. Player position specific techniques are practiced in scrimmages and through drills. Offensive linemen work on their various types of blocks, brute strength, and cohesiveness. Defensive linemen work on pass rushing and techniques to improve quickness, strength, and stamina. Backs use tipping drills, hand to eye coordination drills, and footwork drills. Players work with team drills as well such as fumble recovery drills, tackling drills, and habitual fake and surprise special teams play.
End Line--the back line of each end zone.
Fence--a style of pass blocking by the offensive linemen whereby the blockers attack the defender at the line of scrimmage as opposed to the drop back, pocket pass protection style. The 'Fence' style is used for shorter pass plays. It is used to keep the defensive linemen's hands down (due to the aggressive contact) and when the pass will be released relatively quickly.
Flat--an area between the outside hash mark and the sideline generally ranging from the line of scrimmage to an area about 5-10 yards down field.
Float--a pass pattern similar to the Slant. The Slant is a quick, full speed diagonal 'dart' across the field usually not deeper than 10 yards. The Float is a deliberately slower 'drag' running the same route but designed to develop at a slower rate, possibly after an area has been cleared out by misdirection as in the Clear Out Pass.
Fly--a deep pass pattern where the receiver 'flys' down the field in a straight line, looking back to the quarterback after covering 10 yards. [Example]
Gap--the area between one blocker and the next.
Goal Line Defense--Usually a 6-5 type defense designed to stop the power running game.
Hook Pass--a pass rout where the receiver runs 10 to 12 yards down field, then turns and comes back to the QB for the pass.
Monster Man--(see X Man)
Near Side--usually refers to the sideline nearest the coaching staff, but can also signify the sideline nearest to the football. Also known as the weak side, or short side.
Nose Guard--The defender placed opposite the offensive center.
Offset--when a player cheats by lining up slightly out of position in order to better execute his assignment.
Pocket--a style of pass protection where the blockers hit the pass rusher and then recoil repeatedly forcing the defender to take an outside pass rush to the quarterback. The Center recoils very little, the Guards a little more, and the Tackles and Ends even more. When executed properly, the resulting pass rush is bowed into a cup or 'pocket' shape in which the quarterback stands to throw. Designed to break down from the outside in, the quarterback avoids pressure by stepping forward setting up new blocking angles for the blockers. An Example can be seen in the Fan Pass Play, illustrated by a purple line.
Post--a deep pass pattern where the receiver runs 10 yards at full sprint, then cuts at an appropriate angle to run directly to the goal 'post.' The pass is run on two direct lines with no bowing of the route. An [Example] can be seen in the Pass Route Tree.
Quick Pitch--a running play intended to get outside defensive containment.
Quick Pass--also known as a hot pass. The quarterback usually drops back only a step or two and delivers the pass quickly.
Quick Kick--usually refers to punting the ball on third down.
Read--to determine the coming actions of another player. Often a defender's assignment is to read and react to a play. A defensive linemen would therefore attack the blocker with contact, then attempt to ascertain from the blocker's actions where the play is going and pursue the play. For example, the offensive player positions through either head or body movement that he is trying to block the defender to the left. The defender reads this, and reacts by fighting against the pressure and pursuing the play.
Read Block--a type or style of blocking by the offensive linemen. The Read Block is designed to take advantage of a defender who repeatedly "shoots the gap" as opposed to hitting the offensive linemen head on. The blocker attacks the defender with contact, carefully and purposefully at the center chest area. The blocker then reads which way the defender wants to go, then helps block him that way. The back is therefore responsible for reading where the hole (or which side of the running lane) is open.
Rip, Ripping--a technique usually employed by defenders and special teams players but especially the defensive linemen. The idea is to raise the arm close handed backwards beneath the elbow and punch past the opponent's shoulder. The Rip does not involve unnecessary contact. The object is not to hit the player full breath, rather to propel one's own torso beyond the shoulder and torso of the blocker. Then raising the elbow and coming backwards with it in a hooking motion further positioning oneself past the blocker. A pass rush technique of great worth.
Roll Out--usually referring to the quarterback 'rolling' out around the end either for a pass or a run. The Roll Out is designed to create a mismatch in an area like the flat, or to avoid extensive pressure from the interior of the line of scrimmage. An [Example] can be seen in the Roll Out Option Pass Play.
Swim, Swimming--a technique often used by pass rushers. The Swim gets its name from the fact that when properly executed the player has the appearance of a swimmer's upstroke. In the swim the defender hits with the open hand the side of an opponents shoulder pads at about chest level. With the other hand the defender reaches out and over the shoulder of the blocker. The elbow is brought down to hook the other player behind of beneath the defender. This technique is sometimes employed when a defender has an obvious size and/or strength advantage.
Safety Valve--usually (but not necessarily) a running back sneaking out to the flat or running a Zero pattern usually late (after initially blocking) to provide an emergency release point for the quarterback in the event of a significant pass rush.
Scout--A person who watches another team or player usually in a game setting for the purposes of recruiting or preparation.
Scout Team--The team of non emphasis. When the starting offense is scrimmaging, the defense they face is called the "scout defense." The scout team consists of all that squad's starters, BUT they are substituted for frequently. This serves several purposes. First, the starters are kept involved and focused. Second, non starters need this time of exhibition to vie for playing time. Thirdly, the art of proper and prompt substitutions is practiced on a daily basis. In this way, the player position depth chart is constantly maintained and updated, not to mention well known by the players.
Shotgun--when the quarterback receives the snap from center through the air as opposed to from 'under center.' Usually, the quarterback lines up 5 yards deep in the back field. Used for a host of reasons ranging from better vision for the QB to eliminating the QB's 'blind side' during the pass rush.
Tripps--A pass formation whereby three wide outs are positioned to the same side of the field.
Veer Formation--A versatile formation featuring two running backs each split to the outside of the quarterback.
Wide Out--another term for a Wide Receiver, or receiver split out wide from the offensive linemen.
Wishbone--A running formation utilizing a quarterback and three other ball carriers. Example.
Waggle--Another term for a Drag pass route whereby the receiver delays reaching a certain area.
X Receiver--The far most right receiver in many 3-receiver formations.
X Man--a term to represent a defender who has no specific responsibilities, also often called the Monster Man or Center fielder.
Y Receiver--the middle receiver of certain pass formations--often the Tight End.
Zone--a particular, defined area usually referred to as one's zone of responsibility.
Z Receiver--the far most left receiver in many 3-receiver offensive pass sets.
Often a word or phrase may not be listed in the alphabetical index above. That does not mean the word or phrase is not in this section. It may be listed inside another broader concept. If using a browser, the Find in Page command (Ctrl+F in many browsers) located somewhere in the menu bar at the top is the surest way to find the term in question. If a question remains unanswered, just e-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org