If you’re a coach that has a “take what they give me” mentality, then there is a good chance that your quick pass concepts will be some of the best pass game concepts that you have. In my experience, not enough coaches invest enough time into their quick pass concepts, and it shows during the game. Too many times coaches are trying to force the ball down field rather than attack open space that is available right in front of them. This leads to frustration in coaches because the QB is completing a low percentage of throws, the offense is struggling to get anything going, and drives are resulting in punts rather than touchdowns. If coaches would commit to their quick pass game then they’d realize that it’s easier to complete passes, establish tempo, and sustain drives that lead to touchdowns.
I love a good quick pass game because it’s a great way to quickly attack the defense. This quick attack will help relieve OL who are struggling to pass protect and will counter a blitzing defense as the QB will immediately get rid of the ball before feeling any pressure. The defense will also have to react quickly to the point of attack by pursuing the football and making an open field tackle, something most high school defenders struggle with. Sometimes all it takes is a simple 5 yard throw to get you the big explosive play you’re looking for.
Here are seven best quick pass concepts that will lead to more completions, first downs, and touchdowns.
7 Quick Pass Concepts
Bubble is the first quick pass concept that gets installed in my offense. I will start in a 2×2 formation and then get into a 3×1 formation to throw bubble. This is a great way to get the ball to the speedy and shifty WRs in the slots. It’s best to throw it against a 2 high structure and to the side that the Corner is giving the most cushion. The #1 WR will stalk block the Corner which leaves the slot WR in a 1on1 situation with the Safety or OLB. In order for this play to work WR’s must be 100% committed to blocking on the perimeter.
Below are just a few variations of throwing bubble out of 3×1.
In the last image there is a slight change to the blocking responsibilities of the other two receivers. This cross block is great against quarters teams that put the OLB outside shade of #2 WR. Instead of trying to get your #2 WR to his outside pad, which can be very difficult since he’s already out leveraged, have your #1 WR cross block on the OLB and send the #2 underneath to block the CB.
Quick is another great concept that can also be ran out of 2×2 and 3×1 formation. Bubble and Quick go hand-in-hand for me and we install these plays together. This can be helpful when preaching the importance of blocking on the perimeter because the WR group starts to see that everyone needs to block for each other for these plays to work.
Like Bubble, Quick is a great concept out of 3×1 formations. Below are a few variations of that.
Note the blocking responsibilities are slightly different when running Quick out of a bunch 3×1 formation. This is when the defense will take their OLB and put him on or press the point in the bunch set. The emphasis in blocking Bubbles and Quicks is blocking the most dangerous defender, so we don’t want our #2 WR to immediately take off for the CB and leave the OLB free. We coach this block similar to how our OL block outside zone. We want our #2 WR to have his backside hand through the sternum of the OLB and his right hand on his outside pad; trying to turn him inside. The #3 WR must immediately work to take over the OLB so the #2 WR can climb for the CB. This is a very quick combination and is best when the OLB is pressing the point and the CB is off.
All hitches are an important part of the quick pass game because it can be one of the easier throws for a QB to make. The QB can see the whole chest of the WR and doesn’t necessarily have to hit a moving target. It’s a simple pre-snap read for the QB who is picking a side to throw the football based on the depth of CBs and alignment of apex defenders.
Against single high safety teams, the ball should go to the outside WRs and to the side where the CB is giving the most cushion. Against a two high safety defense the ball can go to the WR in the slot that doesn’t have an apex defender to his side (assuming defense keeps a 6 man box), or to the outside WR with a CB that is giving the most cushion.
All hitches is one of the quick pass concepts that I will tag with run game because it’s a very quick and simple pre-snap read for the QB to determine to throw the football or go with the called run play. This is a great way to take advantage of teams that try to either load the box to defend the run, or empty the box to put guys in coverage.
Slant – Arrow
Slant arrow is a great concept against a single high safety team that will play with two apex (OLB) defenders. This concept is a simple defender key read which is on the OLB’s. The QB will make a decision on which side to throw the ball based on a pre snap read of the depths of corners and alignment of apex defenders. The post snap read for the QB becomes the OLB. If he runs to the flat with the arrow route, then the QB will throw the 3 step slant behind him. If he’s late getting to the flats and the slot has the OLB out leveraged, then the QB will throw the ball to the arrow route into the flat.
Fade – Out
One of my favorite quick pass concepts is the fade-out. It can be thrown against a single high safety or a two high safety look. Single high safety is preferred because the concept is simply putting a high/low on the vertical defender, which is the CB in a single high safety look. The QB will pick a side to throw based on pre snap read of the depths of CB’s and alignment of apex defender.
If one CB happens to play with less cushion (under 7 yards) from the LOS, then the QB can catch and throw the fade route. If the CB’s are playing with cushion (above 7 yards) then he should pick a side based on which slot WR has better leverage on their apex defender. With the vertical fade route taking out a cover 3 corner, the flat space becomes open for the 5 yard speed out from the slot.
The variation of stick that you see here is probably different than how most coaches are running stick. It’s not a true stick route where the #3 WR will turn to the outside and work away from the Mike linebacker. In this stick concept, it comes out of 3×1 formation and the #1 WR is running a go route, the #2 WR is running a 6 yard hitch and the #3 WR is running a bubble. On the backside the single WR is running a 3 step slant, unless tagged otherwise. The defender that is put in conflict now is the OLB. The read for the QB is simple. If the OLB takes the bubble in the flat, then throw the hitch behind him. If the OLB sits on the Hitch and bubble has him out leveraged, throw the bubble. The go and backside slant are pre snap reads for the QB. If the corner is under 7 yards, and the QB likes the matchup, he can catch and throw the go route. If the defense floods to trips and leaves the backside slant, then he can catch and throw the slant.
Out – Stick
The out-stick combination is a great concept against single high and two high safety teams. This is a great concept to attack the outside flats against a cover 3 teams that have their Corners play off. If a team jumps into a 2 high structure and still leaves 6 in the box, then one slot is left open with a LB in the box trying to play in coverage but still defend the run. The stick route is a great option as the route works away from the near linebacker in the box.
The outside WR’s need to reduce the splits and they are rolling over their outside hip (speed cut) and getting to 5 yards on their route. The slots are running 6 yard stick routes where they will turn to the outside and work away from coverage.
Using Quick Pass Concepts to Set Up Vertical Shots
This is where the “take what they give me” mentality benefits an offensive coordinator. Most DC’s will give up routes under 5 yards and tell their players to rally to the football. If I know a DC is willing to give up 5 yards then I’m going to quick game them to death. When an offense can successfully complete their quick game pass concepts, then defenses start to tighten up and their instincts start to kick in sooner as they are downhill in a hurry.
Below are a few examples of how you can use quick pass concepts to set up vertical shots
Bubble and Go
Bubble and Go is a great compliment after successfully completing a few bubble routes. The key to knowing when to throw the Bubble and Go is identifying the safety and how he is reacting to the bubble route post snap. If the safety becomes a quick trigger on bubble, then it’s time set him up with Bubble and Go. This also works great against single high safety with a Corner who may play with the same tendencies. This can be ran out of 3×1 or in a mirrored 2×2 formation.
Quick and Go
Quick and Go is similar to Bubble and Go, but now this is intended to attack aggressive Corners who are quick to trigger on anything in front of them in the flats. If you have a Corner that is aggressive to make a play on Quick, then it’s time for Quick and Go to get that explosive play. WR must sell the stalk block in order to trigger the Corner into biting on the Quick. This can be ran in a 3×1 formation or in a mirrored 2×2 formation.
Stick and Go
Stick and Go is a great concept to attack Quarters coverage. When running stick you want to key on the safety and see how aggressive he is on the hitch route. The OLB should continue to carry the bubble into the flat, and the Safety may start creeping down early, or will be quick to trigger on the hitch route as he is the one responsible for making that tackle. Once you see the Safety start to play tighter to the line of scrimmage, or is quick to trigger on the the break of the hitch, then you have successfully used stick to set up stick and go.
This will be more of a shot play as the QB will hope to hit the stick-and-go no matter what. The important piece to making this play work is the bubble running hard to bring the OLB out, and for the slot WR to sell the hitch by sinking his hips at the 6 yard break point and turning his shoulders & hips to the QB as if he is really running a hitch. The patience in running the hitch is what will quick trigger the safety down. If the WR hurries through the hitch and doesn’t sell it well enough, then the Safety won’t take the bait.
Easy Quick Pass Concepts
These quick pass concepts are enough to attack multiple coverages, whether it’s man or zone coverage. Like anything, they must be repped every single day to build chemistry between the QB and WR group. Each rep must be ran at game speed to get a feel for the timing it takes make accurate throws and complete passes. Staying committed to the quick pass game and having the mentality of “taking what the defense gives you” can really frustrate a defensive coordinator. That’s because quick pass game can be used anywhere on the field and on any down, even on 3rd and 7! With these 7 quick pass concepts in your playbook, you’ll be able to put drives together that result in touchdowns.