Tom Herman's Coaching Clinic Part IV: The Quarterback Run Game (Sweeps)

By Ross Fulton on June 10, 2014 at 1:15p

Last week we analyzed Tom Herman's coaching clinic discussion of lead run plays for the quarterback. Today we examine the final section of Herman's clinic – read plays where the quarterback's aiming point is between the tackles combined with a halfback running a jet sweep.

The two quarterback-driven concepts are not mutually exclusive. As discussed last week, the Buckeyes can run QB counter trey with a jet sweep read. 

QB Counter

Here's video:

Next up are two base concepts that embody the inside-outside concept: Power Read and Bash.

Power Read

Power Read, also known as inverted veer, is one of Ohio State's most frequently utilized concepts. Power Read deploys power blocking (hence the name) with a hammer call. Power is a gap scheme. The frontside offensive line blocks black, while the backside guard pulls and leads through the hole.

As with QB counter trey, the beauty of Power Read is that, by using the same blocking scheme, the Buckeye offense uses its practice time repping the same concept while presenting the defense a very different look. 

The hammer tag lets the tight end know that, rather then kick out the end defender as with normal power blocking, he will leave the end unblocked and fan block the alley player.

The front side end is accounted for with the read. If the end widens with the sweep the QB will keep and follow the backside guard. If the end takes the QB, the QB will hand off to the running back with the sweep.

power read

In action:

Power read


Bash is a tight zone play for the quarterback. The offensive line blocks tight zone towards the quarterback, while the halfback runs a jet sweep away from the offensive line movement. The tight end initially blocks inside zone but then releases to lead block the alley for the jet sweep.


As with tight zone, the quarterback reads the back side end. If the end sits the quarterback keeps.

Bash keep

But if the end crashes on the quarterback, the quarterback gives to the sweeping halfback. An Iowa end doing exactly that led to one of Carlos Hyde's most famous runs.

Bash give

In effect, Bash is a constraint to tight zone. The blocking scheme slow plays the inside linebackers, allowing the back to get outside. The play also exploits a defense overly focused on the quarterback – a key weapon for an offense with Braxton Miller. 

More practically, both Power Read and Bash function as methods to get the football to the tailback and/or H-back outside the tackle box. This will be increasingly important this season, with players such as Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliot filling increased roles. 


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dubjayfootball90's picture

Ross, awesome article, man. Loved reading the x's and o's.

Great use of game snippets. I was at the Cal game (first snippet) seeing Miller break mad ankles on that run and at the Iowa game when Hyde defied physics. Crowd went NUTS. I love this team, haha.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+3 HS
YTOWNBUCKI's picture

Meyer's offenses have featured these plays for quite some time and I have to grin a bit since many of them are adaptations of the old single wing offense.  Especially the jump pass with Tebow.  That was straight up single wing.

The only difference between today's spread option offenses (which are perceived as modern and new) and the old single wing is the spacing of players and spinning in the backfield to hide who received the snap.  The blocking concepts are generally the same with the exception of zone blocking because it didn't exist in those days.

Great to see old school football worked into today's game though.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors

Go get your shine box, Gumar!

+3 HS
hspbuy1's picture

Great read & videos, love watching Braxton scoot!


Hovenaut's picture

Hoping to see Brax pass with greater effectiveness/efficiency, but also hoping he becomes the grandmaster of the spread option - not that he's done a bad job to this point.

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago I was, uh, satisfied (sorry, Run Dave flashback) with OSU's offense. Wasn't sure what to expect when Urban came to Columbus, but it wasn't going to be our father's/grandfather's Buckeyes.

We'll need #5 healthy down the stretch, but there's no denying the value of the designed qb run. Another fine breakdown - keeping my sanity until kickoff.

Three yards and a vapor trail...

+2 HS
I_Run_The_Dave's picture

Power Read in this article is pretty much "Run Dave" except it is for the QB and not the RB, and with the jet sweep option added in.  Also, don't let me hear you talking bad about my favorite play in football ever again.  ;)

Three yards and a vapor trail...

I prefer three yards and a broken ankle.

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Why on Earth is it your favori...



You're right - when it comes to Brax I suppose it three yards and a broken ankle is more accurate.


+2 HS
Zimmy07's picture

The play against Indiana is awesome.  I watched it over & over.

Does anyone else think that if Miller went out of bounds at the 5 against Clemson that we might have won that game?  I'm pretty sure that the hit in the end zone is when he jacked up his shoulder.

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IGotAWoody's picture

You may be right on that one, Zimmy. I look at that play over and over and wonder what the heck's that DB doing waiting in the end zone to deliver a hit anyway? Why isn't he coming up to try and keep Braxton out of the end zone? It's as if he's run to that corner and just waited for him. On the one hand, he delivers a hit, so OK, but he makes NO attempt to prevent the TD.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

vtbuckeye's picture

I know this isn't how the game is officiated but if when running the ball into the endzone it is a touchdown as soon as the ball breaks the plain of the goal line, then the play is over when Braxton crosses the goal line.  If the play is over then any further contact is a late hit/personal fowl/penalty of some kind.  How is tackling a player that was in bounds with the ball in their possession after they crossed the goal line any different than tackling the same player after the have crossed the boundary line on the edge of the field? I understand that things are different if it is a receiver catching the ball in the endzone (establishing/maintaining possession through the hit...) but if a player is running into the endzone things should be different. Our QB should not get lit up like that across the goal line.  That particular play was close, but if there is a personal foul penalty for it maybe the DB comes out of the endzone to make a play that Braxton could hopefully avoid/mitigate. (rant over)

+1 HS
Codeezy's picture

Holy crap, the offseason almost made me forget how amazing braxton is. Stud. 

Groveport Heisman's picture

Holy shit man that stutter step is ungodly. Going to miss Hyde up the middle,but hopefully we can churn out longer runs of the 40,50,60,70,80 yard variety on a more consistent basis.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+1 HS
omahabeef1337's picture

Ross, who is being read in that play against IU?

+2 HS
Ross Fulton's picture

Good catch. He's reading the outside linebacker because IU is running a front side scrape exchange to try and defend the play. The DE and OLB trade responsibilities to try and confuse the read. 

omahabeef1337's picture

So is Hall blocking the OLB just because there's no one else to block?

And how does he know which direction to block him? If Hyde had gotten the ball, wouldn't he want to block him in the other direction or something? (Maybe I'm overestimating how hard it would be for Hall to know who had the ball.)

Earle's picture

Well, Ross answered while I was composing my response, but I'll leave my original post below since I'm so pleased that I actually got it right:

I'll give this a shot and see if I've learned anything from Ross.  The front-side end is the read, but it looks like he does a scrape exchange with the linebacker, which would make the backer the read.  He goes wide with the sweep action, so Braxton keeps and cuts back into the space vacated by the linebacker, aided by a nice down block on the crashing DE.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

+3 HS
omahabeef1337's picture

One upvote for you sir!

Horvath22's picture

Great job, Ross. My favorite series of articles.

SharkBuck's picture

Very interesting analysis.  As a fan that is not knowledgable about blocking schemes, I personally greatly prefer the videos where I can pause the video and see see what the various blockers are doing.  Then I can actually see what you are talking about.  It all happens so quickly in the videos that I cannot pause that it is much tougher to see how the line is working.  I am not sure if you can post every video in that format, or if I am in the minority on that view, but I would suggest posting the videos so that the reader can pause and rewind the video.


jpbuckeye's picture

Have to agree. Not a major complaint but I really need to slow it down to take in what is being so well described by Ross.

Thanks a lot for this series!

omahabeef1337's picture

I have wondered before if gifs are used sometimes because it is less likely ABC/ESPN will ask them to be removed.

yrro's picture

See, I tend to like the gifs because it is easier to watch them replay over and over, and watch a different piece each time. I have to wade through the ads and recommendations on the youtube videos, and click multiple times, to do that.

Really the best is when the author slows down the gifs for you (see this great profile on Shazier for an example but that's getting a bit greedy.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great stuff! Go Bucks.

sivaDavis's picture

1. In that GIF against Indiana....Uhm yeah, Braxton runs a 4.3, no doubt. I couldn't believe how fast he got into the 2nd level.

2. That block right before Hydes dive against Iowa haha. I'll always love it. Watch Philly celebrating like "Hell yeah lets go!!... oh shit wait...whoo okay I got him!" Just enough to let the beast finish off his Marshawn Lynch impression. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
yrro's picture

Agree. I can watch Philly Brown on that play all day.