Saturday, April 3, 2010

Defending the Slot-T Offense Part I

The slot-t misdirection offense is a difficult offense to defend. It places 11 players in close proximity to the ball and forces the defense to play slow. It's misdirection can throw a defense into chaos if they don't have their eyes in the proper place. The base alignment of the offense is shown below.

There are multiple ways to align, and it is recommended that you show multiple alignments when you are facing the slot-t. The offense is based on rules. The line makes blocking calls to execute their plays. If you can stem and show different pictures, you will confuse their blocking assignments.

The offense functions on a series system. Meaning a certain range of plays are utilized within a given series. There are various series that can be run. I will look at 4 series in these posts on defending the slot-t offense.

1. 100's
2. 200's
3. 300's
4. 400's

These four series comprise the majority of what this offense will run and also encompasses their base plays. The rest of the series for the most part are adjustments and can change depending on the year.


On defense the starting point is reads and keys. If these are off, you are in for a long night. There are two main key types: Backfield and Linemen. This offense thrives on defenses that read their backfield. The misdirection alone gets backers out of position constantly. Vs this offense line keys are more effective and will get players into better position consistently.

Line keys are best the majority of the time, however, there are times when reading a certain player in the backfield is more effective. How do we know when to read backs? Easy, the best time to read backs is when the offense is running a particular series, the 200 to be exact.


The 200 series begins on the 2nd "hut" meaning all of these plays happen on 2. The first "hut" puts the z-back in motion.

When this occurs one of three plays will usually happen. In general terms, they are called F-Wham, Z-Pitch, and H-Trap. Using diagrams from the actual playbook:


The F gets a dive and the H leads him.


QB fakes to the F then pitches the ball to the Z.


H delays then takes hand-off once the F clears.

The last play needs more explanation. The left tackle will influence the defender by showing pass, then release to the backer. The Right tackle pulls to kick-out the defender. The H delays then opens to take the hand-off and run behind the trap. This play is especially devastating if your players are favoring the pitch.

Reads vs the 200 Series

As I said earlier the best thing to read is the line preferably the guards. This offenses uses lots of pulling by these players, so you can rely on the guards to take you to the ball. However, this is not the case in the 200 series. The guards do almost the same thing each time. The most reliable key in the 200 Series is the H-Back.

Once the Z goes in motion on the first "hut" the backers eye's should immediately go to the H-back. He plays a crucial role in the execution of these 3 plays. In the F-Wham he lead blocks for the F. On the Z-Pitch he leads outside for the Z, and on the H-Trap he gets the ball and runs opposite the flow. Also, only on the H-trap does a linemen pull, and it is a tackle who pulls. Since the preferred read is not the tackle, it will be hard to read the trap by keying linemen.

Let look at the movement of the H in respect to each play.

As you can see from the above diagrams the H will take you to the play in this series.


This is just an introduction and an explanation of when to read the backfield vs the slot-t. In the next part I will analyze the 300 series and explain what to look for with the line keys. The other parts will cover pass defense and overall game-planning.


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