Tony DeMeo


Compressed Sets for the Triple Gun

I’ve talked for years about the use of “Smart Splits” to help the offensive line but we’ve also used various perimeter splits to our advantage as well. Our philosophy with perimeter splits is the same as an Accordion or “Squeeze Box”.  Moving your wide outs in and out like an Accordion creates a number of advantages for our perimeter attack. They include:

  • Blocking angles for the wide receivers to crack inside linebackers or strong safeties
  • Bringing Corners in so you can circle the defense. If you come; they will come in. If you widen out; they will widen out.
  • Creating a new pitch key by cracking the normal pitch key. For example if you crack the strong safety in an 8 man front; the pitch key is now the corner. How much practice time do you think coaches devote to teaching their corners to be a pitch key?
  • Creates natural rubs in the passing game. We never teach picks because they are illegal; however, it’s OK to rub against your own man to create a natural obstacle for a defender.
  • By widening and tightening your wide outs splits, your opponent has one more thing to prepare for.
  • Compressed sets create a different look to our basic option attack and our quick game.
  • This fits with our philosophy of a “few plays run many ways”. You have to execute plays, formations is just lining up.

The number of compressed sets you can use our endless. You are only limited by your imagination. However I would suggest a couple of specific reasons for getting into a particular set. What do you want from this set? Can I run the Gun Triple from it? What is my sequence of plays for this game from it? For example you may use an unbalanced compressed set and run Gun Triple, Play Action Pass and the Jet Sweep & QB ISO from it for this week. The next week you may do the same sequence from an Empty compressed set. Remember your playlist for each game must be small enough to practice daily.


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Our 2X2 Compressed Package is named after playing cards. For the sake of this article we are going to stick with these basic sets. The first set is a compressed look to both sides – “Jack” – we use this to run the Gun Triple or Double Option to either side with a crack possibility. The second set is compressed to the boundary but normal splits to the field – “Queen” – we can crack to one side but still have the stalk/arc look to the field. The third set is compressed to the field and normal to the boundary – “King”. We now have all our normal looks to the boundary but great crack possibilities to the field.

We add a little spice to all our sets not just compressed sets by adding the term “Wide” that tells the boundary slot to replace the Wide Receiver to that side except stay off the line of scrimmage. So for example one of my favorite set is “Wide Jack” – this compresses both wide outs but the boundary slot splits out like a flanker. This set enables us to throw the hitch to our slot (another way to get him the ball in space) and with motion bring him back into the backfield to be a pitchman.

The ability to crack on the option (double or triple) gives you some variety in the perimeter and causes the corner to play pitch. That is one more technique for the defense to learn in a week.

We use compressed sets to create easier throws for our QB. Besides creating natural rubs in the passing game; compressing the formation makes it easier to throw the corner route to the field. We also use compressed sets to create the spacing concept that has been popularized by many spread teams.

So in conclusion adding compressed sets to your menu takes very little teaching but adds a lot to your production.