Chalk Talk: In Shotgun or Under Center

Pasadena OC Michael McKay

By Pasadena Offensive Coordinator Michael McKay

There are many things to consider whether to go under tee or in shotgun formations. I will discuss a few of these factors.

Probably the most important issue is the quarterbacks assets. For example, at the high school level it is extremely difficult to throw very quick timing passes from shotgun. There are many things to consider. The first thing is the snap from center.

At the collegiate and pro level, you can expect much better and more consistent snaps. Secondly is the quarterbacks reaction time of getting the ball, the grip and then into throwing position and release to get the ball to the receiver on time. In high school, defensive backs can give a little more room off the ball to the receiver if the quarterback is in shotgun.

The basic rule is that a shotgun formation is equivalent to a three step drop-back. This means if the quarterback catches the ball and throws the ball right away. If the quarterback takes 2 steps then it is a 5 step drop-back.

Inside the Red Zone this can be critical because the quick fade or quick slant is negated in the shotgun formation. Shotgun can be more effective if you have good or great athletes at the position who can also run the ball, this makes the defense account for the quarterback on every play.

At the high school level, I like to go under tee in the Red Zone as it put the defense in a bind. If the defensive backs are off, you can throw a one step quick slant. If the defensive backs are pressing then you can run the fade route. Also under tee the defense must be prepared for quick hitting running plays including quarterback sneaks and dives.

Michael McKay played his prep football at Culver City, and starred at Tulane. He had professional experience in both NFL and USFL camps. His most recent coaching stops have been at Eagle Rock (two CIF championships) as an assistant to Jerry Chou, at Temple City under Anthony White, and last season at Montebello (where he also teaches) with Pete Gonzalez. In 2011 he will be running the offense and coaching quarterbacks for Randy Horton at Pasadena High School.

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