Top Three Plays From Spread Bunch Formation

Nerd Football Coach

I’ve got a confession to make. I love stealing formations I see on Saturday and making them my own. It makes me feel like I’m a hip, cool football coach, and that I’m on the cutting edge of the game.

I know,  I need professional help.

But what formation have I stolen and used so much that it is slowly becoming a main part of my offense?

The Spread Bunch Formation.

Why do I love the Spread Bunch Form Formation?

  1. It looks cool as hell.
  2. It makes me seem as if I am on the cutting edge of football.
  3. My players feel badass when they line up in the formation.
  4. I can run every play out of the formation and nothing changes for my guys.
  5. It messes up defensive reads so bad that someone is always wide open.

How We Line Up in the Spread Bunch Formation

Shotgun Spread Bunch Formation

I know I’m not the only one here that uses the Spread Bunch Formation. Every team in America uses some form of it. I know of coaches that use it with a Full Back, Tight-End, and Flanker. And that’s cool.

But that’s not the way I use the Spread Bunch Formation. I use it with our 4 wide receiver set. We place the Y on the ball, the F on the inside, and the R/L on the outside.


Because everything we do offensively is built around hot, sexy, steamy SPEED. So all we do is tag Bunch to our Trio and BOOM - we have Trio Bunch. Simple enough.

What Plays We Run From the Spread Bunch Formation.

We can run any of our plays out of the Spread Bunch Formation, but I’ve found these three plays are our bread and butter out of the Spread Bunch Formation:

  • Fast Screen
  • Y-Corner
  • 4 Verts

Fast Screen From Spread Bunch Formation

Quick Wide Receiver Screen out of the Spread Bunch Formation

The first play we install in the Spread Bunch Formation is our quick screen to the number one receiver. We install this play first because we’ve found that teams like to play their corner eight yards off and to the outside of the Bunch.

This is freaking stupid because it is giving us a two on one advantage over the defense. But I’m not going to let the defensive coordinators know I think that.

Offensive Line Rules

The offensive line is zone blocking away from the screen. If we are throwing the screen to the right, then the offensive line is zone blocking to the left. And vice versa to the left.

We do this because I’ve found defenses key guards to tailback, and if the guards and tailback are running to the left then the defense will run to the left and nobody will be around to make a play.

I’m brilliant, aren’t I?

Wide Reciever Rules

L: You are running a hitch or slant based on the corner’s leverage.

F: You are going behind the Y and blocking the corner. Attack his outside number. We want to pin the corner inside if we can.

Y: You are blocking the man head up you. He cannot make the tackle. Ever. If he is better than you then your job is to get run over slowly.

R: Open up and show your numbers to the quarterback. Attack the outside number of the F’s after you catch the ball. You are thinking Hash, Number, Sideline. You must get five yards.

Quarterback’s Rules

Catch, turn, and throw a catchable ball to the R. We don’t care what it looks like. We only care about how fast it can get there.

Y-Corner From Spread Bunch Formation

Y-Corner Shotgun Bunch Formation

Everyone knows I love the Y-Corner route. Especially inside the plus twenty-five-yard line. So I’d be stupid not to utilize this play in the Spread Bunch Formation.

(This play is the central thesis of Andrew Coverdale’s treaty the Bunch Attack)

This quick game passing attack can hurt the defense deep and short. Making it the ideal quick game passing play for the Spread Bunch Formation

Offensive Line Rules

You can do a couple of things with the offensive line regarding this play. You could vertical set them, cut block with them, sprint out protection with them, or use play-action with them.

We use the play-action protection with them because I’ve found high school kids will bite on every play-action. Regardless of how shitty the play-action looks. Go figure.

Wide Reciever Rules

L: You are running a hitch or slant based on the corner’s leverage.

Y: You must release outside the man head up you - making sure he opens his hips are runs with you - and running a 10-yard corner route. If you are outside the opponent’s twenty-five-yard line then you will aim for the front pylon. If you are inside the opponent’s twenty-five-yard line then you are aiming for the back pylon.

F: You are releasing straight to the flats. You are expecting the ball by your fifth step. Do not drift up the field. You want WIDTH, not DEPTH.

R: You are hesitating for half a second before running a snag route. Your aiming point is 8-yards deep in the B gap. However, you will sit down in the grass the moment you cross someone’s face or they cross yours.

Quarterback’s Progression

You will first check the backside receiver for the hitch or slant. If there isn’t any color in the grass area then you will catch and throw the hitch or slant. If you can’t throw the hitch or slant - determined pre-snap - then you will go to the Y-Corner side.

You will give a hard play-action fake with the running back, take a quick three-step drop, and go:

  1. Corner Route
  2. Snag Route
  3. Flat Route

Four Verticals From Spread Bunch Formation

Four Verticals Shotgun Bunch Formation

Okay, you’ve hit them with the fast screen. You’ve hit them with the quick game. Now it’s time to flip the defensive coordinator the bird and hit ’em deep.

That’s right. It’s time to go deep a la Mike Leach.

But we run our four vertical play out of the Spread Bunch Formation a little different than most. We run it this way because we found the releases of the wide receivers mess up the defensive reads resulting in someone always popping wide open.

Offensive Line Rules

You can do multiple things with the offensive line just like the Y-Corner play. We like to use play-action. In fact, most of our passing game is based on play-action. It holds the linebackers longer which leads free releases for our wide receivers and easier throwing lanes for our quarterbacks.

Wide Receiver Rules

L: You will run a fifteen-yard comeback since you are the single receiver. Make sure you open up towards the quarterback when you come back down your stem.

Y: You are releasing at the inside shoulder of the man head up you. Your aiming point is eighteen-yards deep on the opposite hash. Expect the ball thrown on a ‘piss rope’ once you clear the dropping linebackers.

F: You are releasing outside to the numbers. You will scrape the skin off the R’s butt. You are the first read, so expect the ball the moment you get to the bottom of the numbers.

R: You are releasing up the near hash. You must stay on this hash and not waver. Give the quarterback room to throw you open.

Quarterback’s Progression

You will give a good hard play-action fake to the running back, take a quick three-step drop then:

  1. Numbers - F Receiver
  2. Near Hash - R Receiver
  3. Far Hash - Y Receiver
  4. Comeback - L Receiver


There you have it. Our Top Three plays out of the Spread Bunch Formation. Please leave a comment if you do something different from the Spread Bunch Formation. You know I love to hear and learn from you guys.

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Until next time coaches, let’s continue to Master the Spread, Score Points, and Have Fun!


3 Comments, RSS

  1. Jeremiah December 14, 2017 @ 11:17 am

    We’re looking at going with shallow, verticals, mesh, cross, and sail. I think you’ve said (or maybe it was Coach Slade…I don’t remember) that Sail is not actually a flood concept, but I need one. I want to experiment from running shallow and mesh any four of the receivers. I know I’m playing with fire by incorporating too much, but we’re cutting so much away I’m thinking we might be able to get away with it. We were so run heavy last year that I think the way you teach your QBs to read grass is really going to help. We experimented with shallow for one week for our playoff game last year and went 6 of 9 just throwing the shallow and the hunt route without any variance and our QB was as calm as I’ve ever seen him and made the right read every time. Our receivers are excited about it because they see now how they can all get the ball.

  2. Jeremiah December 14, 2017 @ 10:16 am

    Two years ago this concept helped us get into the playoffs on a huge play down the field. From the corner’s perspective, it looked like two players were headed to the flats against their cover three. He hesitated because it didn’t make any sense, and then got beaten on a vertical route. Last year we tried to incorporate more, but I wasn’t satisfied with how I taught it and the kids didn’t have enough confidence in it. We reasoned that because we give our QBs options on every play, we could bring that idea to the Wide Receivers and allow them to line up in whatever position in the “pod” they wanted to, but could not be in the same position they were in on the previous play. At times during practice the different combinations were devastating to the corners, but I just couldn’t get it to work on all gears. Perhaps this year with simplifying the offense and incorporating Air Raid concepts we could have it work better. Thank you for all of the things you post via Youtube and your blog. I steal what I can, and even what I don’t take it makes me think long philosophically about what we’re trying to do. Your work is the best!

    • Coach McKie December 14, 2017 @ 10:31 am

      Coach Jeremiah,

      I’ve tried giving my guys the freedom to move around as well, but it was too much for them. They defaulted to the easy way to line up based on where they were releasing from. What kind of Air Raid Concepts are you going to use going into next year? I’m looking into adding Stick and Mesh. Or I might tag the Corner route with a mesh tag and create Mesh cheap.

      Thank you for the kind words about my work. It means a lot to me. And thanks for taking time out of your day to read and comment. I love talking to other coaches.

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