ITP Glossary: Veer Play

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From punt gunner to climbing the pocket, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

Veer Play

The veer play is an option running play that gives the quarterback the choice to either hand the ball to a runner or keep it himself based on the reactions of a pre-defined read defender. Unlike, the popular read option play in which the QB reads a defender to the backside of the play, the Veer requires the QB to make a read on a playside defender (typically a defensive tackle or defensive end). The play, originated in the mid-60s by University of Houston Coach Bill Yeoman, can be run out of a variety of formations and utilizes either a zone or gap blocking scheme.

With the re-emergence and growth of option football in recent years, the veer play has regained popularity within college football. In the play below Memphis is in a conference clash with Houston and is facing a 2nd & 8 from their 48-yard line, up by 6 with 10:08 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Memphis has 12 personnel on the field in a pistol alignment with slot formation to the left and two TEs in wing formation to the right. Houston is in their base 4-3 formation with six men in the box and two high safeties.

Veer Still 1At the snap, Memphis QB Paxton Lynch (#12) turns to his right and puts the ball in running back Doroland Dorceus’s stomach while reading the playside DE. If the DE stays home and keys the QB, Lynch will hand the ball to Dorceus on an inside zone play. If the DE crashes down on the run, Lynch will pull the ball back and take it out around the edge.

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The playside DE crashes down the line of scrimmage going after the inside zone, prompting Lynch to pull the ball and take it outside around the edge. Tight end Alan Cross seals the corner back inside allowing Lynch to run for a 1st down.

In addition to the veer, you may also see coaches add a third option onto the play and run the veer option. This creates a triple option for the QB who can now choose either to hand the ball to the RB / FB on a run inside, keep it himself and carry it around the edge of the defense or, lastly, pitch the ball outside to another player running on a wider angle to the sideline.

In the next play, it is early in the 1st quarter in the 2015 Army-Navy game and Navy has the ball, down 3 points on their own 25-yard line. It’s 1st and 10 and the Midshipmen are in 30 personnel with QB Keenan Reynolds under center, two WRs split wide to either side of the field and three RBs in a flexbone formation. Army is showing an odd front and a seven man box with both deep safeties cheating down to play the run and both CBs in an off coverage alignment.

Veer Still 2Prior to the snap, RB Tre Walker (#21) goes in a trace motion to keep the defense off balance by motioning behind the QB then returning to his original alignment. Then, as the ball is snapped, Reynolds turns and opens to his right, as fullback Chris Swain (#37) comes downhill to take the ball on a dive in between the playside center and guard. At the mesh point, Reynolds reads the playside DE in the 4i technique. If the DE stays home and keys the QB, Reynold should give the ball to Swain. On this play, however, the DE starts down the LOS crashing the dive from the backside, so Reynolds pulls the ball and starts out around the edge. Meanwhile, after taking two steps outside, Walker comes back to the formation to seal off the safety coming downhill to fit the run while RB Jahmaal Daniel (#25) runs on a wide angle to the sideline.

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Prior to taking off downfield, Reynolds must make one more read on the force defender: The outside linebacker. If the OLB comes down on Reynolds with the ball, the QB can pitch the ball outside to Daniel. As Reynolds comes around the edge of the defense, however, he notices the OLB widening with Daniel, so he tucks the ball and bursts through the wide open lane for a 1st down.

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Sean Cottrell wrote this entry. Follow Sean on Twitter @PhllyDraft.

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