ITP Glossary: Bunch Formation

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.

Bunch Formation

The bunch formation is a tight grouping of three receivers implemented to create mismatches, as it crowds defenders if they attempt to press all three receivers at once, while creating a numbers advantage if the defense is in zone. The receivers in the bunch formation line up on the same side of the field, with the middle receiver on the line of scrimmage flanked by the other two receivers about a yard to either side of him and off the line of scrimmage.

Bunch Formation Still 1The bunch formation can be used to create numbers advantages against a zone defense, as Iowa does below. This example comes from the 2015 Week 12 game between Iowa and Purdue, with just under 14 minutes remaining in the second quarter, on a scoring drive which Mark Schofield outlined in his book, 17 Drives. The Hawkeyes have 11 personnel, with the bunch to the left of the formation. Tight end Henry Krieger Coble (#80) is on the line of scrimmage with wide receivers Jacob Hillyer (#17) and Matt Vandeberg (#89) to his left and right respectively. Iowa runs a bubble screen to Vandeberg and, because Purdue only sent two players to cover the three receivers in the bunch formation, Krieger Coble, and Hillyer are able to seal off a lane to the corner for Vandeberg to score.

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The bunch formation can also be used to beat man coverage quickly off the ball, as defenders must give each other space to prevent collisions. In addition, it can also force a defense to respect the number of receivers in the formation when in zone coverage, thereby opening interior running lanes for the offense. The bunch formation can be found in nearly every offense, as it can be moved across the formation for run and pass plays, providing value to pro and spread offenses alike.

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Ryan Dukarm wrote this entry. Follow Justin on Twitter @DBRyan_Dukarm.

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