Breaking down Frazier and the 'load option'

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Let’s move past the NFL lockout on this Memorial Day holiday and get into some X’s and O’s of the college game. However, instead of looking at the “read option” from Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick or the spread looks we saw from Cam Newton and Auburn this season, we need to bring Tommie Frazier and Nebraska back to center stage.

The 1996 Fiesta Bowl. Frazier and the Huskers vs. Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators. And, if you follow college football, you know the play we are going to watch: Frazier’s unreal run off of the load option on the way to a National Championship. Check out the replay and then we will get into some detailed coaching points.

Coaching Points:

O-Line action: Similar to the “G-Lead” running scheme in the NFL out of 2-backs (pull the front side guard), Nebraska wants to create leverage up the field off the down block from the closed (strong) side TE. Pull the front side guard up through the hole to seal off the scraping linebacker. On the backside, the left tackle will “scoop” block to prevent any inside penetration that would disrupt the backfield action—and stop Frazier from getting down the line of scrimmage.

“Load” Option: Frazier has to ride the FB through the mesh point to create the “triple option” look, but this is a pure “load option.” The FB is part of the blocking scheme and will work up to the second level of the defense to seal off any downhill penetration from a safety or linebacker. Have to show the fake, but this is a pre-determined play with Frazier and the “I Back” working the 2-man option.

Option technique: Just like we see now in today’s college game: option the end man on the line of scrimmage. In this case, Frazier will work the Sam backer from the Gators. And if you are teaching this, keep it simple. QB works parallel to the line of scrimmage and reads the force. If the defender crashes, pitch the ball. And if he stays with contain principles, get the up field and produce positive yardage.

The highlight: Yes, you can learn about option football by watching clips of Frazier and Tom Osborne’s Huskers, but what we can take from this is how great of a college football player the Nebraska QB was. I remember watching tape on him when I played at Iowa, and he could do some special things with the ball in his hands. Just like he did here—and the Ball Coach’s reaction on the replay tells you the story. He was unstoppable at times.

Have a great holiday today by the grill with friends and family. I’m going to enjoy the summer weather in southern Wisconsin on the lake. Catch you guys tomorrow.

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