Single Receiver Production By Working The Boundary Safety - Cody Gillin

Maximize Your Single Receiver Production By Working The Boundary Safety

This article is about attacking the boundary one on one with different routes and taking what the defense gives you by boundary safety alignment and movement.

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In the past nine years, UIndy has been equipped with some great receivers. With much preparation, our coaches have done a great job of getting those receivers in one on one situations. One of those ways is by positioning the player as the single receiver on the boundary side. We have a base route already installed for our boundary receiver and we are able to tag him with four additional routes to keep the defensive back guessing. If the defense changes their scheme to take away the one on one, we have an easy read pass concept to the field. If the defense has a scheme to take away the boundary and field, we are able to change one route in the pass concept to attack the defense’s weakness. Overall, we are trying to take advantage of our best match-up and if the boundary is not an option we have an easy read on the field-side to take advantage of what the defense will give us.

The first 3×1-route concept is our slide concept:

This concept has a seven-step bang route by the boundary receiver. The bang route is a hybrid of a skinny post and a dig. The receiver will explode off the ball with seven explosive steps and get both shoulders back to the quarterback while running full speed. The field side (FS)#3 will run a middle route aiming for the goal post. He cannot cross the middle of the field. The FS#2 will run a bandit route. He will run to four yards and give the defender an inside movement to run out of the break to the sideline. The FS #1 will run a speed cut dig at 12 yards. His job is to get into the eyes of the quarterback. The running back will check his protection responsibility and then swing to the boundary. The quarterback will ready the boundary safety; if he moves off the hash in either direction the quarterback will look opposite. When the quarterback knows the direction he is looking, he will read the hang defender to that side. This defender will designate where the ball will go. If the quarterback decides to look to the boundary side, he will read the “W” linebacker. If the “W” gets depth, the quarterback will drop off to the swing route by the running back. If the “W” plays the boundary flats, the quarterback will anchor step and throw the bang route. When the quarterback reads the field side, he will find the “Sam” linebacker. If the “Sam” gets depth, the quarterback will drop it off to the bandit route. If the “Sam” attaches to the bandit, the quarterback will throw the dig behind the linebackers.

Boundary Route #1 (Curl)

This is a good change up to our bang route. It gives the corner and “W” a different look, but we are still working the same window. The great thing about these boundary changes is that the quarterback’s read stays the same. The boundary receiver is running a curl to the first window inside the hang defender. In this image, it is the “W”. His depth is at twelve yards. There are times where he will only get ten yards because of how the defenders are playing the route. The object of the curl is to give a different look to the defense and work the “W” alignment. The read for the quarterback is the boundary safety and then the “W”.

Boundary Route #2 (Shake)

Again, for the quarterback the read stays the same. This assures we will have a one on one situation if we work this side. The quarterback will read the boundary safety and work the post corner to the swing route. The boundary receiver will run what looks like the bang route. On his third step after breaking the bang route, he will rip his inside arm through, breaking out to work for twenty-five yards on the sideline. If the defensive back is over top, the receiver will go under and be physical with his off hand. The quarterback will throw a ball with some velocity, as if he were throwing a deep out. If the defensive back is under, the receiver will go over top. This makes for a harder throw, meaning the quarterback needs to put air under the ball so the receiver can create separation from the defensive back. This throw may be a little deeper due to the path of the receiver.

Boundary Route #3 (Takeoff)

This is also a change-up from our bang route. This route is to run by the corner while giving the illusion that we are running the bang route. The boundary receiver will run seven steps. His eighth step is a pressure step with head and eyes inside, while keeping his vertical tempo in order to run by the corner. The read remains the same for the quarterback. The ball needs to be either directly in front of the receiver or to the outside, depending on where the defensive back is in relation to the receiver. If the defensive back is behind the receiver, the quarterback needs to lead the receiver. If the defensive back is in front of the receiver and you can see the receiver’s inside shoulder, the quarterback has the option to throw to the receiver’s back-shoulder with good velocity. This is a great way to take a shot with a good player.

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Defensive Adjustments:

When we are successful at working the boundary one on one, the defense will do a couple of things differently. The first scheme is to rotate coverage to the boundary so that they are able to have a high defender and a low defender. The next scheme is a triangle scheme. This scheme allows the boundary safety to play run and double the boundary receiver if it is a pass read. In this concept, we are forced to work the field side. We will add a whip route to FS#2 to counter the triangle coverage and/or use play action to assure that we get the one on one situations for the boundary receiver and the FS#2.

Cloud Coverage:
Counter Concept #1

This is our change up for triangle coverage. We will execute the same routes in our slide concept, but we will change the FS#2 to run a whip. He will run to five yards, take three steps to the out, plant his outside foot and run to open space. We can add a quick play action to hold the “M” if we feel he will be a problem. The quarterback’s read stays the same as the slide concept. He will read the boundary safety and then find the hang defender to the side the safety takes him. We can run all boundary tags with this concept.

Counter Concept #2

This is our counter for cloud coverage to the boundary and triangle coverage. The read for the quarterback remains the same. The FS#2 will run a speed-cut out at five yards and the FS#1 will run a curl at twelve yards back to ten. The curl will find the window between the “Sam” and “M”. Although in this coverage, his main job is to beat the corner.

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Slide Concept Read Drills:

Our focus for these drills is to cut the field in half and give the quarterback a clear picture of what he will be reading to one side. After we drill both sides, we will combine both drills so he can execute the play with all reads involved. The receivers will begin at the break of their route. They will wait for the quarterback to finish his drop and then finish their route. For example, the bang route will be on his seventh step; when the quarterback is finishing his drop, the receiver will finish his route with his shoulders back to the quarterback at a good tempo. This drill makes it hard for the receivers to go full speed, but they will execute the drill with a good tempo. We use scout team players, managers or specialists for the defenders. The defenders are able to move one of the two directions when the ball is snapped. This allows the quarterback to react to the defense to make the correct read.

We are cutting the field in half to read the boundary. The quarterback will read the boundary safety and then the “W”. He will take three steps and either anchor to throw the bang route or hitch and throw the swing depending on what the “W” decides. The receivers will start at the break of their route and finish the route with a good tempo.

For this drill, we are cutting the field in half to read the field. The read is the same for the quarterback. He will read the boundary safety and then find the “Sam”. The quarterback needs to be aware of a hard corner to the field after reading the “Sam”. This is something that is hard to do in any route concept. The drill makes the read easier for game decisions. The receivers will start at the break of their route and finish the route with a good tempo. Depending on how many scout players, managers and specialists are available, we are able to use the whole field to have both Bang read drill and Slide read drill working at the same time with two quarterbacks.

We use only one quarterback for this drill. This drill is to put the reads together, so the quarterback can go through the reads without any problems during a game. The defenders still have one of the two directions they can choose. The quarterback will go through his reads and make his decisions based on where the defenders cover. The receivers remain the same.

Please let me know if you would like more information on these concepts or drills. WIN!


Casey Gillin just finished his ninth season as the full-time Quarterbacks Coach at the University of Indianapolis in 2018, one season after assuming the duties of Passing Game Coordinator. In his first season calling plays for the UIndy offense, Gillin helped guide the Greyhounds to program records for wins in a season (11), Consecutive wins (15), and scoring offense (38.2 ppg). Gillin’s playing career was a successful three-year stint as the Greyhound’s signal caller from 2005-07 before becoming a graduate assistant in 2009. Gillin has served as the team’s video and recruiting coordinator at various points in his coaching tenure.

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