One of the things that many offensive coaches strive for is to construct a series of football plays that resemble each other at the snap of the ball. This series of plays will utilize a base play, a counter off of the base play, and usually a play action pass to accompany the two previous plays.
Here are some links to great articles discussing different types of series football. Check these out for my ideas and thoughts on the topic of series football.
Belly/Double Dive, Offensive Basics of Series Football, and Spread Gun Wing-T Buck Series.
Continuing with my breakdown of the Auburn offense from this past season I'm going to show an example of Gus Malzahn's use of series football inside of his offense. Malzahan has stated that his offensive roots come from the wing-t, which then makes the following idea that a man known for his genius of the spread offense uses series of football. This series of three plays was taken from Auburn's first game of the season against Arkansas State, and all plays were from the first quarter.
The Base Play - The Inside Zone
The series of three plays I will discuss all start out in a very similar fashion. The tailback will align out of the backfield as a slot receiver on the right and motion into the backfield.
On the snap of the ball the running back to the left of Newton will come across Newton's body for a play fake and the tailback will begin to come down hill for the inside zone hand off.
The H-back will help secure the defensive end.
Auburn has a nice little play.
The Second Play - The Counter
I've already discussed Auburn's counter play, and actually used an example of this same exact look from Auburn's stomping of South Carolina in the SEC Championship.
This play works out of the same set and motion.
On the snap the running back to the left will lead outside to help block the force player as the H-back and left guard execute their role in the counter blocking scheme.
Another successful play for the Tigers.
The Third Play - The Play Action Pass
The final play in the series and the one that gashes Arkansas State for a big touchdown is the play action pass that comes off of the counter action.
Notice this time the formation is slightly different, the tailback who has aligned as the widest receiver to the right is now aligned in the slot. He will once again execute his high motion into the backfield.
On the snap of the ball the tailback comes down hill and we see the running back to the left of the QB release outside like he had on the counter play, along with that the left guard once again pulls.
Both wide receivers have taken inside releases and are pushing to the middle of the field and getting vertical. We also see the running back that has left the backfield increase speed and begin his wheel route up the sideline, looking to outrun the corner that had released inside with the wide receiver.
Finally, we see the wheel route beating the trailing corner and leaving himself wide open for a touchdown.
Three plays, all from very similar sets and initial motions which accomplish three different things. The ultimate goal is setting up the play action pass to take advantage of aggressive defensive back play. I believe one of the biggest reasons the play action pass is so wide open is because Malzahn does not wait to long to throw it. He comes out, he runs the inside zone and the counter, on the next series he comes out and throws the play action pass. The defense must be weary of the two plays they've already seen out of that set, only to leave them reeling when Malzahn unleashes the dagger.