Tag Archives: Trick Plays

Cajon Special: A Trick Play

21 Nov

Some years ago when I coached at Barstow HS, the head coach, a former Nebraska Nose Tackle by the name of Dionicio Monarrez, would like us to install some kind of trick play into our offensive game plan each week.  He liked to surprise our opponents at key times during a game.  He called the trick plays: “momentum changers”.

One week our opponent was Cajon HS and while breaking down film of them, I saw that they favored a Cover 1 defense in short yardage situations and I wondered what the Free Safety would do if we went empty from a 2×2 formation by motioning our single setback out of the backfield (below).   Would he stay in the middle of the field or would he pick up the RB?

Cajon Special as the play would be called was a simple deception.  The deception was that the inside receiver to the left side was actually an offensive Tackle while our Tight End replaced him on the right side of the offensive line.  The OT was positioned on the LOS, so he was covered by the X-receiver and was not an eligible receiver.

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Terminology: Shovel Pass

19 Aug

It’s “shovel” pass.  Not shuffle or shuttle, but shovel!

“Cactus” Jack Curtice is credited with developing the nifty little pass play that has so many coaches and fans alike confused as to what to actually call it.

Because of the pass play’s unique throwing motion — a kind of hybrid overhanded, pitch forward — the term “shovel” pass was the first name assigned the technique some decades ago.  It was later twisted into the erroneous nom de guerres presently associated with the play because some people either can’t spell or pronounce the word, “shovel”.


Now there’s some disagreement as to who first developed the pass play.   Some say Walter “Bug” Bujkowski and others point to “Cactus Jack Curtice as the play’s principal architect. We’ll let you decide who deserves the credit.

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Trick Play by Steve Spurrier

19 Jul

Looks like the star burst kick-off return.  You’d definitely need solid blocking up front to give the play time to develop.

The Team That Invented Football – Part 2

18 Jul
by Sally Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

The Carlisle practice field was a piece of hardpan that could chip the blade off a shovel. It was an uneven, rock-strewn acre irrigated with the Indians’ sweat. The players themselves had dug the field, measured it, graded it and sodded it.

On a September day in 1899, Warner stood on the field and scrutinized his new football team. His heart dropped to his shoes.  The players were “listless and scrawny, many looking as if they had been drawn through a knothole,” he would recall later.  Over the next 13 years, the coach would have just one Carlisle team whose players averaged more than 170 pounds.

Carlisle Indians - 1899

Warner was 28 when he was hired by Carlisle on the recommendation of Camp, for whom he had played at Cornell before going on to coach football at Georgia, Iowa State and his alma mater. Warner had a reputation for creativity.   At Georgia he had experimented with the screen pass and the tackling dummy.  He also developed theories of fitness, diet, training and motivation.  He rousted the Bulldogs at 6 a.m. for five-mile runs and locked them in their dorm at night.  He was an authoritarian who backed up his words with physical force; he gave up scrimmaging with the Bulldogs only when he broke the collarbone of one of his players. Then in two seasons as Cornell’s head coach he went 15-5-1.

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Another Trick Play…

28 Jan

…a variation of the Driscoll Middle School Trick Play

Fake Punt: Legal or Illegal?

27 Jan