Three plays that work well with one word tempo.

What’s the best way to put a defense on its heels? Operate at a speed which they cannot.

Whether you huddle-up or are no huddle, one word tempo is a tool that allows an offense to operate at warp speed. Really any play could be run in this manner, but there are characteristics to plays that work best.


First, it should be a play that you can run with any personnel group.  If you change personnel and the play is tied to only one grouping, then you cannot strike a defense at any time.

Second, it should be one that does not require much or anything as far as line calls.  The last thing you want is to hurry to the ball and then have to wait for calls to be made.

Finally, it should be something that you feel good running against any defense.  Because you are moving as fast as possible, you need to be able to run it against however the defense lines up, which at times may even be incorrect.  

Here are three plays from coaches who have been utilizing the one word tempo successfully and fit the criteria above.

#1 Stick Draw

Stick draw allows you to utilize any personnel.  Even if a tight end or fullback needs to align and run the stick, his speed down the field is not crucial to the play being successful because it’s a short route with space created for the catch and run. It’s simply read with the quarterback as the runner. 

Here Jason Lewis, Offensive Coordinator at Heidelberg University, explains it here

Source: Advantages of being an explosive fast paced offense

#2 Simple Throw WR Screens

Assistant Football Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Morningside College, Lucas Lueders will utilize his fastball or one word plays as a way to get his offense going.  One of the simplest plays which he shows works even when outnumbered is a receiver screen.  There’s no decision for the QB and it really doesn’t matter what is happening in the box.

Here Coach Lucas Lueders illustrates the simple WR Screen:

Source: RPO’s & Screens: Luca Luerders

#3 Downfield Shot with Vert Switch

Del Valle High School’s Head Coach Bobby Acosta has utilized tempo for years and sees big opportunity in taking a shot from a one word tempo.  His example here shows the defense completely confused and the ball going into the end zone.

Here Bobby Acosta demonstrates the vert switch.

Source: Creating Tempo is A lifestyle

Being able to take advantage of a defense by operating at the fastest tempo possible is a tool for any kind of offense. It allows you to jump start your offense. If it’s hit an in-game lull, take advantage of a defense after you’ve hit them with a big play. Even convert a critical third down by catching them off guard.

You don’t need many of these, just well executed one word that you can install and use all season long. For more tips, check out the offensive page


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