by Anthony M. Pratley

In this discussion, I will talk about the bread and butter play of the Pistol Spread Option offense, the inside veer. Many people have run the inside veer for many years, so I won’t waste your time or mine describing its many benefits. I will however describe to you how great it has been to us, and how running it out of the pistol set makes the read
much easier for our QB.

We ran Veer right and Veer left on nearly 80% of our offensive snaps last season. The first concept to understand is the idea of leaving a player unblocked. If you read my last article you will remember that I am the 4th coach in three years at Leonardtown High School. I was also implementing the 4th system in three years as well.
The idea of leaving a defender unblocked was a very difficult one for our players to understand.
Our rule is to leave any player that is a 4 Technique or wider unblocked.

Technique Diagram:

Technique Diagram

The concept of the inside veer is to put the defender on an island. The defender can’t be right.
If he comes up field at all or tries to tackle our QB, then our QB will give the ball to the HB and let him run.
The second thing the defender can do is close down on the play and try to tackle the HB, our QB will then pull the
ball and attack the flat defender. This is what sets our inside veer apart from the traditional inside veer.

Although we do have the capability of brining one of our slots in motion to be a pitch man, we usually choose not
to. We have found that usually that is a dead giveaway. Instead, what we do is send our inside slot to the play
side on a swing route. Now what we have done is put the Flat defender on an
island. He must decide to take the QB on the option, which is usually his run
responsibility, or take the Swing Route and cover the flats, which is his pass responsibility.

Primary Read Diagram:

Vs. 4-2

Vs. 3-3

The most difficult part of running the Inside Veer is the QB read. It is imperative that our QB finds his read right off of the
snap. This is the main reason that we feel the pistol gives us the biggest
advantage. Our QB catches the snap at steps at a 45 degree angle on our
“triangle.” The HB’s responsibility is to run straight down the “triangle” as
fast as he can.

The QB will be responsible for the mesh point exchange. We teach our HB that it is his job to “get tackled.”
If he doesn’t get tackled, he didn’t give us a good enough fake. The other little hint that we have used to help us teach the read
is we use the “Clear and Cloudy” idea with our QB. If the gap that you are reading (in this case the “B”
gap) is Clear, meaning that no defender is in the gap, then give the ball. If
the “B” gap is Cloudy, meaning that there is a defender in the gap, then we tell the QB to keep the ball and make his
secondary read.

The QB’s secondary read is an easy read to teach, but is one that must be a very quick read.
In many cases, we have already predetermined what the Flat player is going to do by setting up the play.
The QB also has the ability to immediately go to his third option on any play if he knows the slot will be

As the QB makes his initial read, and pulls the football, his eyes immediately find the flat player.
If the flat player is guarding the swing route in the flat, then the QB will keep the ball and turn up field.
The only way that our QB will throw out to the flat is if he feels that he is going to be threatened by the Flat
player. We very rarely get to our third option on any veer play, but when we
do, we were very successful by it.

As I mentioned previously, we did not invent the play, we did not come up with a new way to run the inside veer, we have just
found a system that works for us and for our players. The veer is truly a play that when perfected can be a
very dangerous weapon.  The true trick of running the inside veer is to
practice and rep it over and over again.  When you reach that point, you can then add about 3 or
4 more plays that compliment the veer.

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