Gap, Scrape, and Option Exchange (Part 1)

As a defensive minded coach who is serving as an offensive coordinator, I have to be aware of the gap and option responsibilities of our opposing defense. When I call a defense I like to switch gap exchange pre-snap, scrape exchange post-snap, and even option exchange against zone read and triple option teams. This is part 1 of a 3 part series. 

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I refer to pre-snap exchanges of gaps as “gap exchange.” What I mean by this is that from our base 4-2-5, we align 6-3-1-5 against 11 personnel 2×2, thus our 6 plays the C, our 3 plays the B, our 1 plays the -A, our w5 plays the -C.

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Our 4-2-5 vs 11 2×2

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Front 6 gap responsibilities

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As you can see above, in our base 4-2-5 (we’ll call it Over) the 5 tech will play the C with the WLB playing the B. A gap exchange would be running an Under front here with the 3 weak and the 1 strong.


A scrape exchange takes place when pre-snap everything looks the same, but post-snap two players switch. An example is below:

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I like to cheat my 5-tech into a 4, and he can rip under the OT and cross his face easy and squeeze inside. The WLB cheats into a 30 and sprints to the C-gap. This causes the QB on IZR to pull when the DE disappears, but he runs into the safety and WLB if he stays tight to the OT’s hip (pre-snap placement) as he should.

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The Fish Duck guys have some great videos on scrape exchange however I don’t really love Ian Boyd’s explanation as I think his diagram for scrape exchange isn’t accurate. 

Where did the DC’s come up with scrape-exchange to stop the inside zone read? From the yesteryear days of stopping the triple option, of course! In part 2 of our gap/scrape/option exchange I will discuss shutting down the triple option from the wishbone and Nebraska I. In part 3- I will discuss how Nebraska adapted their scheme to beat the ‘Canes mighty Miami 4-3 Over front in the 1995 Orange Bowl. All of these posts are culminating in a thorough breakdown of the Paul Johnson Flexbone for Georgia Tech week at Watch the Patreon Exclusive video below as I do a chalk-talk that includes cut-ups of gap and scrape exchange. 

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