Learn more about the Spread Offense at
Learn more about the Spread Offense at
Spread Offense - The Dual Threat QB
Thursday, June 9, 2011

If you had to name one position that most differentiates the spread offense from a traditional offense, it would be the quarterback position.

A true spread offense has a dual threat athlete at the quarterback position, predominately in a shot gun formation at each snap and with the ability to threaten the defense not only by throwing the football, but running the football with designed plays that involve the QB.

Let's take a look at two examples, one run and one pass and the stress a dual threat QB can place on a defense:

1. Here's the popular zone read/triple option run out of a spread offense:

In this play diagram, you notice that the quarterback is the second of three run options for the offense, meaning that if the QB determines that the backside Defensive End (E) crashes down or chases on the zone run (S) hand-off to the left, he has the option to pull the ball and progress to his second (keep the ball and run vertically if Will extends to the pitch back (Z)) option and third option (pitch to the Z in pre-snap motion, if Will attacks the QB).

2. Here's a look at the QB as a pass threat in the spread offense:

In this play diagram, the offense is in a run-friendly diamond formation. In trying to keep the defense off-balanced, we'll call a play-action pass with our dual threat QB executing a 'flash fake' to the right tailback before taking a 2 step drop from the shot gun and reading his pass progressions (receivers: 1 thru 4).

At the college, high school, and youth levels, the quarterback position in the spread offense has become very similar to the point guard position in basketball. The ability to distribute the ball to your playmakers (read runs and pass) while at the same time stressing the defense with the ability to move the ball and score (especially with your legs) has changed the way defenses have to prepare in defending the spread offense.

About the author: Mark Colyer is the President and Founder of, an online portal for coaches, parents, and players seeking information on running and defending the spread offense in football at all levels. Visit us online at: and on Facebook at:

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