Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gir's Weekly Column: Volume 71

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Gir's Weekly Column: Volume 71

By Gir Todafunk
Special To The Daily Magi
December 3, 2055

Happy Friday once again, readers of the Daily Magi and the Magi Football Blog. My name is Gir Todafunk with another Weekly Column for you guys to check out. Well, we dispatched of the UNLV Rebels, although we elected to not be so relentless in our approach. Oh well, at least we got the job done. So now we get to focus on the Air Force Falcons next week. Hopefully Navy can take down Army tomorrow and we get to be the top team in the country, since a few teams ahead of us fell last week.

Continuing with my chat about the game, I want to talk about reverses. A reverse (sometimes referred to as an end reverse) is a relatively common trick play in American football that involves one or more abrupt changes in the lateral flow of a rushing play. A classic reverse typically begins as a bootleg, sweep or end-around, but before the ball-carrier crosses the line of scrimmage he hands the ball off to a teammate, usually a wide receiver, running in the reverse (opposite) direction. Because many of the defensive players will have gravitated in the direction of the original rusher, if the second ball-carrier can outrun the defenders to the other side of the field, he has a very good chance to make a big gain.

A variation of this play is a double reverse, in which the second ball-carrier takes the ball all or part way back across the field before he too hands off to a teammate running in the opposite direction. This causes the flow of the play to "reverse" a second time. A double reverse adds another level of surprise to the defense; however, the play takes more time and space to develop and increases the risk of a big loss or a fumbled handoff.

Another variation is the reverse option. On a reverse option, the second ball-carrier runs for a few steps, then (optionally) passes the ball downfield to a teammate, similar to a halfback option play. Many teams will also use the threat of a reverse to gain an advantage on simple sweep plays. In such a case, the quarterback might pitch the ball to the running back, who will fake a handoff or lateral to a teammate running in the opposite direction. The distraction is sometimes enough for the running back to gain an edge in getting past the defense.

Sometimes an end-around, in which the only handoff is from a stationary quarterback to a wide receiver, is imprecisely called a "reverse". An end-around is not a reverse because the lateral flow of the play does not change direction. However, it has become commonplace for fans, sportswriters, announcers, and even coaches and players to refer to any end-around as a 'reverse', and to an end-around reverse as a 'double reverse.'

I will talk a little bit more about the game in my next column. For now, it's me, Gir, signing off. You are not alone.

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