The reasons for competing in 7on7 leagues and tournaments are many. It sharpens the receiving and quarterbacking skills of the offensive players. It is a great way for defensive players to get much-needed pass coverage experience. So, what about those teams actually taking the time to fake a handoff or a pitch before throwing the ball down field?
The play-action pass can be a beautiful play – if it’s on a crisp, fall Friday evening on the local high school football field. How do you think those Wing-T and Offset-I offenses get to perfect those pass routes? While practice time against the scout defense may contribute to some success, high school coaches realize the importance of running their playbook ‘as-is’ when being part of the summer 7on7 contests.
Detractors will say 7on7 defenses already know the quarterback cannot hand the ball off. The linebackers don’t have to concern themselves with a running back. They’ll just immediately head for their zone coverage responsibilities. Most defensive coaches would not settle for their players to become so complacent. They will instruct the linebackers to ‘hold their water’ until they actually see the running back cross in front of the quarterback and then have them drop into coverage.
Defensive coaches not accustomed to seeing ‘old school’ run teams also will jump at the opportunity of face a play-action passing attack. This is especially true when a couple of teams on the fall schedule have switched coaches – coaches bringing the Wing-T or I-Wing offense into a conference. It can create familiarity for future opponents as players won’t be out of touch with such schemes.
For the quarterback in a run-oriented offense, a 7on7 provides additional reps for learning to read secondary coverage and tendencies. Without these summer tournaments and multiple team 7on7 events, coaches would not be able to fully open the passing portion of the playbook. As the season nears, a team which keeps the ball on the ground 70-percent or more just does not have the available time to tweak a lot of pass plays.
Likewise, it is a needed learning experience for the tight ends, wide outs and running backs. With every passing rep for the quarterback comes a catching opportunity for the skilled players. The video of the 7on7 results in a ‘live’ feel for the coaches as they look for crisp cuts and route techniques by the backs and receivers.