Michigan Gadget Plays and Wrinkles from the Playbook – Throw Deep Publishing



Michigan Gadget Plays and Wrinkles from the Playbook

Posted by Gavin Southworth on

Has your offense experienced problems creating running lanes against really talented or extremely physical tite fronts?

If so, take a page from Michigan Co-Offensive Coordinator Sherrone Moore, and learn how to use gadgets and wrinkles to get your playmakers on the edge using simple formations and blocking schemes.

These change-ups force defensive coordinators to stay up at night and add another layer to your offensive playbook. These types of plays can be incorporated as add-ons into any offense and will help counteract defensive fronts and keep them unbalanced. After all, there’s no better way to change the opponent’s defensive look than forcing them to show you something different.

Before we get started, Michigan Co-Offensive Coordinator Sherrone Moore breaks down the Michigan Run Game in this two-part clinic talk HERE.

Watch the video below to get a preview of what this clinic covers, or scroll down to read more.

So let's get started...

Michigan's Offense - The Counter Play vs Ohio State

The main idea behind Coach Moore’s perimeter game wrinkles is to attack teams by bypassing the defensive end against tite front looks and getting pullers out in space.

Michigan Counter Wrinkle vs Ohio State

The image above shows an example of pre-snap alignment vs Ohio State. On this play, the tight end and the left guard pull to the boundary while avoiding contact with the DE. In order to do so properly, these guys need to be athletic and able to move with agility in space.

Michigan GH Counter Diagram vs Ohio State

The right guard and right tackle will double team the 3 tech and then climb to the second level to finish out the play. The ball is handed to the running back and the play results in a touchdown for the Wolverines.

We talk more about the Michigan counter play HERE.

Michigan End Around (Right) vs Iowa

Next, in this play against Iowa, Coach Moore uses the RB differently, with Hassan Haskins (#25) getting out in space as a blocker and replacing the responsibility of the TE in the first play.

Michigan Reverse Play vs Iowa - End Zone View

This allows the ball to be given to the WR (#3) out in space, by jet motioning him across the formation and running the ball to the right.

Michigan Power Orbit Motion Reverse Diagram vs Iowa

When calling a game, use the defensive alignment to your advantage. Don’t let the opponent’s sideline dictate the way you call your offensive game. If the opposing DC chooses to jam the interior, don’t run it in there. Get the ball on the edge and get blockers upfield.

End Around (Left) vs Michigan State

The next play is against Michigan State. Here, Coach Moore creates a distraction for the defensive end by arching him, blocking him, and then running around him.

Michigan Reverse Play vs Michigan State

The tight end aligned to the right in the backfield, and the center pull left to create a convoy for the wideout (#6) who is aligned pre-snap to the right side of the field and then handed the ball on an end around.

Before the ball is given to the wideout, the QB opens to the right and executes a play fake to the tailback, thus creating further confusion regarding where the ball is headed.

Michigan Counter CF Reverse Diagram vs Michigan State

This play created so much grass that the ball carrier gained nearly 15 yards before being touched by a defender.

End Around vs 4 Strong & 4 Field Box Defenders

Here Michigan is facing a look with 4 defenders to the strong side of the formation and 4 defenders to the field.

Michigan Reverse Play vs Indiana - End Zone View


A reverse is called and the right guard and the TE pull to get the ball outside and create a different look for the defense. Wrinkles like this keep the defense unbalanced and throw unique looks their way.

Michigan Counter GH Reverse Diagram vs Indiana

By bypassing the DE, you’re also coaching your guard out of having head on collisions with a DE every time you get the ball on the perimeter.

Michigan End Around Keys & Play Design

On the final play, the center pulls outside and bypasses the DE while the TE does the same and runs off of his tail. The strong side number one runs his path creating a deep end around and is handed the football.

Michigan Reverse Play Design


The key to being successful at the end around and reverse plays is to be conscious of who you’re handing the ball to. These should be the guys who are capable of springing the play for large amounts of yardage and creating a game changing run.

Michigan Bunch Counter Reverse Diagram

Coach Moore states that he had the privilege of having multiple electric wide receivers and skilled position athletes who were capable of executing these plays.

Key Points

Gadget and wrinkle plays are highly effective ways to get yourself out of a pinch against unfavorable defensive looks. These plays are best saved for opportune moments and should be tucked away in your back pocket until the right opponent and situation present themselves.

The Tite Front especially is a tough look for a team that loves the inside zone. Michigan inside zone blocking drills are a big part of their weekly practice, but gap schemes have to be a part of the mix as well.

These specific examples from Coach Moore at the University of Michigan, are excellent ways to counter an opposing tite front defense. If there’s nothing to be had on the interior, don’t sweat it, and change your focus to attacking the perimeter.

Coach Moore’s bypassing technique is a great way to get your physical players in space leading the way for your playmakers while avoiding heavy collisions with the DE at the same time. By getting the ball in the hands of the right players, these plays can spark some electric runs given that your blockers successfully climb to the second and third levels.

Want More?

Check out the entire series that covers the Michigan Football Offensive Scheme HERE.