The Buck Lateral Fullback Trap

January 15th, 2010

By Coach Jay Phares

When talking about the Buck Lateral Series, you must first mention the greats that have perfected the series and gashed numerous teams with its effective combination of deception and power. Those names include Crisler, Caldwell and Ragsdale. Crisler’s players were dubbed the “Mad Magicians,” Caldwell wrote the book on Modern Single Wing Football, and Ragsdale’s second series made his under talented high school teams legendary. All of what I have been able to learn and pass along are due to the efforts and intuition of the previously mentioned single wing greats. The following is an article of what I have come to learn through study and practice of the single wing’s buck lateral series, which is a great complement to the straight series.

The Fullback Trap in the Buck Lateral Series combines finesse, raw power and deception which makes it a play that is impossible to defend when called and executed properly. Contrary to belief it is the trap that is the base play and NOT the pitch. The Buck Lateral Series is a check on the straight series which influences the defense to the off-tackle area with the first step. Once the defense has been expanded by the first step, the power and deception of this series takes hold. This expansion of the interior defense makes it vulnerable to be trapped. The deception comes into play from the defenses’ inability to identify the ball carrier on the snap as well as the defensive tackles’ influence to be drawn up field by a free release and the Blocking Back’s potential reception of the ball after he turns his back. If the backfield action is executed properly the defensive tackle will have to be more than disciplined to play his technique correctly and if he does not the trap block is already made by the influence. The weak side guard or quick guard can bypass the defensive tackle and turn into the hole if he is too far up field to make the tackle and this gives you another blocker at the point of attack. Even if he does not come up field, a properly executed trap block continues the success of the play. The natural crease that is created by the blocking assignments (the potential double team, the kick out or trap, “the wall”) along with the defenders having to hold for the pitch fake on every play, makes this a very dangerous play and one that can go the distance from anywhere on the field.

Once the base play of the series has taken hold and the defense does not expand when the Fullback catches the snap, then it is time to break their backs with the pitch and tackle trap. I have seen a Division 1 athlete, who was the force player, be sucked in by the trap because we pounded it so many times that when we ran pitch, he was nowhere to be found in the play.

Finesse and Deception: Backfield Actions, The Snap and The Fullback and Blocking Back Mesh
Power: The Double Team, The Trap Block and The Wall


Fullback: 1st step: 6 inch delay step, catch the ball in front; 2nd step: toward BB and extend the ball; 3rd step: mesh with BB/pull ball back, get behind the wall and run to daylight. The big plays will not be cutbacks but right up the crease between “the wall” and pitch fake influence.

Blocking Back: “1,2,3 pitch” 1st step: left foot inside 45 degree angle pivot; 2nd step: right foot around, heel to toe relationship, form scoop in lap with hands, pinkies together, mesh with FB; 3 step: left foot step to pitch path, raise hands in pitch fashion and carry out pitch fake.


Tailback: Gain depth to 7 yards; look for pitch; chicken wing fake out 15+ yards; the pitch fake will hold the force and secondary force players.


Weak Side End: Cutoff deep pursuit player; this block can mean the difference between a 20 yard gain and a 50 yard touchdown.


Weak Side Guard: Gain depth with bucket pull step; trap path into the line NOT down the line; dig out a good reader or DT sitting in the hole; if trap man has penetrated too far into the backfield turn up into the hole; trap man is first man head up to outside Inside Tackle.

Snapper: Snap ball to fullbacks far hip; check block back to protect the puller/backside.


Strong Guard: Block down/on; protect snapper; potential double team (post man); dig out all crabbers/bear crawlers with “forklift” technique.

Inside Tackle: Block down/backer; potential double team.


Outside Tackle: Inside release on head up/outside shade; outside release on an inside shade to second level; intercept/pick up plugging middle backer to backside backer; if he scrapes head up field shoulder/if he plugs head inside. BUILD THE WALL!


Strong End: Inside release on head up/outside shade; outside release on an inside shade to second level; block middle backer; if he scrapes head up field shoulder/if he plugs head inside. BUILD THE WALL!

Wingback: Release to the second level; blocking track is backer to near safety. BUILD THE WALL!


- Tackle Trap, Tailback Pitch, Wingback Counter, Weak Side Trap

This article will be continued on the complement plays by Coach Haymore.