The Shallow Sting concept is a combination of an Air Raid concept, Shallow Cross, with a deep passing concept, Double Post. Credit for the Shallow Sting concept is attributed to Lincoln Riley, although other Air Raid teams utilize the concept. Alabama, who is the farthest thing from an Air Raid team, runs Shallow Sting as part of their offense.
Shallow Sting can be run from a variety of formations but 3×1 and 2×2 are optimal. As long as there is a solo receiver on the boundary side of the field to run the shallow cross route, you can execute the concept. The boundary receiver runs a shallow cross while two field receivers run double posts to clear out deep coverage. The boundary receiver ‘spikes to the void’ to catch the pass. Shallow Sting attacks the field overhang defender on the defense. Some teams, Alabama included, use an arrow route to the flat by a RB to conflict the overhang defender.
Alabama runs shallow sting from 10 personnel with a 2×2 alignment. Notice the wide alignment of the receiver outside the numbers to the boundary and on the hash and outside the numbers to the field. The wide splits puts more stress on the secondary because even if the call is zone coverage, the alignment makes all coverages man to man. X receivers runs a 7 yard hitch. H receiver runs the sting route, a shallow that going vertical once it passes the second linebacker. Field slot runs a post. Field receiver runs a post. RB runs an arrow checkdown that also pulls the overhang defender away from the shallow sting route.
Executing Shallow Sting
At the 12:15 mark of the first quarter of their season opener against Miami, Alabama is on their own 43 yard facing a 1st and 10. The Crimson Tide come out in 10 personnel in a 2×2 alignment and Miami shows an even front with an overhang to the field. The secondary is giving a nice cushion with one safety in deep Cover 1. There are plenty of options here but Bama runs Shallow Sting.
At the snap, the offensive line goes into five-man pass pro, picking up a nice Tackle-Nose stunt from the 1-tech and 3-tech. Boundary receiver Slade Bolden runs a seven yard hitch. Boundary slot John Metchie runs the shallow sting route. The field slot (unidentified in scorebook) runs a post route and field receiver Jameson Williams runs a post route. RB Brian Robinson runs an arrow route.
The boundary corner drops off the hitch route. Boundary safety covers Metchie and then passes him off to the safety. Problem is the safety is distracted by the double post routes and doesn’t pick up Metchie. The field safety passes the field slot’s post route to the deep safety, so he is occupied. The play design works as intended as Metchie is wide open. Bryce Young does a deft job stepping up and to the right in the pocket, releasing the pass on the run. The pass travels 23 yards in the air and hits Metchie on the 20 yard line. Metchie cuts to the sideline and dives into the end zone for the TD.
End Zone View
While not considered a ‘Heisman moment’ for Bryce Young, this play displayed Young’s uncanny poise under pressure and foreshadowed the successful season he would have for Alabama in 2021.
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