In breaking down Jimbo Fisher’s pro-option offense we’ve already discussed various forms of counter plays like CG Counter Read and Hammer, but today we’re looking at the ‘traditional’ counter, which some call GH Counter. Because of the various iterations of counter plays run today, coaches need a way to identify each play. Naming the play by who is pulling is an agreed upon format, so GH Counter simply means the backside guard (G) and H-back/TE (H) are the pullers on the play.
Like other counter plays, GH Counter is a fairly simple play design. To run GH Counter you need to at least be in 11 personnel because one TE has to be on the field. The backside guard and H-back pull playside while all other lineman downblock. The playside DE is left unblocked because he is kicked out by the pulling guard. BSG opens the hole, he is the crowbar prying apart the defensive front. H-back follows inside the hole and seals/wraps the playside linebacker. The RB takes the ball and runs through the tunnel created by the BSG and H’s blocks. Simple.
The offense is in 11 personnel with all three receivers and the TE/H aligned to the field. Note the wide splits of the receivers stretching the secondary across the field. The quad set to the field means the boundary is wide open for a running play. X goes vertical and stalk blocks, outside slot stalk blocks, inside slot stalk blocks. TE/H pulls playside and seals/wraps playside linebacker. LT down blocks strongside DE. LT has a key block, if he is not able to control the DE, it is a TFL in the backfield. LG pulls playside and blocks unblocked WDE. LG creates the hole. C downblocks 1-tech. RG doubles 3-tech with RT. RT helps double then climbs to block MLB. RB takes a counter step then meshes with QB for handoff. Counter step should time up RB to follow H’s block into the hole created by LG’s kickout. If blocked correctly, no one touches the RB until he reaches third level.
Executing GH Counter
At the snap, field receiver Caleb Chapman goes vertical. Outside slot Ainias Smith stalk blocks. Inside slot Jalen Preston stalk blocks. LT Jahmir Johnson seals the SDE outside. Good key block. Center Bryce Foster seals the 1-tech backside. LG Kenyon Green pulls playside. The WDE pinched inside so Green cannot kick him out. He pins him inside instead. TE/H Jalen Wydermyer kicks out the playside linebacker creating the hole. RG Layden Robinson and RT Reuben Fatheree double-team the 3-tech. Fatheree climbs off the double-team and goes for the backside LB. This is a poor decision by Fatheree, the BLSB is blocked by traffic and too far away to make the play. Block the MLB and seal him inside. Isaiah Spiller takes his counter step, takes the handoff from Zach Calzada, and runs into the hole. Because Fatheree went after the BSLB, the MLB is waiting for Spiller in the hole. Spiller deftly cuts inside him because he’s a football player. Carolina 1-tech Zacch Pickens comes off Bryce Foster’s block and jumps on Spiller’s back four yards past the line of scrimmage. Spiller carries him an additional four yards.
Result of the play is a 9 yard gain.