U Bacon - Red Sea Counter

U Bacon was designed primarily to pound away at defenses running off right guard and right tackle. However, in the NFL there is no play than can work all of the time; no matter how good your personnel are the other team has enough talent to stop just about any play dead in it's tracks once they have it figured out and can see it coming. The Red Sea Counter was introduced early in the development of U Bacon to mix things up, drawing the defense into the heart of the offensive formation toward the halfback only to see him turn the other way after the defensive rush is trapped. This play will punish teams that try to stop U Bacon power plays through sheer numbers of bodies by overloading the offense's right side, and keep those defenses honest against future plays.

This play requires a lot of finesse to run, possible more so than any other running play I've developed. This is due to the fact that while is has great potential to catch defenses flat-footed, the timing of the gap trap, the fullback containment block and the counter handoff is all a bit precocious. A well timed and directed blitz by the defensive tackle or end on the strong side can get past the FB and tackle the quarterback before the handoff is made. This seems to happen most when the defensive line shifts in any manner, and a linebacker blitz into the gap will also cause problems. To adjust you need to be able to take full advantage of the motion capabilities of your own implementation of the the U Bacon formation, as well as the Playmaker action. The exact results you get will depend on the particular way you create your formation, both the base formation (Full House formations work well) and how the players from the original formation are repositioned. Make sure to practice every motion and Playmaker scenario before bringing this play into an actual game, and to be safe it might be a good idea to have an audible ready just in case. A simple power run up the middle is the best attack for a defensive front seven spread out wide.

Player Assignments

Position Action
Left Tackle Run Block
Left Guard Run Block
Center Run Block
Right Guard Pull Left
Right Tackle Pull Right
QB Handoff to HB
Up TE (TE #1), Off TE (TE #2) and SE Run Block
FB Lead Wide Right
HB Counter Step - Off Tackle Left

See the Madden Playbook Guide for a description of these symbols.

Blocking Assessment

The most important part of the play is holding back the initial D-line rush just long enough to make a clean handoff. The FB leads directly into the gap created by the pulling guard and tackle, but this may not be enough to stop a defender with good positioning in the gap. If either the DT (D-line spread or shift to strongside) or DE (D-line shift tight or to weakside) is positioned directly over the gap you need to motion an extra blocker to provide support. The U Bacon formation I've made allows me to motion the outside TE back and inwards into a middle FB position. I snap the ball about halfway through the motion so that both the FB and TE are ready to block the gap rush.

Once the initial D-line rush is contained the job is half done. The point of the play is that we want the line to shoot this gap so they'll take themselves out of the real action. The next step is to deal with the LBs. With the pulling guard the only lead blocker this play can't deal with an overload of LBs to the weakside. If this is the situation, hitting the Playmaker and switching to the right (strong) side may work, even if the D-line is loaded up here. The back will have two TEs and a FB leading inside and off tackle with the RT pulling wide. There are a lot of combinations to work with, and lots of things that defenses may try to attack the blocking power of the U Bacon formation, so be sure to put in plenty of practice reps working the different situations.




NOTE: this is an updated version of the Red Sea Counter play originally released on this site August 9th, 2004. The original version was only tested on Madden NFL 2004 before being released, and it was soon discovered that the original version was awful in Madden 2005. The original version, which is likely better for earlier versions of Madden can still be found here.

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