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 By JR4AU on May 26 2009 2:55 PM

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The "Smash" is a standard passing "concept". Almost every playbook will include some
version of it. I recently bought Gus Malzahn's book, THE HURRY-UP, NO HUDDLE: AN
OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY, and it's the first passing concept he covers in the book.
Remember Malzahn's offense isn't about gimmicky plays. His plays are the same stuff most
everybody else is doing. It's his tempo that is the "revolutionary" part. I'll discuss the tempo
in a later blog.

When you hear "smash route" it really refers to a route combination. The wide receiver will
run a hitch route at 5-6 yards. The Tight End or slot receiver to that same side will run a 12
yard corner route. That is he will go vertical for 12 yards then break at about a 45 degree
angle to the sideline. Some may refer to this as a "Flag Route". This route combination is a
designed "Cover 2 beater" but works against other coverages as well. The idea is to vertically
stretch the outer third of the field with a High/Low concept. This is a standard tactic and can
be accomplished with many route combinations. The Smash is just one. Here are some
example plays:

 
 
  


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There are slight differences in how each coach "details" it. Some have the outside wide
receiver run a basic "hitch". Others will adjust it based on coverage. For instance, if it's
Cover 3 there will be a flat defender coming from the inside, likely a strong safety. He's
going to be flying in from about the hash to cover the flat area. So, the outside wide receiver
may now adjust by converting his route to a slant so that he's making an in cut behind the flat
defender as he's flying outside to cover the flat. Some, like the Air Raid version run more of
a bubble screen route with the outside receiver. You can "mirror" the Smash routes. That is,
run the same thing on both sides. Or you can do something else, like you see in Chow's
versions. You can attack the middle of the field from the backside like in his "Twins" set, or
from a trips look like in his "Trey". Either of these forces the defense to get out of Cover 2,
or be burned. If you'll also look at the variation in Chow's "Z Middle" you'll see that though
the short hitch isn't run by the outside wide receiver, that the running back replaces him for
the same high-low stretch of the outer third. This is pretty much the same play that the
Steelers ran for the game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.