The Gap Run System

By Matt Drinkall | Posted 6/3/2019


Every offense is looking for effective and efficient ways to run the ball. A good Gap System is a tremendous concept to carry because it facilitates an offensive system in many ways. This article will detail the value and details of carrying a Gap series, our base Gap concepts, variations and complimentary plays.


Gap runs can be very critical components to any offense. The reason I have chosen this package to detail in this article is because I believe any offense can incorporate this series and benefit from it. My favorite aspect of this play series is it is completely quantifiable. Each component of the play has easy measurements to determine correct vs. incorrect. This Gap System facilitates an offense in several different ways:

  • Multiple personnel groups
  • Multiple formations
  • Easy to shift and motion to
  • Flexible to personnel
  • Fits most downs and distances
  • Useful in any field zone
  • Excellent against movement
  • Easy to add variation to scheme
  • Outstanding for complimentary plays
  • Build in “Read” plays using the same scheme

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The most beneficial aspect of this Gap System is a simple and all-encompassing way to teach the Gap System to players. I have coached in multiple systems and this is, far and away, is the most effective and efficient means of communication and learning style. This communication system simplifies assignments and removes the need for defensive recognition. The system utilizes one-word assignments and teaches defensive alignment by theory. By coaching the system this way, we have built-in answers for any front. It is an air-tight, clean and concise manner of teaching that I am certain will be beneficial to any program.


This details the simplistic teaching method that allows this Gap System to operate seamlessly between plays, players and defensive fronts. The unique terminology has had a great impact on the effectiveness of Gap plays. The most important aspect of this Gap System is learning the terminology in the teaching. The respective play defines the assignments.  

  • A-Spot: first level-two defender head-up, to backside the center
  • B-Spot: first level-two defender play-side of the center
  • Wham: the block on the play-side C-gap defender
  • Wrap: backside player working up B-Spot


The play-side three offensive linemen always have the same assignments. The play series only alters which players are the “Wham” and “Wrap” blocks.

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Gap 1 (Power) is the first play of a three-play Gap Series. Gap 1 is a 6-man run concept that uses the FB as the Wham and the BSG as the Wrap.

Blocking assignments are as follows:

  • PST: Gap to A-Spot
  • PSG: Gap to A-Spot
  • C: Back
  • BSG: Wrap to B-Spot
  • BST: Singe
  • FB: Wham

Gap 1


Gap 2 (Counter) is the second play of the Gap Series. Gap 2 is a 6-man run concept that uses the BSG as the Wham and the FB as the Wrap.

Blocking assignments are as follows:

  • PST: Gap to A-Spot
  • PSG: Gap to A-Spot
  • C: Back
  • BSG: Wham
  • BST: Singe
  • FB: Wrap to B-Spot

Gap 2


Gap 3 is the third and final base play of the Gap Series. Gap 3 is a 5-man run concept that uses the BSG as the Wham and the BST as the Wrap.

Blocking assignments are as follows: 

  • PST: Gap to A-Spot
  • PSG: Gap to A-Spot
  • C: Back
  • BSG: Wham
  • BST: Wrap to B-Spot

Gap 3

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Using these simplified terms allows for a more complete and thorough understanding of assignments. Coaches are able to teach this play as a concept and it encompasses the four base fronts encountered in college football. The benefits of this simplistic pedagogy are being all-purpose, assignment sound, focused on technique and versatile between positions.

Gap 4

This simple and versatile system allows players to comprehend assignments, regardless of the fronts we see or scenarios we encounter during games. A compounding benefit is that since the players learn and master their assignments almost instantly, it frees up mental and physical time to master technique. As a coach, you are able to spend a great deal of time teaching correct technique at each component of the blocks necessary to run this play series. The third major benefit is flexibility to play different positions on the offensive line. Every player in our offense is expected to be able to draw up these plays. Understanding assignments allows each lineman to play any position, which ensures always having the best five linemen on the field at all times.


There is a chain of events that takes place on these plays that happens like a domino effect. The Wham occurs, followed by the Wrap, followed by the ball carrier. “Wham-Wrap-Ball.”

The Wham occurs and serves as the catalyst for the play. The Wrap then makes the Wham correct. The final piece is the ball carrier makes the Wrap correct.

This is the most valuable aspect of the entire play series. Coaches have quantifiable data to instantly provide feedback to the players every single time any Gap play is called. The players can then easily and rapidly apply their understanding of the chain of events as they relate to the coaching points.

As a result, there are only three scenarios that can occur each time a Gap play is run.

  • Inside the Wham and inside the Wrap
  • Outside the Wham and inside the Wrap
  • Outside the Wham and outside the Wrap

Gap 5


Several variations of these plays can be supplemented with this Gap System. Mastering this three-play series allows us to add motions, trades and shifts to help create more advantageous matchups. A static or fly-sweep Power Read series as well as a fly-motion Counter Read series. QB runs are easily added and packaged with RPOs. The RPO series can range from pre-snap perimeter screens, free-releasing motion by the back or called-route concepts down the field that are post-snap reads. 



This Gap System is a low-maintenance and efficient ways to run the ball. This run concept is all-purpose and easily adjustable to any personnel, formation and situation. The series gives every offense complimentary plays needed to keep defenses honest while adding to the effectiveness of the base plays. It is my hope that you found some component of this information useful or thought provoking.


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