<
>
Get ESPN+

Football 101: Horizontal and vertical stretch

One of the biggest changes over the last 10 years in college football has been the evolution of the passing game. The offensive and defensive matchups are much more complex, and every week you see a wide variety of schemes, formations and adjustments. Obviously, offenses have a lot more diversity in specific coverages, but there is still the basic concept of horizontal and vertical stretch that has been around forever. Things may look confusing with all of the multiple sets, but in today's class we will show you how simple it is to stretch zone coverage. The terms horizontal stretch and vertical stretch are familiar to many of you, but today you will learn exactly how the principles work.

A simple way to attack zone coverage
Horizontal stretch
Horizontal stretch simply means that the offense is going to stretch a specific zone pass defender (who covers an area) by putting one receiver to his inside and one receiver to his outside. The quarterback will read the defender and throw to the open area.