Have you ever watched a football game and heard a defensive player or coach yelling “reverse, reverse”? This terminology used in football refers to a running play that often catches the defense off guard.
A reverse in football is a play in which the ball is carried aggressively towards one direction before quickly being passed off to a player travelling in the opposite direction.
This quick change of direction can lead to big plays against the defense who start the play moving in the wrong direction.
How To Run A Reverse
Running a reverse can be done in many different ways but at its core, it is a fairly simple process. In order to run a reverse effectively, you first must start the play with the diversion.
The diversion in a reverse is the first handoff that takes place. The quarterback needs to hand off or toss the ball to a running back heading towards the right side of the field.
Once the running back gets the ball the wide receiver he is running towards should start running towards the opposite sideline.
So if the running back is running to the right then the right wideout should begin sprinting towards the left sideline.
Once the receiver is behind the running back, a lateral pass will be thrown from the running back to the wide receiver.
The momentum of the wide receiver running in the opposite direction will allow for a quick change in direction.
All the blockers know where the ball is going to end up allowing them to block their opponents effectively. The blocking is easier on this play as the misdirection often tricks the defenders to give up their leverage.
The wide receiver will attempt to get around the left side of the formation and follow his blockers down the field.
What Is A Double Reverse?
A double reverse in football is exactly what it sounds like. This play consists of two separate reverses resulting in the ball going in the direction of the first run.
On these plays the first handoff will go in one direction, the second handoff/lateral will reverse to the opposite direction, and the third handoff/toss will reverse back to the original direction.
A double reverse is a fairly rare play in football and is usually only done as a trick play.
On some occasions, the second reverse may go to the quarterback who will throw the ball downfield after receiving it. Though this is considered more a trick play/flea flicker than it is a reverse.
Is A Reverse A Pass Or A Run?
A reverse play is a run because the only throw that takes place during a regular reverse is a lateral. A lateral is a backwards pass meaning it counts as a handoff as opposed to being counted as a pass.
That being said some trick plays do involve reverses and passes. As we stated earlier some reverses end with the ball going back to the quarterback who then makes a big throw.
Though this is not the standard as the vast majority of reverses are going to be runs as they do not include a forward pass.