Combining your Screen and Go with Y Cross
The Y Cross play has been a staple of Air Raid teams for a long time and has yielded great results for them. Due to the success of this play, today’s spread teams are starting to incorporate this concept into their offense. The play is also starting to be used in several different ways, out of several different formations, and even out of different play-action looks. One of the best variations I have seen off this concept is by combining it with a screen and go. Instead of having a traditional skinny post and option route to the play side, teams are putting a screen and go to the front side of the progression. Almost every spread team runs the perimeter now screen and has a screen and go off of it to make the defense play it honestly. By combining it with the Y-Cross concept, teams can now have a chance at the screen and go down the sideline against an over aggressive corner but also has the Y Cross over the middle of the field in case the Safety can play the screen and go player. The QB progression is the exact same so the variation is very easy to incorporate and paints the same picture for the Qb as the Y Cross. Here is a diagram below.
Alabama is one team I have seen combine these two concepts. The first Clip is against Clemson in the 2015 National Championship game. In this clip, Alabama catches Clemson in a 1 high look and the corner bites on the now screen, which gives the slot receiver a wide open touchdown down the sideline before the safety can get over the top. You can also see the backside slot coming across on the deep cross. They also use play-action to hold the linebackers for the deep cross to get over them.
The second clip is also from the Alabama-Clemson rematch in the 2016 national championship. This is a good example of how effective this play is because you know Clemson had scouted this and prepared for it, and they still got beat for a touchdown again. The threat of the screen really draws the attention of the defense as three Clemson players bite on the fake which allows the screen and go player to get behind them for an easy 6. You can also see the deep cross is open as well if the QB needed to go to that option.
Most teams run both these concepts so putting them together is an easy variation that requires very little teaching and most importantly keeps the picture the same for the QB. I actually think it’s an easier read for the QB because the secondary has to declare their intentions with the fake screen which cleans up the picture for the QB’s first read. If you are looking to study a team that does this often dig up some old Chip Kelly film. He would run this a ton both off the now and bubble screens.