Wisconsin’s Jet Sweep
When people think of the jet sweep, they primarily think of teams running the shotgun or the dbl wing. One team that has done an astounding job at incorporating the jet sweep into their base offense is Wisconsin. Wisconsin is such a run-heavy team that their success depends on their ability to run inside zone, counter, and power. The opposing defense’s know in order to have a chance to beat Wisconsin they have to load up the box and crash the ends to take on the lead blockers that Wisconsin will bring at you.
Take a look at this clip which really illustrates how hard the defensive end crashes against Wisconsin. Wisconsin fakes the jet sweep, but being so concerned about the inside run game, the defensive end has to key the tackle and as the tackle down blocks he has to squeeze with him to slow down this run game. In this instance the defensive end makes the play behind the line of scrimmage. Also notice how locked in the linebackers are to the inside zone play and the movement of the line and pay little attention to the jet sweep action by the wide receiver.
You can bet Wisconsin has somebody in the box looking at that backside end to see if the jet sweep is there. Once they feel confident that the defensive end will squeeze with the tackle, Wisconsin will come back with the jet sweep. The offensive line will run inside zone to hold the box defenders and then the perimeter players will block for the jet. Watch #53 the defensive end to the field for Western Michigan, watch him squeeze and gets his hands on the tackle. This gives the jet sweep play the edge easily, and running jet under center actually hits faster than Jet from the shotgun. Wisconsin also does a great job using a tight end wing formation that really gets the defense to tighten to the formation which gives more space for the jet sweep to the field:
Wisconsin comes back to this play again in this game and has more success. Notice how the tight end even fakes a little down block before arcing to really make sure the defensive end squeezes.
Here is the tight view to this same clip. With the tight view you can really see how fast this play happens under center which really makes it hard to react and defend this play:
The other great thing about this play is you don’t have to teach your offensive line anything new as they can just run inside zone away from the jet. I like to think of this play as a high percentage reverse play with less risk. Sometimes a true reverse has the potential for a massive loss, but with this jet sweep you are getting misdirection off a base run and the chance for a loss is minimal.