Run N’ Shoot Offense

run n shoot

Origins of Run N’ Shoot

The Run N’ Shoot originated at the high school level with Coach Glenn Ellison in Ohio. The offense gained popularity when Portland State offensive coordinator Darell Davis brought it to the college level. Run N’ Shoot was used to create personnel matchups. With more receivers on the field, the defense would substitute in smaller defenders to cover them. In turn, that allowed the offense to use larger running backs against smaller defenders.

Run N’ Shoot Philosophy

The Run N’ Shoot offense has a heavy emphasis on motion and option routes from receivers. Those motions help to determine defensive coverages and force the defense to communicate. Similar to Air Raid, it uses a lot of spread formations and four-receiver sets. The calling card of Run N’ Shot is it’s use of sprint outs from the quarterback and the introduction of option routes by receivers. While most current offenses implement option routes, the Run N’ Shoot was the first to use them as a staple of the offensive philosophy. Receivers change their routes based on the coverage of the defense and how players are aligned.

Air Raid Offense
Also Read:
Air Raid Offense

Run N’ Shoot Examples

Have a listen to June Jones, who brought the Run N’ Shoot to Southern Methodist University (SMU) as well as the Atlanta Falcons in the mid-1990s.


Run N’ Shoot brought a new approach to offensive play design that allowed teams to adjust to the defense on the fly. It can create personnel mismatches while setting up the offense to exploit what the defense gives them formationally. However, at higher levels, defensive players are typically fast enough to defend four-receiver sets while still being able to hold up in the run game. The Run N’ Shoot also requires a deep understanding of the offense to be able to consistently be on the same page with the multitude of option routes. While the Run N’ Shoot has mostly been cannibalized and implemented in other offenses, its influence remains.

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