Canes use the bubble as a weapon
by Jason Greenberg
Sep 22, 2013 | 908 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When it was all said and done, Cartersville quarterback Brooks Barden threw for 312 yards on 14-for-16 passing and four touchdowns Friday night against North Murray.

Several of those statistics were accumulated on downfield throws, but some of them were attained using the bubble screen, a play that has become a weapon and a staple of the Canes’ dynamic offensive attack.

Four of those completions, 126 of those yards, and one of those touchdowns were the result of the bubble screen, which is rarely called by the coaching staff.

The bubble screen is a simple play in which the quarterback takes the snap and immediately throws the ball to a receiver on the outside. The receiver, for the most part, just turns to the quarterback, catches the ball and runs. There are often other receivers to the play side who will turn and block.

For Cartersville, when a running play is called by head coach Frank Barden, Brooks scans the defense to see its alignment. If Brooks notices too many defenders near the line of scrimmage in an attempt to stop the run, Brooks will simply turn and throw the ball to one of his many speedy receivers. The threat of the play keeps defenses honest.

“If a run play is called, and they don’t have enough people out there, you just flip it out there and let an athlete make a play,” Barden said. “We just have it on the backside of almost any run play.”

The read at the line of scrimmage is a luxury that comes with having a three-year starter and senior leader at quarterback able to make the right decision. Having athletes on the field who can make a play after the catch also is a luxury the Canes take advantage of.

The first bubble screen in Friday night’s game came near the end of the first half. Barden threw the ball into the flat for freshman speedster Trase Fezzia, who ran 24 yards after the catch for a first down on a second-and-17. Two plays later, Barden flipped the ball out to Mark Quattlebaum, who ran 32 yards inside North Murray’s 10-yard line. Cartersville would score two plays later.

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Quattlebaum took the pass again and ran 17 yards to get the Canes moving. They would score three plays later.

The final bubble screen pass was once again to Quattlebaum, who ran 53 yards for Cartersville’s final touchdown of the game.

All in all, Cartersville averaged 31.5 yards per bubble screen.