View Full Version : Glossary U-Z

04-07-2009, 02:22 PM

unbalanced line
usually refers to an offensive formation which does not have an equal number of linemen on each side of the ball. Done to gain a blocking advantage on one side of the formation; typically one tackle or guard lines up on the other side of the ball. For example a common alignment would be E-G-C-G-T-T-E.
under center
refers to the quarterback lining up directly behind the center to take the snap. Contrast with shotgun formation.
a player who enters the NFL Draft but is not selected by any team in the draft's seven rounds. Undrafted players are free agents and can sign with whatever team he so chooses if that team is willing to take them.
a player, in a scrimmage kick (punts and field goals) or kneel formations, who lines up behind the offensive line. An upback's primary duty is to block oncoming defensive players in a kick formation and to recover any fumbles in a kneel formation. They can receive direct snaps, and upbacks are eligible receivers.
during a kickoff, every player on the return team is called an "upman" with the exception of the one or two designated kickoff returners, who stand furthest away from the starting point of the kicking team.
utility player
a player capable of playing multiple positions


a type of option offense using 2 backs in the backfield, one behind each guard or tackle (referred to as split backs), allowing a triple option play (give to either back or quarterback keep).


in college, a non-scholarship player. I.e., a player who is not receiving a scholarship to play football.
weak i
a formation wherein the tailback is lined up deep directly behind the quarterback, and the fullback is lined up offset to the weak side of the formation.
weak side
when one tight end is used, the side of the field opposite the tight end. In other offensive packages, the side of the field with the fewest offensive players on or just behind the line of scrimmage.
West Coast offense
an offensive philosophy that uses short, high-percentage passes as the core of a ball-control offense. Was invented in Cincinnati under coach Paul Brown in the mid 1970s. Is now widely used in the NFL but originally made popular by San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh. The original west coast offense was actually a term used by Don Coryell and after a Sports Illustrated article that accidentally confused Coryell's title with the offense being used by Walsh, the title stuck and Coryell's offense was known instead as "Air Coryell" through the 1980s. The basis of Walsh's offense is to use short routes for receivers, delivering the ball on time and accurately and using short passes to replace runs. It relies heavily on RAC yardage, using many eligible receivers on plays to maximize quarterback options, and spreading the ball to many targets to keep the defense confused.
wheel route
a pass route in which the receiver, often a running back, travels parallel along the line of scrimmage and then takes off up the field.
adjective meaning towards the sidelines. Example: A kick that is "wide right" has missed to the right side of the field from the perspective of the offense.
wildcat offense
An offensive philosophy that dictates that either a quarterback or a running back can receive a direct snap from the snapper; it is often compared to the single wing.
wide receiver (WR)
a player position on offense. He is split wide (usually about 10 yards) from the formation and plays on the line of scrimmage as a split end (X) or one yard off as a flanker (Z).
the weak side linebacker
The ratio of wins to loses, usually expressed as a pair of numbers. For example, 6-1 means 6 wins and 1 loss.
wing back (WB)
a player position in some offensive formations (Flexbone). Lines up just outside the tight end and one yard off the line of scrimmage. A versatile position that can be used as a receiver, blocker, and/or runner of reverses.
a formation involving three running backs lined up behind the quarterback in the shape of a Y, similar to the shape of a wishbone.


Term used in play calling that usually refers to the split end, or the wide receiver that lines up on the line of scrimmage. For example, "Split Right Jet 529 X Post" tells the X-receiver to run a post route.


Short for Yards After Contact. Amount of yardage gained after initial contact with/from a defender. Not to be confused with RAC (Run after Catch): A quarterback's length of pass is the distance from where the line of scrimmage is, to where the receiver caught the ball, plus RAC, and can then also include YAC. YAC is the distance the ball carrier ran after the initial contact is/was made with/by defender. Screen pass plays boosts RAC effectively due to the short passes, and the receiver has to run to increase yardage.
Term usually used in offensive play calling to refer to the tight end. For example, "Buffalo Right 534 Boot Y Corner" tells the Y-receiver to run a corner route.
one yard of linear distance in the direction of one of the two goals. A field is 100 yards (120 when both end zones are included). Typically, a team is required to advance at least 10 yards in order to get a new set of downs. Identical in length to the standard unit of measurement (3 feet or 36 inches).
yard line - a marking on the field that indicates the distance (in yards) to the nearest goal line.
The amount of yards gained or lost during a play, game, season, or career.
Yards gained
(see yardage)
Yards from scrimmage
The amount of yards gained by the offensive team advancing the ball from the line of scrimmage.
Yellow flag
a weighted yellow marker thrown onto the field by the officials to signify that a foul has been committed by either the offensive or defensive team (or sometimes both). Commonly referred to only as "flag."


a term used in offensive play calling that usually refers to the flanker, or the wide receiver that lines up off the line of scrimmage. For example, "Panther Gun 85 Slant Z Go" tells the Z-receiver to run a go (also called a fly or streak) route.

a colloquial term for an official, referring to their black-and-white striped uniform.

zone defense
a defense in which players who are in pass coverage cover zones of the field, instead of individual players. Pure zone packages are seldom used; most defenses employ some combination of zone and man coverage.
zone blitz
A defensive package combining a blitz with zone pass coverage. Allows the defense to choose the blitzer after the offense shows formation and pass coverage requirements, and features unpredictable blitzes from different linebackers and defensive backs. Invented by coach Dick LeBeau.
zone read
a type of option offense where the quarterback and tail back line up approximately side by side. After the quarterback receives the snap, the two players cross paths and go through the motions of a hand-off. Based upon reading the defensive reaction, the quarterback either completes the handoff or pulls the ball out and runs with it himself.