Read Pop Stunt In Football Explained

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: March 21, 2024

The read pop stunt is becoming increasingly popular as more and more offenses are running 10 personnel (1 running back, 0 tight ends, 4 wide receivers).

In order to stop the run and cover all gaps, teams will run a read pop stunt. This allows them to cancel out the A, B and C gaps. The defensive end will react on the movement of the offensive tackle.

In this article, we’re going to break down the Read Pop stunt, and when you would run it.

Read Pop Stunt

The read pop stunt gets its name as the defensive end will read the tackle, and “pop” to the A gap when the tackle fans to them.

The defensive end plays a key role in executing the read pop stunt.

Here are the rules for the read pop stunt:

  • If the offensive tackle fans or pass sets to the defensive end, they will wrap to the A gap.
  • If the offensive tackle blocks down, they will surf down the line of scrimmage and spill the puller.

Let’s break down the fan or pass set from the tackle.

Read Pop Stunt

The best way to coach this is if the offensive tackle “shows face” or the cage of their helmet to your defensive end, they should wrap immediately.

One other variation is to have the defensive end rush up the field if they get a pass read. This allows your defensive end to have a bit more freedom in the passing game instead of popping to the A gap.

This would ultimately convert to an edge rush. This variation is great if you’re playing a running quarterback and need to secure the edges of the pocket.

Read Pop Stunt

If the offensive tackle down blocks or immediately releases to the opposite of the defensive end, the defensive end should spill the puller.

A defensive end will typically not be blocked on gap schemes like power and counter. If it’s a read option, the defensive end should chase the running back to close the cutback lane and B/C gap.

The next piece of the read pop stunt is for the defensive tackle.

They have a very important job to contain through the B gap. This means that when the ball is snapped, they must make sure they set the edge of the pocket on a pass.

As shown in the diagram above, they must reach the guard’s outside shoulder and work outward. This allows the defensive tackle to cancel the C gap through the B gap.

Here is an example of Alabama running a read pop stunt.

When To Run The Read Pop Stunt

The read pop stunt can be run against any spread run team.

It’s very effective against zone teams and can counter against teams who like to run gap schemes.

If your team wants to play two high, split-field defense, the read pop stunt is a good one to have on your call sheet or as an auto-check opposite of the running back.

Weaknesses Of The Read Pop Stunt

It’s important to learn where the read pop stunt is weak so you can make the proper adjustments if things break down.

Here are a few weaknesses of the read pop stunt.

Tackle Getting Pinned On Pass

When running the read pop stunt, if the defensive end goes too fast, it’s common for the offensive tackle to move their eyes to the defensive tackle and pin them so they can’t contain through the B Gap.

To fix this, the defensive end should take at least two steps up the field to give the defensive tackle enough time to pressure through the B Gap.

As mentioned, the way to ensure this never happens is to run the variation where the defensive end reads pass and rushes off the edge. It’s harder for the defensive end to read pass vs. auto-triggering, but it could save the edges in your pass rush game.

Not Popping To A Gap Fast Enough

Quick hitting A gap runs can affect the read pop stunt because no player is in that gap.

If you’re facing a team that runs triple option or wing T, this stunt can be ineffective because of how fast the fullback hits the A gap.

If your defensive end takes two steps before they pop to the A gap, they will never make it to the fullback dive.


If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about game planning, we recommend you check out our free game planning guide below.

The read pop stunt can be very effective for teams not used to handling twisting defensive ends. We recommend practicing this stunt diligently during the week.

This stunt is best run with fast-moving defensive ends that can track the running back on run plays.

Do you have any questions about the read pop stunt? Let us know in the comments.

About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.