Torch Stunt In Football Explained (With Diagrams)

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: March 21, 2024

The torch stunt, also known as an interior twist, is commonly used against teams that run gap schemes.

This stunt is effective because it allows defenses to get another defensive lineman to the point of attack.

In this article, we’ll explain a torch stunt and its strengths and weaknesses.

Torch Stunt

The torch stunt is an interior line stunt that requires both defensive tackles to read the center’s movement.

To start, both defensive tackles will line head-up of the offensive guards (in a 2 technique).

When the ball is snapped, both defensive tackles will step at a 90-degree angle toward the center.

Their outside hand should be down in their stance; that way, they can step to balance when stepping to the inside.

Once the ball is snapped and they step toward the center, here are the rules for their read:

  • If the center steps to me, cross his face
  • If the center steps away from me, slant into the A gap

Whichever defensive tackle gets the center should cross his face. This means they should try to work over the top of them to get back into the player.

Below is an example of what we mean and how it fits up.

Torch Stunt

If you notice, the defensive tackle should stay tight around the center. The defensive tackle should not lose ground when trying to cross face, or they will get in the way of the linebackers.

Next, the other defensive tackle should slant through the open A gap. This ensures both A gaps are closed and the running back can’t cut back.

How does this all fit together?

Here is the common counter play, and how the torch stunt can disrupt it.

Torch stunt

The tackle who crosses the center’s face allows for the defense to get back to even in the run game. The offense no longer has the advantage.

Here is a great example from Tulane University running the torch stunt on the goal line to secure a bowl victory.

When To Run The Torch Stunt

The torch stunt is best used against gap schemes. It’s effective against teams that like to pull guards and use their center to back block.

This is also a great stunt against Wing T teams that run trap and belly, as it will get your backside interior defensive line players to the point of attack.

Related: How To Run The Read Pop Stunt

Torch Stunt Weaknesses

The torch stunt is weak against zone schemes.

The torch stunt is weak against zone schemes because it creates an A-gap vacancy. For example, if the offense runs inside zone, and the center steps to one of the defensive tackles, there will be an open gap.

See the diagram below for a visual example.

weakness of the torch stunt

As you can see, the A gap will be vacated which allows the double team to be effective.

It’s important to study the offense’s tendencies to know when they will likely run gap schemes for the torch to be effective.


The torch stunt in football is an effective stunt against teams who specialize in gap schemes.

When doing your scouting, we recommend charting what downs they are more likely to run gap schemes; that way, you can hit home with this stunt.

If you want to learn more about game planning, we recommend you check out the game plan guide below.

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.