What Is Power Read In Football? Install Guide

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: February 12, 2024

Power Read in football is a new play based on the power run play. Offensive coordinators are using power read with their quarterback and their running backs in wildcat packages. What is power read, and why do teams run it?

Power read is an offensive run play. The quarterback reads the defensive end, and the offensive line blocks power. If the defensive end moves toward the quarterback, the quarterback will hand the ball off to the running back. The quarterback will keep the ball if the defensive end moves toward the running back.

Power Read Play In Football

To install power read, you must be ok with your quarterback taking a hit. Most teams who run power read will have their quarterback as a primary runner. This allows teams to put the defense in conflict on the perimeter.

Power read is hard for the defense to stop because it puts the defensive end in conflict. Defenses need to stay disciplined and adjust to the gap scheme and the pulling guard from the offense.

We’re going to break down the power read so you can install it into your offensive scheme.

Quarterback Read

The first and most important part of running power read comes from the quarterback. He must be able to make the appropriate read on the defensive end.

quarterback power read

When the ball is snapped, the quarterback will put the football in the running back’s stomach. In a split decision, the quarterback is reading the defensive end’s movement.

If the defensive end stays on the quarterback, the quarterback will hand the football off to the running back. Due to the leverage and positioning of the defensive end, it essentially eliminates him from making a tackle on the running back.

If the defensive end chases after the running back, the quarterback will pull the football from the running back’s grasp and follow the guard up the hole.

Running Back Path

The running back’s path is important in power read. Instead of moving toward the line of scrimmage, the running back will be moving horizontally as he would in inside zone or counter.

running backs path on power read

The reason the running back will move horizontally is to stretch the defensive end out. The defensive end needs to choose between widening out to the running back or staying on the quarterback.

Ultimately, the defensive end will choose the wrong read, as the quarterback will make the correct decision.

He should start to work upfield once the running back receives the ball, away from the defensive end and secondary.

Blocking Scheme

The blocking scheme for power read is similar to running power; however, it has one small changeup.

Typically on power, the backside defensive end is pulling to kick out the defensive end.

blocking scheme in power read

However, in power read, we’re reading the defensive end. This means that the pulling guard will pull through the hole and look for the front-side linebacker instead.

This power scheme is similar to 1 back power, rather than traditional power, which we covered here.

The offensive lineman on the front side of power read will be gap scheme blocking. This means they will be pushing defenders away from the play, utilizing their leverage.

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Power Read Variations

Coaches can choose to use a running back on power read or a receiver who is in motion.

The receiver in motion can cause stress for the defense for a few reasons:

  • The receiver is moving at full speed. If the defense is playing man coverage, the defensive back must run with the receiver across the formation.
  • If the defense is playing zone, they must properly spin their defense to account for the extra player who is motioning.

Teams who want to take advantage of defenses simply by motioning can use power read with a wide receiver to their advantage before the ball is even snapped.

This article will show you why teams run power to read and its effectiveness.

Keep Learning

If you want to learn more about football positions and guides, we recommend checking out our football store. We have courses for coaches and players.

Learn more about spread offense runs plays from the articles below.

Spread Offensive Run Plays – Complete Guide

The Basics Of The Oklahoma Trey Counter

How To Run Counter In Football – Complete Guide

Running The Power Play In Football – Complete Guide

The Gap Scheme & How It’s Run In Every Offense

Complete Outside Zone Guide & Tutorial

Complete Inside Zone Guide & Tutorial

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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.