Football Plays: The Fullback Trap

Players competing for the ball during an NFL game

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Whether it's on the little league, high school, collegiate or professional level, the I-Formation is one of the more standard offensive formations in all of football. 

Featuring five offensive linemen, two receivers, a tight end, running back, and fullback, the quarterback gets under with the fullback directly behind him followed by the running back. The tight end lines up outside one of the tackles while the receivers split out wide. The formation allows the offense to run a wide variety of plays to attack near any situation in football. 

One of the more common plays out of the I-Formation? The fullback trap. Here's what exactly a trap is, along with how to run one: 

Inside Trap

The inside trap is a running play where the quarterback will take the snap, turn, and then hand the ball directly to a fullback. Upon getting the carry, the fullback will take the ball to either the left or right side of the offensive line running between the offensive guard and offensive tackle. 

One the fullback gets the carry, the play side guard will fire out to block the linebacker instead of the defensive lineman closest to his outside shoulder. The offensive guard on the other side of the line pivots and runs in the direction the play is designed to go and blocks the defensive lineman that the play side guard let through. This sets up the defender to be trap-blocked by the pulling strong side guard.

Other Blocking Assignments

  • Play Side Tackle: He blocks the defensive lineman nearest to his outside shoulder.
  • Center: The center fires out to block the nose tackle.
  • Strong Side Tackle and Tight End: They double team the defensive lineman facing the tackle. The tight end then scrapes off the block and runs to block the second level defender.
  • Receivers: The split end and slot receiver will run toward the middle of the field and look for a safety to block.


  • Quarterback: After receiving the snap, the quarterback takes a quick step back with the non-play side foot. Then, he opens play side and hands off to the fullback. He will fake to the tailback, and roll out opposite play side.
  • Fullback: The fullback receives handoff and follows the block of the pulling guard.
  • Tailback: He will carry out the fake from the quarterback and run to the spot vacated by the pulling guard.

Coaching Points

  • Make sure the quarterback takes the quick step backward before opening play side for the handoff. He must get out of the way of the pulling guard.
  • If the defensive lineman's stunt puts him on the inside of the play side guard, the guard will block him. The pulling guard must adjust and turn downfield to block a linebacker.
  • Use the counter sweep to set up this play, as the linebacker read of the fullback is similar.