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Each type of option play attacks a different area or man on the field by "optioning" them or forcing them to make a choice between two or more possible ball carriers. A midline option attacks the middle of the line in the A gap and forces the defensive tackle to choose between crashing down hard on the running back coming through the line or letting the running back go and attacking the QB. Most option offenses feature different plays that will put this decision on any one of the defenders that starts near the line scrimmage.

There are also different forms of the option that feature two or three different possible ball carriers often defined as "speed" or "triple" options respectively. If it is a triple option there is usually a running back who can take the handoff, a quarterback who can keep it, and another back who the QB can pitch the ball to. Another variation seen today substitutes a wide receiver for the pitch back so the quarterback can throw the ball out wide and spread the defense out. One of the most common option plays seen in football today is the zone read. This play doesn't have a specific hole for the running back because it is ran off of a zone blocking scheme (where the linemen step to an area instead of a man and the running back is able to find wherever the hole opens), but the QB still reads one defender to decide whether he hands off the ball or keeps it. There are many other small differences that change an option play that have to do with which players block certain people but the basic idea remains the same.

As for the effectiveness of each play, it depends on where the defenders are lined up and what their skill levels are. For example, it would be hard to run a midline option against a very athletic defensive tackle, As the University of Oregon learned in the BCS championship last year against Nick Fairley and Auburn. A defense will often try to move linebackers and linemen and give them responsibility over only one of the offensive players so that they don't have to choose when they are the player being "optioned". Thats why its important that an option offense has several variations on their blocking scheme and point of attack. This is also why, like many offenses, option offenses have constantly evolved. Additions and changes such as using a wide receiver (as mentioned above) or play action passing will keep a defense from overloading a specific point of attack.

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Q: What is the difference between different options in football like the midline and what not and eaches affectiveness?
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