Last season when the 49ers played the Seahawks at Candlestick, Frank Gore gained 131 yards on 16 carries. 18 of those yards came on one “wham” play, and 48 of those yards came on two “trap” plays.
On the wham play, the 49ers let Alan Branch penetrate the backfield and Bruce Miller blindsided him with a wham block. Gore ran right up the middle for 18.
On the first trap play, Iupati was the trapping guard. He trapped Branch. Anthony Davis and Alex Boone couldn’t finish their blocks on the linebackers, so Gore gained only 11.
On the second trap play, Alex Boone was the trapping guard. He trapped Jason Jones. Staley and Iupati finished their blocks on the linebackers and Gore ran up the middle untouched for 37 yards.
Traps and whams are good plays to slow down all-out penetration by the D-line. The interior tackles and nose tackle have to be more deliberate and watch for blocks coming from different angles.
From the Diamond formation, the Niners present a potential wham block from either of the up backs.
The traps usually come from Iupati because he’s the best trapper on the team. The trap with Boone last season against the Seahawks was especially effective because Staley and Iupati pack more punch at the “second level,” the linebacker level, than Boone and Davis.
For the most part, the point of attack for the whams and traps occurs on the right of the of 49ers’ offensive line, just as the Niners more frequently run the power off tackle play to their offensive right with Iupati pulling as the off guard.
The 49ers haven’t run many whams and traps this season. Their run game has revolved around power runs and weakside leads for the most part. The Niners ran one trap against the Seahawks Week 2, but Gore lost a yard because the trapper, Iupati, couldn’t move Brandon Mebane, who tackled Gore in the backfield.
Will the 49ers run traps if Iupati doesn’t play and Staley doesn’t play and Boone has to play left tackle? That probably depends on how well Adam Snyder and Joe Looney can trap. The Seahawks’ D-line is better this season than it was last season because they’ve replaced and upgraded Branch and Jones with Tony McDaniel and Michael Bennett.
If you were the 49ers’ run game coordinator like Greg Roman, how would you attack the Seahawks on the ground this Sunday?