A style of offense that relies on giving the quarterback multiple options for what to do both prior to the snap and throughout the play. The most common type of option uses a variety of running sets that the quarterback can choose from. The option play will allow the quarterback to hand off the ball to a fullback, roll out to try and gain yards, or pitch the ball to a running back. Option offenses rely on misdirection and making the defense guard a large number of possibilities on any given play.
Option offenses require a number of versatile running backs, and a smart and athletic quarterback who can gain yardage by running with the ball. The quarterback has to be able to read the defense while the play develops and make the right read in order to maximize the success of the offense. Option offenses tend to be primarily running offenses, as pass plays are tough to develop through the option. Defenses will respond to the option by having players focus on specific assignments and avoid getting sucked into the misdirection.