The "8-10 Plays" Story

Someone at FOS helpfully went through the video and came up with the following:


-Excluding kneeldowns, spikes, and including two plays which were negated by penalty - Penn State had a total of 70 offensive playcalling opportunities.  I think Phil's 8-10 play report is pretty accurate - despite the fact that I ended up with approximately 18-25 different plays. (The range/approximation is due to the fact that several times a receiver ran his route out of the picture, and on others it was difficult to tell if a receiver was running a different route due to the playcall or an onsight adjustment i.e. smash routes, etc).

-Don't be misled by "18-25." Understand this isn't like playing a video game w/only 8-10 plays. There are situational down&distance plays not in the gameplan that can still be run - so this is pure speculation - but IMO plays were used that weren't in the '8-10 play' gameplan. One quick example, with 13 seconds remaining in the first half PSU ran all verticals (SE/FL - go/fly, TE/Slot - seams). Not exactly a play you'd work into the gameplan midweek - just something the coaches would call in end-of-half situations.

-The 18-25 approximation shrinks even further if you eliminate 2 gimmick plays - the end-around to Devon Smith and the lead iso play they where they faked the end-around to Bill Belton - it's not like you can (or should) call those plays multiple times within the game.

-On running plays the only diversification was between formations and personel - not playcalling. For example, by my count PSU ran 11 lead iso's. This was run out of different formations (I, offset-I, bunch) with different personel (2RB1TE2WR, 2WR2TE). Same for that little HB zone dive play (10 times) - different formations/personel but the same aiming point and essentially the same play.

-I logged 5 pass plays that were used atleast 3 times each. Again, for the most part they were run out of different formations w/different personel. Of those 5 plays, the only play utilizing the same formation each time was a version of "levels" (essentially 3 receivers (FL/slot/TE) running digs at varying depths to one side, with the backside receiver (SE) running a slant). Obviously if a play's successful it makes sense to keep coming back to it - IMO the disappointing thing is the lack of diversification w/our receivers not running all the patterns on the route tree.

-One interesting thing was two plays after Moye's 52-yard TD was called back - Penn State ran the same play - only they flipped it to the opposite side - which resulted in an incompletion to Szczerba. (unfortunately this meant they were also running play-action on a 2nd&18).

-Again, w/out understanding variations, checks@the LOS and on-sight adjustments that PSU's offense contains - it's difficult to get a precise number - but I think when you strip it down to the base plays in the gameplan that aren't functions of down&distance - I think an 8-10 play gameplan may be a pretty accurate assessment.

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