[Ed. - A late bump is better than no bump. bscaff, keep up the good work. Others, be more like bscaff. JJ]
Before I tell you why the new offense is super cool, I need to point out that the recent Ki-Jana-the-announcer criticism on here is groundless and baseless. He performed well, if not exceptionally well. I'd be delighted to hear him announce just about anything.
Now – am I in the tank for this PSU all-time great? Am I influenced by his career 8 yard per carry stat? Am I softened by the fact that the 1994 team was cheated out of a ring? Colonel BScaff, DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED?
With that out of the way – let us speak no more of the incident.
Some summary statistics from this weekend’s game:
19 offensive drives, allocated among the following QB's in order of appearance:
McGloin – 4
Bolden – 5
Sunshine – 2
Jones – 6
Venutto – 1
Total false starts: 1
Total substitution errors: 0
Total delays-of-game: 0
Total botched qb-center exchanges: 0
Total timeouts used on first drive because it took 4 minutes to get the play in: 0
Total timeouts used on all drives because the play wasn't on a wristband: 0 (probably).
For those last few alone you get an f’ing A+++++++++++, coaches.
We only got to see a small percentage of the offense. By my count, the offense ran almost everything out of three basic personnel groups: 11 (1 back, 1 tight end), 21, and 12. I didn’t note any empty backfield sets or pre-snap motion. 99% of the runs were the standard off-tackle variety. And we didn’t see much – if any – of the audibles, line calls or receiver sight adjustments we’ve heard about.
So what’s the big deal (besides the offensive tempo and lack of pre-snap penalties)? Coach BOB brought a Monty Burns level of (play) scheme. Here are three things that I thought were very cool.
1. Pulling a Guard in Play Action to Sell the Run.
Linebackers key (in part) off of Guards. So it makes sense that when an LB sees a pulling G his brain screams ‘run’. A dude named Chris Brown of Smart Football blog wrote an awesome post on this very topic Monday. It’s a great read if you have the time.
But beyond drawing in the LB’s (and hopefully a safety or two), pulling a G also gives the O line some angles in pass pro. It’s a pretty sweet scheme, and we got to see it a couple of times on Saturday.
Below is one example. Here we’re pulling the LG, while the C, RG and RT get some down blocks.
Would a T rather down block than kick step with a DE? You bet your ascot. As you can see in the shot below, both TEs stay in to block, giving us a 7-man protection – or 8, if the RB smacks into a blitzer playside. Take a look at the LB’s – they’re at the 34 yard line as Bolden retreats from C. This is actually a 3-man route. The WR at the top of the screen is headed deep. The TE/WR at the bottom of the screen is running a 12 – 15 yd cross (behind the LB’s). And if no blitzer is coming, the RB can leak out as a shallow depth safety valve.
As you see in the shot below, our LB’s freeze and start back-pedaling at the 31 yard line – they're already toast for the TE crossing behind them. Bolden chose the deep route, though, and DB Amos - who either didn’t bite on the fake, or has some serious wheels - got the INT. But the play design was freaking cool.
2. Fullback Misdirection
Last year, if you followed our FB, you found the football 99% of the time. I’m as big a fan of ISO BOB fullback lead as anyone – it is Caveman Football at its blunt-force best. And no one in recent memory leads through the hole like Captain Caveman, Mike Zordich.
But sometimes a little misdirection can be a good thing, especially when you’re in a goal-to-go situation, and 22 players are packed inside of a 10 yard box. With this play, BOB breaks last year's fullback tendency, and creates a little LB hesitation through misdirection.
In the shot below, PSU is 1st and Goal at the 7 yard line. Zordich is stacked behind the TE in a Power I Right. But instead of plowing ahead on Hodges, he leads to the backside of the formation.
On this particular snap, the playside DT (Terry, below) gets ignored by both the RG and RT, and shoots into the backfield. I don’t think that’s the actual design – but it worked out because Zordich is there to whack him in a pseudo-trap. Hodges jumps inside (with Zordich) to fill a hole, but can’t catch up to Belton who bounces it wide, jukes the corner, and plows through the safety at the goalline for a TD.
Why don’t I think it’s some new fangled trap play? Because 2 snaps later, we run the same play (flipped) again, and it looks a lot different at the line of scrimmage. This time, the LG takes the DT, and the LT works a combo block on the DT and OLB.
No penetration – no ‘trap’ by Zordich (below), who works across the formation to seal off the otherwise un-blocked backside DE. This one went for 10+ yards as well. The big boys up front were having some good times in the run game.
3. Bunch formation to give the TE a head start in pass pro.
This last one isn't fancy, but it is f'ing smart, I think. Here we get a 3-receiver bunch formation at the bottom of the screen. The bunch includes a TE that will be helping on the DE in pass pro.
I love it because it sets up the TE to succeed. He gets to set up on the DE’s outside shoulder. He gets to be a full step ahead, since he’s already off the line of scrimmage. And he gets (somewhat) the element of surprise. I mean, he looks like he’s going out of on route to me - and has on several other snaps.
Instead of having the DE on his outside shoulder (if he lined up next to the T), the TE gets the outside leverage and can (kinda) crack back on the DE (if the DE was running the loop). In the shot below, the DE and T run a stunt, so the TE misses out on the fun. But if you’re the DE and get cracked unexpectedly a couple of times, well…you'd probably lose any Maybin-like first step off the snap when you see the formation again. Or as Jack Lambert was known to say, ‘that’ll cool your ass off’.
So – game plan offense? Count me in, Coach. It's a shit-ton easier to block when you give your guys angles. If you’re going to take this kind of scheming and apply it to attack an opponent’s personnel.........me likey. I might have to start wearing these (below) on game day.
via www.pitt.edu (that credit is not a joke. From Pitt - now doesn't that make a lot of sense....)