For something to get into the playbook of new Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, various schemes need to fit into those criteria. It's a welcomed sight for Nittany Lion fans, who have spent the last few years believing that the offense wasn't doing sound things on the field, that the players were being taught things that weren't working, and that the execution was lacking.
Seriously, read that first sentence again and tell me it doesn't hit you in the feel goods. It's a thing that seems overly-simple, but if it makes sense, it really doesn't matter how simple it is. Penn State's offense under Moorhead, if we are correct in the assessment based on the aforementioned sentence, is going to be something that is successful because, well, it works. As bscaff so eloquently laid out in the latest film room, this is going to happen because Moorhead is bringing with him a scheme that isn't complicated for no reason.
But listen, even Ben would admit that it's way better for Moorhead to explain his offense than for him to attempt to do the same. Fortunately for all of us there are some videos on the interwebz that feature Moorhead talking about one of the concepts in his offense. So let's watch them!
You have most likely seen before because we've linked to it a few times. The Cliffnotes version is that every play that Moorhead runs falls within a "concept" or a "family." In this play, he explains scissors, which falls under the "flood" concept. It's quite the play, because it's basically the exact same thing out of a bunch of different formations, so while the look may be different, the routes that various players run are the same. In a way, Moorhead can call the same play three times in a row, but depending on his personnel, it could look different every time.
Of course, we have zero idea what the rest of Moorhead's offensive playbook looks like, but just based on this video, we know that he is going to run things that are simple but effective. I'm also willing to bet that this is much easier to call into a quarterback than, say, "Gun Power Left Whack 3 Jet Z Circus Dig Switch, on 1" or "Gun Double Left Paint 3 Jet Y Seam, on the double."
Scissors can also get a little more complex based on the way a defense lines up. Moorhead calls these "variations." You can see them around the 12:50 mark of the video, but he digs into his past as an English major and calls the variations a "prefix" and a "suffix." Both look to attack a certain coverage by having a specific guy change the route they run. It's all fascinating stuff.
You may have some concerns about the quarterback's ability to stay upright on a slow-developing play like this, and you're probably not too far off base, but I would like to try to alleviate your stress with two facts: 1) QB sacks were an issue with Fordham this year and the offense was still good as all heck, 2) Penn State's skill position guys are so freakishly talented that they should be able to do some pretty great stuff more often than not as long as they get the opportunity.
Of course, it's one thing to say "this is what we want to do." It's another to actually execute it. In our second video, Moorhead shows the play being executed to perfection. Here's what it looks like:
As you can see, this play also works in practice. Moorhead shows a lot on this video, namely how different coverages by the defense impact what his receivers do and where his quarterback looks to throw the ball. I think that's the thing I like the most about this: it's not a "well if this one thing doesn't work out we're screwed" play, there are legitimately five different options, and this play is designed so that at least one of the players running routes will be open. It makes life easier on quarterbacks, it makes life easier on receivers, and it makes life really difficult on defensive coordinators.
We'll certainly have some more stuff on Joe Moorhead's offense, but for now, here's a brief introduction into what he wants his players to do en route to scoring a whole lotta points.