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Breaking Down a TD Drive

  • Okay I'm working on a full breakdown of the offense in the OU game that I hope to post tomorrow sometime but I just had to take a break to post this.

    The first drive the Ags run after half was a thing of beauty.

    We ran 8 plays with 3 passes, 4 designed runs, and a QB scramble. If you pull the full game video up on YouTube the drive starts around 1:14:14.

    Play 1:
    Formation: Ags come out Lucky (HB to the QBs left in the Gun) Trips Right.
    Play: We call a QB dart where Johhny fakes to the back coming across like inside zone and pulls it. The left side of the offensive line all block down leaving the DE unblocked. Both the RG and RT pull. Ced kicks the DE out and Jake turns upfield to serve as a lead blocker. The middle of the field is so vacant he doesn't touch anyone until he is 10-11 yards down field. The play gains 14 yards.

    Play 2:
    Formation: Ringo (Back to the QBs right) Trips Right
    Play: it's a play action pass where #2 (middle receiver on the trips side) is the primary target. #1 (outside receiver) on the trips side runs a go route. #2 runs a little squirrel/pivot route and #3 (most inside receiver) runs an in route. On the back side the receiver also runs a vertical. Pre-Snap Johnny sees the back side safety walk up meaning EZ is all alone on an island with the CB. At the snap the corner whiffs on EZ completely and EZ is able to climb with ease. To be honest the throw from Johnny was probably a little short and had it been in stride EZ walks in for a TD. But it really isn't worth complaining about when you gain 35 yards. Johnny shows good recognition skills pre-snap and EZ just obliterates the guy across from him. The play design is nice as well. It's an easy throw to the intended receiver if you don't get your backside WR blowing by the corner like happened here. Besides EZ there are two other open receivers on the play but neither would have been big gains.

    Play 3:
    Formation: Ringo 2x2
    Play: Nothing but a simple play action boot with the slot receiver, in this case Swope running an out for an easy pitch and catch. Gain of 7 yards.

    Play 4:
    Formation: Trips left Pistol
    Play: Pre-Snap the Ags check clearly liking the match up they have. The corner over number 1 on the trips side is playing deep and guys are playing over numbers 2 and 3. The safety walks up before the snap. Number 1 runs a hitch, number 2 runs an in and number 3 runs a corner route. This route combo is known as "smash". One corner followed the receiver across the formation on the in route and the other sat on the hitch. This left Swope alone with the deep defender. The defender actually gets into pretty good position but Johnny throws an absolute dime to the sideline. Swope is able to get both feet down and you have a 19 yard gain.

    Play 5:
    Formation: Lucky 2x2
    The play: There isn't much to say about this play, Johnny drops back and decides to run instead and picks up about 10. It seems so routine to just say that but it really is absurd that it happens as often as it does.

    Play 6:
    Formation: Heavy Tackle Over Pistol set with a TE to the right. This is a great formation for the Ags that they use a lot inside the 7 and short yardage situations. Cheek comes in at LT and Joeckel moves over to line up next to Matthews. Hicks motions from right to left leaving you with three men on each side of the line.
    The Play: Speed option to the right but Johnny decides to cut back all the way across the field. He loses a yard or two and EZ gets called for block in the back. The play call wasn't bad but Johnny wasn't content to take what was there and instead tried to hit the Home Run right then and there. That's just what you have to deal with when he's back there sometimes.

    Play 7:
    The Formation: Twins Left Pistol Lucky (HB in the pistol with a FB or in this case TE lined up to the QBs left). #2 from the left comes in motion into the backfield and is just about to the HB at the snap.
    The Play: It's a QB counter off of a fake motion option. Sounds crazy right? Johnny takes two steps with the WR like they are running the option with the WR as the pitch man. Then he counters back towards the left with the FB and HB both serving as lead blockers. Johnny tucks it up through the middle and gains 9 yards to get to the OU 7. The play is creative and not something you see everyday. McKinney found a way to use the QB counter concept that killed people early in the year (LA Tech, Arkansas, etc) with a new wrinkle to disguise it. The defense flows with the option only to have Johnny come back to the other side with two blockers out front. Just awesome.

    Play 8:
    The Formation: Pistol 2x2. Slot receiver to the right motions across the formation to the left.
    The Play: The Ags won this play before the ball is snapped. The WR in motion moves two guys. The corner over the WR moves into the box and shows blitz. The safety to that side moves towards the middle of the field. At the snap the option is run to the right. Because of the motion the only player to that side is the corner. He is getting blocked by Mike Evans. I'll take that any day of the week. The motion took away the only guy who couldn't be accounted for by the two receivers who would have to come up and play the alley. By taking him away it sets up a nice and easy option pitch to Malena for a TD.

    This drive was beautiful. A nice mix of passing from Manziel including a dime to Swope and creatively designed QB runs. Both the QB dart and QB counter are concepts we've seen some this season but with new wrinkles thrown in to catch OU off guard. McKinney showed his own creativity here and it should make you feel very good about him running things next year.

    PS, if anyone knows of a way that I can get pictures from the video and add illustrations over them let me know. I think it would make it easier to see a lot of what I'm talking about here.

    This post was edited by 512ag 15 months ago

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  • Play #4 was a big one for me. I was very worried Swope was seriously injured at end of first half. This play gave a lot of confidence that he was more than okay. And you are right....what a pass.

  • Very nice. I like the breakdown.

  • 512 Keep this up man. 247 doesn't have anyone that does this. I'd love to, but then I would have to quit my job because I already spend too much time on the site already.

    ...who the heck seriously knows except God, and Sumlin. ~ Aggiemom6

  • On a related note, how excited is everyone for the running game this year? I know after the LSU game, we really started to get things rolling on the ground with the RBs. But with TW, BW, Malena, and Carson all rotating, and McKinney calling the plays...We're going to look a lot like Oregon out there.

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  • i hear you saying nearly unstoppable offense, is that correct? Gosh what a nightmare for opposing DC's.

    Just when the defense gets comfortable or caught leaning too heavy on run defense, Johnny lets one rip downfield. When they overcompensate for the pass, we smoke them with one out of our RB stable. When they seem to have everything covered, Johnny breaks it for a long run.

    But seriously, what is an answer for everything we can put on the field at once?

  • 512ag needs to either get comp'd or put on staff for this kind of X's and O's analysis. Brilliant.

  • It's really a lose lose for defenses. You try to play with 2 high safeties you're stuck with 5, maybe 6 in the box. If you do that you're going to get ran all over. If you try and play any team with some of the air raid principles we use with one high safety you might as well just get on the bus and head home. You're done for.

    The only thing that stops this offense is great d-line play but with our o-line that's going to be a tall order for a d-line to consistently defeat them.

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  • Yes and no. The thing with Oregon is they don't really want their QBs to run. Even with Darron Thomas and Dennis Dixon the goal is always to get the ball to the backs. Using Johnny like we do with so many designed runs really adds another level. It lets block hat on hat against six man boxes. That almost forces teams to bring a safety towards the line and when that happens we've won.

    This offense is something special. We were held to low yardage totals once this year. It just so happens that was Florida with a QB in his first game ever. We play Florida again we light them up too. LSU did to us what they did to West Virginia. We racked up over 400 yards but we turned the ball over. I don't see that being a trend.

    I've said it before but the LSU game was the turning point for the offense. It seems like Sumlin let KK know that we need to run the ball more. Period. KK still had a lot of Leach in his play calling. He was stubborn and would willingly beat his head against the wall and bomb away 60 times a game. That's not Sumlin's (or McKinney's, or Spavital's) game. The offense exploded once they decided to run the ball with authority. It doesn't matter if its QB designed runs or traditional handoffs or even the option.

    The pistol sets we saw against OU with Hicks in the backfield as a lead blocker is going to be a bigger part of the offense next year. Clear is going to take on Hicks' role and be a force lead blocking there. Teams will be forced to play 6 or even 7 guys in the box against a set like that. And 2 or 3 of them are going to have to be LBs. the WRs will have one on one match ups and the talent we are getting on campus will make that an impossible match up to win.

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