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Football Talk

  • I know the recruiting thing has been kick ass today but let's talk a little football.

    Something stuck out to me on our depth chart that was just released. At both inside receiver spots the back ups were listed as Hicks and Clear. Now this could just be the simple way of showing they are tight ends.

    However, it could give us a bit of a glimpse into the scheme of the offense. Say those two guys come on to the field, taking the place of the two inside receivers. im sure theyll have a package where one or the other comes in and the other slot WR stays out. either way, having one or two big bodies who can get out in the passing game is a real weapon. I think we will see a lot more diamond set with those two in the backfield flanking Johnny with any of our stud backs behind them. We saw more diamond and broken diamond stuff in the Cotton Bowl than all season. I think we can chalk that up to McKinney. From my breakdown of the OU game one of the main trends I saw was the broken diamond formation was usually an option play using a lead blocker.

    The next wrinkle is to run the option from the diamond set giving you the ability to have two lead blockers. It also forces the defense to put more people in the box. Another thing I saw in the Cotton Bowl that led to a touchdown was the use of motion to manipulate the defense in a way to make the option even more deadly.

    When the Ags come out in the diamond with Hicks and Clear in the backfield, most defenses will have to go to a traditional 7 man box. You may even see 8 man fronts. If the receivers are split, simply motioning a WR from one side to another can bring a corner along with him, opening the edge to the option. Assuming the guys up front make their blocks, you have a safety coming up to play the alley and he is forced to somehow stop Johnny with a pitch man without any help. To quote Chad Johnson, "Kiss the baby".

    The defense then can check to a cover 2 zone to counter. Okay cool, check the play and send Hicks or Clear up the seam into the gap between the two deep safeties. Que Chad Johnson again.

    Try to play a cover 3? Those TEs in the backfield have free releases to work the hook to curl zone.

    If you start trying to watch the pass against the diamond look be prepared to have the ball ran up your ass. Imagine a 4-1 or even 4-2 look with guys like Clear and Hicks being able to block DBs. That's another win for the Ags.

    I think Spavital will be comfortable with the diamond stuff too. One of West Virginia's go to plays last season was a simple zone play out of the diamond. With the way people were afraid of Geno throwing to Bailey and Austin they were able to pound people running the ball more than people realize.

    I think we are blending the best of the Air Raid with the newer iterations taking more advantage of the run game. As a defensive coordinator trying to stop this offense I really don't know what to do. You go from spread out in 4 and 5 wide sets to seeing the diamond with 250 and 280 pound TEs staring down your DBs.

    Kiss the baby.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by 512ag 13 months ago

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  • Bless you

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

  • I'm just trying to get everyone as excited about this offense as I am. I can't help but laugh out loud thinking about the looks we will see on opposing defensive coaches faces next year.

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  • Another thing to think about is how the screen game and look with a guy like Hicks or Clear lined up in the slot. We know Hicks is a good athlete and if Clear moves as well as we think he can, those guys can clean some CBs up on bubble plays.

    Also it can bring some screen elements from the diamond set. Clear and Hicks can easily get out and set up to block a screen to the HB. Add in having tackles that move as well as Ced and Jake and you have big problems as a defense. Corners will be shitting themselves thinking about playing the Ags.

    "Their WRs are how big coach?"
    "They have a 280 pound TE?"
    "Their tackles move as well as we do?"

    Coach my hamstring is feeling awfully tight this week...

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  • This article from TheSidelineView does a great job talking about the zone from the broken diamond set. The second part of the article is for all you people who discount Kliff as a coach.

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  • I'm stuck home sick tonight so all I'm doing is looking at football stuff from last season. I have to think Spavital is loving having Quiv and Trey both. They can both do a lot of the things Tavon Austin did. Clearly they won't be as good as he was but they have a lot of the same attributes. Quiv is probably set to make one of if not the biggest impacts as a freshman because of that.

    Tavon moved all around the formation and was used in the screen game, traditional passing game, hand offs, and jet sweep game. I'm not a fan of the jet sweep stuff but I'm sure some of it will be implemented and Quiv does that well. He did a lot for Cedar Hill so he should be able to keep it up.

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  • Is there a cliffs notes version of this?, if not I will catch up tomorrow.

  • You are on the track I have been preaching since we went after a TE like Clear. You are going to see these guys on the field at the same time and it might be the Diamond, a Broken Diamond, or a more traditional look with 1 TE next to a OT and 1 in the short slot. What D do you send on the field as they will have multiple stes which could also be a 2 TE formation like an I-Formation, 2 set-backs, or even start with a Full House Backfield. The 1 thing I have seen with Sumlin O for the last 4 years is it has nuances and changes to stay 1 step ahead of the DCs. With the talent, size, and speed we will put on the field at WR, which I am including the TEs in, there will be some nightmare matchups for teams. The big slow teams will get left in the dust, and the smaller, faster teams will get manhandled. The O will be even more exciting I believe.

  • Great analysis 512. I'm not into x/o's as much, but your breakdown makes it easy to appreciate the potential that this offense has and the difficulties other teams "offenses" will have in keeping up with us. I say offenses because we will have the best offense in the SEC if not the country next year, and many of our games will be decided by our defense making some key stops of the opposition's offense. The defense needs to be just good enough, not great, but just good enough for us to get the lead. And once we get a lead, we will be very, very difficult to beat.

    This post was edited by GeorgiaAg 13 months ago

  • I definitely think we're going to see some more option next year with McKinney calling the plays.

    However, I don't think I'd have both tight ends in the backfield that often. With as good of a blocker as Malena is, I'd have him lined up to one side of Manziel with one of the speed backs behind him and the tight end on the other side. That way if you're going tempo you don't have to substitute and you can have one tight end split out and two backs in the backfield which would give you some more options, especially with the ability of both Williams' to play in the slot. I'm not in love with having both Clear and Hicks in the passing game, I think you're sacrificing some speed there unnecessarily, but imagine this.

    You come out on the first play in diamond formation with Malena to the right, Clear left, Brandon Williams behind, then you no huddle into the next play with Clear in the slot to the left, Brandon Williams in the slot to the right and Malena as a single back. We saw Brandon Williams play out of the receiver slot some last spring and he looked pretty good at it. Talk about options...

    If Tra Carson is a good blocker you could even put him on one side also, essentially giving you an inverted wishbone in short yardage but with three solid ballcarriers instead of two tight ends.

    Email: AubreyBloom at gmail Follow On Twitter:

  • Good point with the tempo stuff. I'm sure we will see a combination of guys back there in the backfield.

    You're right about Malena being a good blocker. He's good at maneuvering his guy and sealing. But at some point you can't make up for the punch you get from Clear and Hicks. Another plus to the two TE backfield along with a back are the coverages it could force teams to play. We would almost always see Cover 1 or Cover 3. If its cover 1 Evans and some combination of Walker, Williams, whoever else could get some great looks down the field. Plus you have them playing man, Johnny has even better luck running if defensive backs have their backs turned.

    Basically we can formation and personnel teams to death. We will have the ability using personnel groups and formations to get the defensive playing the coverages we want from the formations we want.

    Tra Carson totally slipped my mind. He can basically stand in for Hicks and give us nearly the same look with added ability as a ball carrier. Geeze man. I can't wait to see a Torbush wow from the other sideline this season. It's going to happen.

    This post was edited by 512ag 13 months ago

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  • DC's are going to look like Kirby smart the first 3 series last year all game long. Should be a beautiful season.

  • Yeah, I definitely agree with Clear's potential, can't wait for you guys to see him run routes at one of the scrimmages. The dude is absolutely massive but moves extremely well.

    Email: AubreyBloom at gmail Follow On Twitter:

  • I want them to look like the Stoops brothers at the cotton bowl. Little brother was losing it

  • Agree especially with what you lose having hem both in at the same time. Other than maybe the red zone?

    This post was edited by NatKingJoe 13 months ago


  • If it forces the defense to play cover 1 then it has benefits far beyond the redzone. It's a set that will be effective for running from forcing the defense to play more guys in the box in either a cover 1 or 3 look assuming you've established the run. You can then hit big plays off play action to either outside WR while having max protect going on. It's far more than just a redzone look.

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  • The problem with play action out of a diamond formation is that there are a ton of people in the box which makes it harder to read where pressure might be coming from. Especially with Hicks and Clear in the backfield, neither of which are exactly burners. It's going to take you an awfully long time to get one of them into a route out of the backfield. And you're also not exactly fooling the defense in the run game since they know you have zero intention of handing it off to one of them.

    I get the idea that it could work to bring guys up and hit over the top in play action, but to me it's just bringing extra people into the box that you don't need in there.

    Put it this way I don't see a marked advantage to having Nehemiah Hicks in the backfield allowing a linebacker to cover him over the top three yards off the line of scrimmage with only one running back in the game in a diamond formation vs having just Clear in the backfield with a speed receiver in the slot that they're either going to have to bring a safety down to cover or force a linebacker to cover out in space.

    In the first case you have 9 guys in the box and the defense will have at least 8 (though faster defenses won't have to come all the way down to cover tight ends out of the backfield so they could really keep 7 in and give their safeties a chance to read the play and come downhill.)

    In the second you have 8 guys in the box but the defense is only going to be able to put 7 in because they're going to have to keep a safety over the side of the field with the slot receiver and that's if they completely leave a corner on the single side receiver out on an island.

    So you're still at a numbers advantage in the box but with more options in the passing game.

    Email: AubreyBloom at gmail Follow On Twitter:

  • I'm not talking about trying to play action to set up a pass to the TE. The benefit is getting the defense in the alignment you want and then being able to blocks the pressure that typically comes from a cover 1 or cover 0 look. It's like the more old school max protect plays teams would run to hit the deep ball and keep the QB safe waiting for long routes to develop. There's a place for two TEs on the field just like there is for the broken diamond with one TE, or the diamond with 3 RBs. The point is options and personnel packages that put you in control of defensive alignments and coverages.

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  • I mean everyone has their own favorites, but to me the diamond takes away some of the advantage of the spread in regards to the passing game. What's the advantage of being in a diamond with two tight ends vs being in a standard max protect formation? You get what I'm saying?

    Email: AubreyBloom at gmail Follow On Twitter:

  • If things like the option and traditional zone plays are ran from the diamond with two tights it makes it more viable for taking shots down the field off of play action. i like the possibilities too from the diamond to having you oline block down and using large TEs in the backfield to seal the end and be a lead blocker on runs plays. You get angles to LBs that you dont necessarily get from more traditional power running sets. It will also be somewhat of a novelty to SEC defenses. I guess the possibilities running from 2 TE sets are what are more attractive to me than anything else. Using it with a TE and 2 HBs is nice too but they are just different things. 2 backs gives you the option for a little triple option stuff. To be successful running traditional run plays from it though one of your backs has to be a ruthless run blocker. Malena would be okay at that. Tra has the size to be but I just haven't seen him do it. Trey and Brandon don't seem like the guys for it.

    You can also do some stuff from the two back one tight end look like packaging screen plays with your run plays like West Virginia likes to do. You can also use the jet motion from the backfield to pull a guy from the box. But the same thing can be accomplished with a pass catching TE.

    I guess my main point is, the more personnel groupings you can plug into the same formation and be successful doing it, the more multiple and difficult to stop your offense becomes. With two TEs it will clearly be more geared to pounding the ball a bit and play actioning off of that over the top. With two backs you can do some screen game stuff and a little more misdirection in the run game. With three backs you have all the above options. You just lose some of the punch in the running game. You lose the size advantage you have blocking around the box.

    Each grouping has its place and application and accomplish different goals and lend themselves to specific plays.

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  • Great thread! Super excited!

    Football is fun again!

  • I just think you're overrated Hicks as a blocker, and we don't really know what Clear is going to be as a blocker yet. I guess that's the jump I'm not making. I agree that if they're both good blockers it could give you some things, but I'd like to see Hicks be a better blocker before I'm willing to cram the box.

    Especially with guys like Brandon and Trey Williams I think A&M would run better out of traditional spread sets with the defense spread out instead of everyone crammed in.

    I can see it being useful though.

    Email: AubreyBloom at gmail Follow On Twitter:

  • I gotcha. I'm assuming a 250 pound Hicks blocks better than our RBs. And we don't know much about Clear except he's a big dude that moves well for his size. If he can stand in front of a defender he will block well enough.

    The best thing is we can have this conversation because of the options we have. If you're debating what formations can serve as occasional wrinkles then you're in a pretty good place as opposed to trying to figure out how to move the ball.

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  • I've read in the past he has had trouble catching the ball. Is he a reliable reciever now?