2 of the most common phrases in coaching are “get the ball to your playmaker” and “put athletes in space”.
One drawback against “the spread” offense is is easy to get the RB touches, but it can be difficult to get a WR touches. In 2015, Ohio State took their former dynamic QB, Braxton Miller and transitioned him to being a WR. He did so many great things with the ball in his hands at QB that Ohio State had to make sure they continued to feed him the ball in his new position. We as coaches often find ourselves with a “tweener” or a shifty WR that we just need to get the ball to any way we can.
Below I will explain several of the things Ohio State did to get their human highlight reel the football.
Officially Braxton was a slot or “H” receiver. Below are a few clips of him showing his speed, quickness, and hands to catch the ball down the field.
They already had a dynamic RB in Ezekiel Elliot, but using Braxton in the backfield gave them another lightning quick runner. OSU would both align Braxton in the backfield pre snap, as well as motion him into the backfield just before the snap. Here is a clip of them motioning him into the backfield to run counter from a splitback set.
Aligning him in the backfield became a great way to throw the ball to him as well. Aligning him in the backfield has 2 big advantages, it can match him up vs slower LBs, and it is easier for defenders to lose routes (not see them) if they come from the backfield. Here are 2 examples of him taking short, high percentage passes for good gains.
The popular term for this would be “WildCat”. Put your best athlete at QB, let him run around and make plays. Ohio state used both designed QB runs and option style runs with Braxton.
For option runs they used the “inverted veer” and “speed option” schemes. Braxton was familiar with these schemes from his 3 years playing QB and it added another wrinkle for the defense to defend.
One last way to “feed the beast’ was to use Jet motion to get him touches and get him on the edge of the defense. Ohio state used 2 schemes with their Jet to get Braxton to the edge. The first was to full reach or outside zone the Jet. The other was to cross block with the OT and OG. The down block from the OT was used to make the DE squeeze slightly and allow the guard to pull and try to run around him. Against a disciplined DE, this can be an easier way of getting the edge than fighting to reach him. Also, notice they use the touch pass to execute the Jet, rather than hand it off.