Baylor’s record breaking Rushing Game against North Carolina

One of the big stories of College Bowl Season was the dominating performance by the Baylor Bears ground game against North Carolina.  Baylor famously played the entire game without a true QB (due to injuries).  They used a collection of different RBs and WRs taking direct snaps in route to the most dominating ground performance in Bowl game history.

The major components of the Baylor ground attack were Inside Zone (IZ), Iso/Lead, Counter, 1 Back Power, Dart, and Jet.  The majority of this post is going to focus on their “Dart” Scheme.

DART

Dart combines elements of a man scheme and a gap scheme.  The playside is blocked similar to “1 back power” but the backside tackle pulls to wrap through the first open hole playside.  By pulling the tackle rather than the guard, it allows the OL to use the C and backside guard (BSG) to combo up to Will LB.  The backside End is left alone.  The play is designed to work against a 6 man box and UNC gave Baylor favorable box numbers all game long (5 and 6 man boxes).

Below are two diagrams of the play.  Note that the playside guard will either down block the 1 tech, or base block the 3 tech out… it just depends on the alignment of the DT on his side.

IMG_4595 IMG_4596

Against a 3 man front  the guard would combo with the nose.  It would be tough to play a 5 man front against a spread offense but if it happened you would need to man up with the playside OL and still pull BST through the first open gap he can up to playside LB.

Baylor ran this concept with the RB and QB (wildcat guy) over a dozen times.  Below I will breakdown several of the variations they used.  These are just a few examples of the many times they ran Dart. What I love is the little variations/wrinkles they threw in, but the play stays the same for the OL up front.

Dart 1

Dart 2 (with H back motion out)

Dart 3 (with a TE backside) Here is an example against  a 5-2 look.  By having the TE run up the seam it occupies the DE briefly, and the LB carries here vertically which takes him completely out of the play.

Dart 4 (from empty)

Dart 5 (TE backside again)

Dart 6 & 7 (Ran it back to back plays with tempo)

Dart 8 (H back motion across to empty) includes skyCam angle

QB Counter

Baylor also ran a QB counter scheme that timed up similar to a draw.  In this scheme they would use the BSG to kick or log the DE like usual but would hinge backside with the BST.  Their 2nd puller, or “wrapper” was the RB.

In all 3 of the examples below you will see the play side DE squeeze the down block and wrong arm the guard.  This forces the BSG to log him and seal him inside.  This is a clear read for the RB to get around him to pick up the LB.  The QB now just needs to give the RB enough time to get ahead of him, and cut off of the block the RB makes on the LB.

QB Counter 1

QB Counter 2

QB Counter 3 (Great End Zone Shot)

 

Jet Sweep

The last series Baylor used that I want to discuss is their Jet Sweep series.  For any one unfamiliar with Jet Sweep, it involves bringing a WR in full speed motion to run a sweep to the edge.  Typically a team will use outside zone or reach blocking to try to run around defenders, sealing them inside.  Baylor does some interesting things with Jet Motion, and for a team with no real threat to throw at this point, Jet sweep becomes a great way to get the ball in the hands of your playmaking WRs.  Baylor uses some unique formations to set up the Jet Sweep.  They will often run Jet from an unbalanced formation or cover up WRs.  This allows them to get an extra blocker outside or an extra OL playside working to reach defenders.  It is also common for Baylor to use a TE/H back aligned just outside of their end man to help seal the edge and lead up on an OLB.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about their Jet Sweep package, is that they DO NOT hand the ball off to their jet motion man.  The QB will do a quick touch throw/flip forward.  The benefit of this quick flip is it technically makes the sweep a “forward pass”.  This gives Baylor some built in protection in case the mesh is mishandled, it will be called an incomplete pass, rather than a fumble and a potential turnover (you will see why soon).

Below are 2 examples of the Jet Sweep.  North Carolina’s defense does an excellent job of fighting the reach blocks and not giving the jet sweep player an easy lane to the outside.  They are able to stop these 2 attempts without letting them develop into long runs.  Their defense flows incredibly fast to the football.

Jet 1

Jet 2

Here is an example of why doing Jet as a “forward pass” has merit.  The toss is bobbled, but because it was forward, it is ruled an incomplete pass, Baylor loses a down but they do not lose any yards or the football.

Jet Keep

Noticing North Carolina’s fast flow to stop the Jet Sweep before it gets started Baylor had some success with the QB keeping it on the backside.  This can either be a true read on the backside DE, or it can be called by the coach from seeing the defensive reaction from the pressbox or sideline.

Jet QB Keep 1

Jet QB Keep 2 (80 yard TD run)

 

Conclusion

The Dart, QB Counter, and Jet Series were certainly not Baylor’s only reasons for offensive success against North Carolina.  Inside Zone, Iso/Lead, 1 back power, and a few completed passes were critical to their success throughout the game.  I thought these plays were unique and deserved to be highlighted here.

In total Baylor tallied

756 total yards, 645 of which came on the ground

Stanford Offense: Stretch

I love studying offenses that run the football.  I get that the spread offense and RPO packaged plays are all the rage in college and HS football, but a team that can pound the ball from 21 personnel is a beautiful thing to watch.  One of my favorite teams to watch is Stanford (both for their style of offense and the fact that they are local).

One scheme I want to analyze here is their Stretch or Outside Zone Scheme.  We run a ton of stretch from multiple personnel sets and do so very similarly to what Stanford does.

In the 3 examples below I am going to analyze Stanford is aligned in a basic Pro I formation.  TE and WR to the left, one WR to the right.  FB and RB (Christian McCaffrey or as i have dubbed him “C-Mac”) in the “I”.

Scheme

The OL is going to work wide to the playside looking to reach defenders to their playside gap.  If they step playside and have no threat they will work to climb up to LB level.  On the playside, the TE always has the option to turn a defender out if they simply cannot reach him.

The FB is reading the block on the edge and is looking to either insert if the DE widens/comes upfield or work around him to the force player if the DE gives up the edge.

The RB is reading it the same as the Fb. He will work a wide path to “stretch” the defense horizontally and look to make 1 vertical cut up the field and get going downhill.

Example 1 vs USC (i love this play near the goal line, the defense comes right to you)

Example 2 vs Iowa (DE widens, TE turns him. Fb inserts)

Example 3 vs Iowa (DE widens, TE turns him. FB inserts. Now defense flows more faster toward the play, opens up a huge Cutback lane after C-Max gets downhill through the LOS) Notice the great job backside OL guys do to stay engaged and work butt toward the sideline, giving C-Mac an alley.

I just love Stretch.  it is safe against any defensive look you are going to see and it is a great combination (especially with a FB) of an outside run and a downhill run.  It gets the defensive flow of an outside run, but using that FB to insert anywhere he sees the opening along the front, and the RB making one cut and getting downhill give the play a smash mouth feel.

iBook Preview – Jet

Jet is not a huge part of our offense but it can be an effective way to get a speedy WR involved in the run game.  It is also a good wrinkle to add some deception to your offense and help open up your inside run game.  Jet motion puts stress on the defense and forces them to start moving guys to attack it (can be the DE, a LB, or a secondary player) or risk getting torched on the sweep.

For my iBook I have combined the Jet sweep content (write up, cut ups, screen recording of video review) with the “Toss” content to make one iBook that essentially focuses on just our outside runs.

In the past we have done it both from Pistol and with the Rb off set in the gun.  I prefer to have the RB offset, it makes getting to his block much easier.

Here is a clip of jet sweep

This is the last of my iBook previews.  All of the content for the iBooks is done.  It is just a matter of putting the pieces together and making it available for download.

I will keep you all posted about the release date.

iBook Preview – Toss

We added a quick toss to our offense this season.  It became a wildly explosive play for us averaging just over 10 yards per carry.  We try to overload the defense on the perimeter by pulling multiple offensive linemen to the perimeter and using angle blocking for our WRs to stop inside pursuit of the play.  This is a great play for us to get our RB outside and away from the loaded boxes we see.

We will run this play the exact same from Pistol and with the RB off set to the side of the QB.  All of the blocking rules, drill video, and cut ups with my voice over are included in the iBook.

Here is a sample of the toss play I detail in the iBook.

Auburn’s Buck Sweep

Here is a brief break down of Auburn’s Buck Sweep.  They will run the sweep with different ball carriers and backfield actions.  It is a flexible scheme that can be used in any style of offense from a true power team to a spread offense.  The scheme is built on angle blocking and Wing t principles.  It provides a great constraint for how defensive ends are playing your inside run game.

Auburn brings a RB in motion from the slot to receive the mesh, while using their QB and Tailback to fake an option course backside, you will see the effect this has on slowing down the defense’s pursuit of the play.

 

iBook Preview – Buck

In the next preview of the schemes I discuss in my new iBook I will be introducing our RB Buck play.

Our Buck a RB version of the buck sweep.  It was the biggest addition to our playbook this season and we averaged over 10 yards per carry on it.  In the iBook i detail multiple ways we seal the edge and pull our guards to lead block for this sweep that can hit anywhere from the alley to the sideline.  I re use many of the skills we work on in our power and counter schemes and it gives us a great answer for team who are defending those schemes well.

This is a play that has become a huge part of Auburn’s success running the football.

Here is a clip of our buck play that begins looking just like power, and then pops out to the alley for a big gain.

iBook preview – Stretch

In the next little preview for the schemes I am writing about for my iBook I will discuss the Stretch or Outside Zone scheme.  This play is always a big part of our offense and is very simple for us to install and run.

We use a full reach scheme that stays the same for the OL regardless of personnel and formation.  That is what I like about the play… we can run it a number of different ways.  This play can hit ANYWHERE across the front.  We get so much lateral movement that creases can open up anywhere and our RB’s have done a great job at running to daylight on it.  Here is a clip of our stretch scheme from pistol.

iBook Preview- Counter

Once Power is installed the next part of our offense to go in is Counter.  We were actually significantly better running Counter this season and I called it more frequently, with more success, than our Power scheme.  We often see an extra player or two to the side we set our Fullback so being proficient at Counter going back the other way was critical to our offensive success.

The Basics:

Playside down blocks/doubles just like Power.  We pull the backside guard to kick out the end and have different calls to pull our FB, backside TE, a wing, or any combination thereof .  I prefer keeping the backside tackle home to block backside rather than the traditional “GT” or “Counter trey” that uses the backside tackle as the 2nd puller (2nd puller is the player wrapping up to LB).  This keeps the tackles rules and skills consistent between power and counter, helps in mastery of our backside B gap hinge technique, and allows us to pull a better athlete (FB/TE/Wr).

Below is an example of us running it both from our Pro set, and from out double tight set.

iBook Preview – Power

I run a power based offense at my high school.  I am stubbornly committed to running the football and everything is based off of our 2 back Power Scheme.  I have started working on an eBook series detailing how I teach our run game and I wanted to include a little bit on my blog so anyone who might be interested in it can get a glimpse of what they will be learning about.

Power is the foundation of our offense.  I teach a standard 2 back power with down blocking or doubles at the Point of Attack, a Fullback Kick Out on the end man, and a backside guard wrapping through to the playside LB.  Everything else in our offense comes off of us being able to establish our 2 back power play.

Here is a sideline and EZ shot of a 2 back power play from this season.  We get downhill now with everyone inside picked up and put the RB 1on1 with a FS on the Goal Line.  That is going to be a win for the offense just about every time.

Here is the Link to the iBook I made last year that extensively goes over my exact teaching progression and drill work for our 2 back power play. OL Play in the POWER SCHEME

 

Later this week I will be posting clips of our Counter, Bucksweep, Stretch, and Toss plays that will eventually all be part of the eBook series.

Update: here are links to my other iBook Previews

COUNTER

STRETCH/OUTSIDE ZONE

BUCK SWEEP/ PIN N PULL

TOSS

JET

AND I JUST ADDED A BONUS CHAPTER ON OUR EXPLOSIVE PLAY ACTION PASS GAME

Getting WRs involved in the Run Game

WRs by nature are usually the guy(s) you want with the ball in their hands.  Speed, moves, and the ability to break a long play any time they get their hands on the ball.  The problem, is that it can be difficult to get them the ball consistently in the passing game.  You see this even at the NFL and College level where a stud WR gets held to a rather pedestrian day.  I am  a big believer in using WRs in the run game for a few reasons

  1. It guarantees they are getting the ball in their hands, more touches = more chances to pop an explosive play
  2. Gives the ball to someone else so teams can’t just attack the tail back
  3. Adds a level of deception to our offense, which many coaches feel you lack being in the gun/pistol (we will run these WR plays as well as fake to them )
  4. Motion or a unique formation presents one more element for the defense to prepare for
The 2 concepts I will talk about today are
Jet Sweep
WR sweep
In the Jet sweep, we are bringing a WR in motion, timing the snap to hit him close to full speed and trying to get to the edge.  We use OZ blocking with the OL, and we use the FB and RB to kick out force and lead up for the Jet WR.
The first 2 clips below show our regular motion jet sweep.  The final clip shows a no motion jet sweep, where we experimented with a quick touch pass to the WR (no risk of fumble, technically a pass).  Up front I am fine with a little bit of penetration as long as we can get our hips around to seal off the box.  We need to improve how we coach our FB and RB to kick out force and lead through, but we felt we got a lot of bang for our buck, in terms of production vs practice time invested.
In the WR sweep, I wanted another way to get our WR the ball, that didn’t use motion.  As we started having success using jet sweeps, defenses started attacking the motion hard.  We used a Wing position to bring our WR closer to the ball.  You could accomplish this by using a slow motion or orbit motion as well.
The WR sweep differs from the Jet in a few ways
  1. We block it using pin and pull
  2. We fake to our RB  first and he blocks backside like traditional bucksweep
  3. Because of the blocking scheme, and the time it takes for the mesh, the play will typically get cut up into the alley, rather than attack the perimeter fast like jet
A great way to pair this if you wanted to keep the motion, would be to use a motion crack and run the ball, then motion, snap the ball with same timing, fake the run to the crack side, and have motion man bend around QB to get the WR sweep.
Using these WR sweeps is a great way to get your playmakers the ball.