This is the second post in this series. The first can be found here: http://www.bearinsider.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=68728
The play I'm ultimately going to discuss is a 1st down conversion on second and 10 against Utah State. To understand how that play was set-up, though, we should look at how Louisiana Tech had found success up to that point in the drive.
This drive started after a punt to the La Tech 15. At the beginning of the drive, Tech stubbornly attacks the outside of the defense with plays heading toward the “boundary,” or the closest sideline. As a note, in this and future posts I might refer to sides of the offense or defense as the “field” or “boundary” sides. This refers to plays where the ball is set on one of the hash-marks instead of in the direct middle of the field. The “boundary” side is the side to the nearest sideline, where there is less open grass. In the picture above, since the ball is set on the left hash, the boundary side is the left side. The “field” side is the opposite side, where there is more open space. In this play, USU is playing a 2-deep defense with the boundary corner playing press-man coverage and the rest of the defense playing normal cover-2 (a zone coverage).
On this play, La Tech is going to run to the boundary. They do this by sending the boundary WR deep, which takes the manned-up CB with him. That means that the only player who can stop an outside run to that side is the OLB, standing on the 20. The offensive play design is drawn up here:
And the post-snap look is here:
What you're seeing here is the development of another packaged play, like the one discussed in my previous post. This particular package is meant to stretch out USU's underneath coverage as much as possible by attacking the short outside on both sides of the formation. At the top of the image, La Tech's wide receiver is looking for a screen, with the other WR blocking for him. Cameron is reading the field OLB and notices that he's hanging outside. Between this LB, the safety, and the LCB La Tech doesn't really have the numbers to run the screen, so Cameron hands off. At the bottom of the screen, the FB has moved out of the backfield to seal the edge, and the LG is pulling outside for the same reason. At this point in the play you can already tell it will be successful because the OLB at the bottom of the screen has been sucked up by the run-action. The FB and LG will easily get outside of him and the next LB inside, and the RB will have a lot of room to run before the safety makes first contact and a LB cleans up.
La Tech ran the same play immediately after this and gained another 9 yards, but we don't get to see much of it because they run the play before ESPN's camera crew can cut to the right shot. The next play is a run up the middle for a first down, which we don't need to look at here.
For those of you keeping score at home, it's now 1st and 10 at the La Tech 45. For the 3rd time, Franklin calls the play I've detailed above, but on this play the run goes to the right. Check the image below. Why have the run and the screen switched sides?
If you answered that this play always puts the run to the boundary side of the formation, you are correct. The ball is on the right hashmark now, so the run goes to the right (boundary) side and the screen goes to the left (field) side, where there's more room for the receiver to operate once he catches the ball.
Also important is that USU is in a different coverage this time. You might look at the above picture and wonder why there is no outside defender to the boundary. USU is worried about the 2-receiver side of the formation being in all that space to the field, and they know that La Tech likes to run screens out of this look. How can a DC take away the 2-receiver side without taking defenders out of the box? In this case, they've “shifted” their coverage to the 2-receiver side. What does it mean that they've shifted coverage? Think of the coverage above, with 2 deep safeties. In that coverage, there were two DB's (a corner and a safety) to each side of the formation. Coverage was balanced. Now take that look and “shift” it to the field, as I've illustrated below:
Bring the field safety into underneath coverage, bring the right safety to the middle of the field, and drop the CB's deep. Now you have 3 secondary defenders in position to defend the field side of the formation. This shifted coverage is nothing exotic, and is really just what you've probably heard called Cover-3, but I thought it would be useful to show the relationship between these two coverages, and what DC's are really trying to do by switching from one to the other.
With that out of the way, USU is actually playing a 3-deep fire zone, with the field OLB blitzing. The hope is that La Tech will see the blitz and throw the screen quickly where they don't have numbers, or that one of their players can beat his man and stop the run for a short gain. Their coverage and blitz responsibilities are seen below. Note that they have two DB's lined up over 2 WR's, making the screen tougher.
On this play the LB's all do the right thing, unlike the first play discussed where the outside defender lost the edge. This run works because of numbers. Because USU is in a different coverage and alignment, La Tech's OL adjusts slightly to block it. To the boundary side, USU has the following defenders: ½ of the NT, the LDE, the LOLB, and the LILB, or 4 available defenders. La Tech blocks this by having the FB take the LOLB, the C and RG double team the NT, and the RT takes the LDE. The LG pulls and takes out the LILB giving La Tech five blockers against four defenders. The run goes for an easy 5 yards.