The Fish Report: The Outside Zone Read Altered?

“All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey.” For Oregon fans, these lyrics seem to match the Willamette Valley and our feelings after this game with USC. There has been enough written about our missed opportunities and mistakes in this game, and I salute our foe for a tremendous game plan and execution.

I was surprised during the game as I did not see the usual Chip Kelly changes thrown at our opponent, and it wasn’t until analyzing in DVR slow motion that I could see an unusual challenge thrown at USC that benefited us at the same time! We are also witnessing a transformation of backfield formations that will confound future adversaries and begs us to see what opposing coaches will contend with.

“Oh how we love to learn about our beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer  (FishDuck)
Oregon Football Analyst for
Eugene, Oregon

Top Photo from Video

EDIT: Please be sure to view The Fish Report: Oregon’s New “Sweep Read” for an important correction.

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Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for thirty years and has written reports on football boards for over a dozen years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine, and their dog (Abbie) reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a financial advisor for 30 years serving clients in seven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More...

  • Gageac

    Sweet! Never get tired of seeing the variations.

  • DuckNV

    It’s pretty clear why practice is closed.  It seems that the coaches are implementing (perhaps just revealing) new aspects each week.  Thanks Charles, nice work once again.  

  • Kalon Jelen

    Charles, were we pulling the G and T on the OZR before? I had thought that we were not and we were keeping them in to have a weakside cutback lane. 

    • Anonymous

      Good catch Kalon,

      In the past….we either did no pulling and simply did the kick-step, or we pulled the guard and tackle on playside.  We have pulled both guards before, and now we’re using the center quite a bit of the time since he has the speed and explosion in open space.

      What a blast to study……


      • A reason for that change is Hroniss Grasu.  Grasu has much quicker feet than Jordan Holmes, in talking with former players who played along the offensive line they have said repeatedly that having a center with enough foot speed to pull outside the line is something they simply couldn’t do with Holmes at center.  With Grasu and Armstrong, this is now possible, and it opens up the playbook a bit more.

  • my highschool team runs this same exact play

  • JV

    One learns more from a loss than a win: why did we lose? Why were zone reads of all varieties so ineffective for three-plus quarters? I don’t Tivo and can’t tell: were the blocks defeated? Were the LBs and corners cheating? 
    Against very good teams, I am beginning to think we may have  fatal flaw. Our O appears to take a long time (at least w/DT at the helm) to find its rhythm. Meanwhile, against a well-balanced team, our D gets pushed all over the field and the O sits on the bench, not getting many reps also because of the rhythm thing when they do get on the field. This allows the opposing D to be rested for the latter part of the game. 
    So, the design of our O plus our “bend don’t break” philosophy on D add up to trouble. But there’s more: often, as you point out, we option read the same player(s) repetitively; against lesser players and teams, this is highly successful. But against an LSU, it was disastrous and resulted in many three and outs. But how is one to know if eventually the opposing D will just tire and break? I’d argue that Chip’s seeming faith in his system almost is a poison pill: by not altering strategy, in very competitive situations, it becomes clear that we are in serious trouble only when it’s too late. In the USC game, it was apparent our D was every bit as tired as that of the Trojan. 
    Lastly, the undependable nature of our receiving  corps: the drops. Both Tuinei and Huff can make circus-catches, but neither can be counted on to make THAT catch when the game is on the line. Injuries, the nature of the receiver, and the system all contribute. When you throw to so many different receivers, and relatively rarely, it is hard for them to get comfortable. 
    Okay, rant over.