Oregon’s offense on the edge

Kevin Cline

Everyone knows about Oregon’s speed.  The Ducks pride themselves on “playing fast” and turning loose players with speed, utilizing players such as De’Anthony Thomas and Josh Huff to be the flash in Oregon’s spread-option attack.  The spread specifically allows a team to better utilize the speed of its offensive skill players (and linemen), as four- and five-receiver sets “spread” the field, creating mismatches and breaking the weak points in the defense.  Those mismatches can then be exploited by audibles and hot routes at the line of scrimmage, often resulting in big plays.

Chip Kelly was a master at getting the ball to his playmakers in space.  During his tenure the Ducks had great success with quick passes/options such as the bubble-screen, where the ball goes quickly to an athlete on the edge.  These edge plays are only effective when wide receivers execute their blocking assignments and create seams.  Unfortunately, blocking isn’t a high priority for many receivers, especially highly-ranked recruits who think they’re above such tasks.  Not so at Oregon.  The Ducks have made it clear that in order for wideouts to get on the field they must be unselfish, and work hard to execute their blocking assignments.  Watch guys like Huff, Lyerla and Keanon Lowe when bubble or option plays are coming their way, they’ll be working their butts off to help spring their teammates for big plays.

Short passes and screens are easy for a QB like Mariota.

Kevin Cline

Short passes and screens are easy for a talented QB like Mariota.

The threat of a quick-bubble screen affects how defenses line up, too.  A corner that’s wary of a quick screen may creep close to the line, which will open up windows for passes behind him.  The bubble-screen is just one of many weapons that keep opposing Defensive Coordinators awake at nights!



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