Video Analysis: Oregon’s New Aerial Attack

Featured Photo 3

Craig Strobeck

The shot across the bow of the college football world has been delivered by our beloved Oregon Ducks.  The question of balance concerning the Oregon offense was answered against Tennessee when Marcus Mariota threw for more than an incredible 450 yards passing.  The Ducks are known for a powerful running game that, due to execution, is difficult to stop — even when you know what is coming.  However, the challenges of beating the elite teams . . . of the Stanfords, the Ohio States and the Alabamas in the sphere of college football . . . are in overcoming a defense manned by elite athletes who CAN defeat blocks and slow the Oregon running game.  They will force Oregon to beat them with the passing attack, and let’s look at how that will happen.

Outside Zone Read?

From Video

Outside Zone Read?

The play above is the beginning of your typical Outside Zone Read as the green arrows show our linemen, a moment after they have taken a kick step to the left.  Bryon Marshall (orange arrow) is moving to the QB for the mesh, and all appears as usual to us to the Vols defense.

Naked Bootleg!

From Video

Naked Bootleg!

Mariota is not reading anyone, but pulling the ball (above) to run the ”Naked Bootleg!”  This play is the bane of all defensive coordinators, as the “Grizzled Ole’ Coach” spoke often of the difficulty of defending this play when you have a fast, mobile QB like Marcus.  Note how the TE in the green circle is NOT blocking, but appearing to come to a stop!

Fancy Footwork for a Freshman

From Video

Fancy Footwork for a Freshman.

The Tight End above, Johnny Mundt, is putting his weight on his right foot, planting and spinning the other direction.  This true freshmen has nailed a new pass pattern in a game!

Both Freshmen open?

From Video

Both Freshmen open?

Mariota has rolled out (above) and is throwing the pass to Johnny, (green circle) but notice No. 32 in the background (red arrow) as another TE, redshirt freshman Evan Baylis is also open on a deeper route.  The future looks bright at the Tight End position for Oregon.

The Classic Oregon Bubble

From Video

The Classic Oregon Bubble

Oregon is known for legendary blocking by our receivers and beating the block is vital for the defense to keep the gain small.  Note up to the right as the Tennessee corner fought hard to beat the block of Daryle Hawkins, (No. 16, above) but even with that the Ducks got an excellent eight-yard gain.

Cover 4 or Quarters

From Video

Cover 4 or Quarters

It is common for opponents to run a “Cover 4″ defense, or sometimes called “Quarters.”  You see how (above) the Vols have their defensive backs spread out to cover their quarter of the field, both short and deep.  Coach Brian Flinn of Villanova University explained to me that the benefit of this defense against the spread, is how you can have pass coverage while retaining the safeties up close to the LOS for stopping the run.  Notice how at the moment of doing the mesh — all eyes of the Tennessee defense are on the QB and RB.

The corner must beat the block.....

From Video

The corner must beat the block . . .

The corner sees Bralon Addison flaring out for another Bubble screen, and we must remember how these Tennessee defenders have been lectured and drilled in coming up and defeating the blocks, to stop the Bubble Read process.  The corner is coming up hard because he KNOWS that Hawkins (green arrow) is going to whack him hard with a block for Addison, and he must explode into the block and eject Hawkins to make the tackle.

It just takes a second....

From Video

It just takes a second . . .

Daryle approached the corner and then blew right past him! (above)  The corner tried to turn to catch him, but to no avail as the touchdown was quite easy since each DB had their quarter of the field, thus there was no backside or over-the-top help from a safety.  It was an astonishing play call by our coaching staff as it took advantage of the defensive coverage; they knew that once Hawkins cleared the corner — it was six points.  Note also that it was NOT a busted coverage, as reported on the television broadcast, but instead a dedication to beat a block by the Vols corner that was turned against him.  Wow.

Cover 4 or Man defense?

From Video

Cover 4 or Man defense?

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the defense alignment as Tennessee could be in a Cover 4 again (orange circles above) with LBs in the short zones, (red arrows) or they could be in Man defense.

The 'Vol first priority....

From Video

The Vols’ first priority . . .

Oregon had three WRs at the bottom of the screen and the defender of the middle WR, (Huff) is focused on stopping the run as his eyes are locked on the mesh in the Duck backfield above.  Note how Hawkins (green dotted arrow above) is driving his safety very deep down the field and opening up the middle, as the safety on the other side is shallow and is also zeroed in to stopping De’Anthony up the middle.

It's over but for the screaming...

From Video

It’s over but for the screaming . . .

The mesh distracts the Tennessee DB a half second too long, as Josh Huff cuts to the inside and across an open field.  Here is another pass play where the patterns are designed to take advantage of the determination by the defense to stop Oregon’s running attack.  It only takes a moment of hesitation by the defense to free up our Wide Receivers!

Huff celebrates his TD

Craig Strobeck

Huff celebrates his TD.

Josh hauling in yet another touchdown for the Ducks got me to thinking about the differences between Chip and Mark Helfrich in our attack.  I always had the impression that Chip was stubborn in sticking to a game plan and that trait usually won games for us in the second half.  Yet I always wondered how flexible Coach Helfrich would be when faced with a formidable defensive line.

The players in the trenches for Tennessee were some of the biggest that I, and Oregon players, have ever seen; that one defensive tackle was a lean-and-mean 351 lbs?  If we had tried to stubbornly run Inside Zone Read plays all day — this game could have been completely different.  Instead this was the biggest passing day since BEFORE Chip’s time at Oregon?  It goes back to 2005, when Gary Crowton was the Offensive Coordinator, thus this flexibility, this balance of the offense where we truly take what the defense is giving us, is becoming a reality under Coaches Helfrich and Frost.

This is a significant new step for the Oregon offense, and I can’t wait for more of the season to confirm it!

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

Charles Fischer  (FishDuck)

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Announcements

*Watch for a joint OREGON/EAGLE Video Analysis next Tuesday!  For the bye week we have three analysts who are helping me look at the similarities and differences of the Oregon offense and the Philadelphia Offense.  This will be fun!

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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...

  • hokieduck

    Funny isn’t it, how the majority of SEC fans “ride” the preeminence of the conference as a whole when talking strength of schedule issues. But when one of their own gets totally *destroyed*, these same fans dismiss the loss because it was just one of the lower tier teams.

    Awesome win on Saturday. Regardless of the fact that UT has been down for a number of years, Butch Jones is a good coach and the trenches on that team are very intimidating. Oregon now boasts the same kind of quality depth that elite teams from across the country have. That is what is so different, dangerous and necessary to putting out a product that will compete for national titles.

    I hope that Tyner gets lots of reps these next two weeks. I think it is really necessary for him to step up into the rotation for the Ducks to continue to progress.

    My mantra for 2014. Go Ducks. Roll Tide. Pasadena Jan 6.

    • BrandonG

      Anyone else notice how the announcers were yapping about the SEC when the Ducks got behind in the first quarter but didn’t make a peep about the SEC after the Ducks got the Quack Attack going full speed?

      • hokieduck

        Totally! Actually, the Tennessee offensive line is made up of All SEC first team, second and third. I think it is one first teamer, and two and two second and thirds. May be preseason picks, not sure. And those announcers were wetting themselves over it.

        But you know, as far as I am concerned, the SEC deserves its accolades. You can’t exactly argue with 7 straight championships (even though the one loss teams are given the nod out of the SEC). This doesn’t mean I agree with the fans and punditry who are ridiculous, but until someone comes and knocks them off (Oregon, Pasadena, Roll Tide), then they deserve to be called the best.

        Go Ducks!

  • hokieduck

    Nice post, Charles. The passing game was inspired. Bralon, Huff, Lowe, Mundt, Bayliss. Scary. Truly scary.

    BTW, am I incorrect in thinking that Arik Armstead did not play on Saturday? Does anyone know what “circumstances” held him out, if he did not play? I am presuming stomach virus. Amazing, the Ducks can lose a guy like that and not miss a beat.

    • roma_victors

      I’d like to know the circumstances around Armistead and Dungy – did Dungy get in the game against the Vols?

      • hokieduck

        I don’t think Dungy has touched the field all year. Don’t know what the injury issue is.

        Any help with those queries, Fishduck?

        • FishDuck

          I did not see Dungy in the game, but could have sworn I saw Armstead using some superb technique in neutralizing a block. I might have been thinking of Virginia and will have to go back and look at the Tenn. game, although I don’t have the time right now.

  • BrandonG

    Huge improvement in the video this week Charles. The slower pace and excellent arrows made all the difference in the world! And it was great to learn about how Oregon forces opposing DB’s to be aggressive at the LOS, then takes advantage of that same aggressiveness to get big gains! Way to go!

  • doubleduck

    Could you break down the play v. UT when we set to snap the ball with 3:54 in the 3rd qtr. The entire O-line intentionally dives to the ground immediately after the snap. I get that it opens quick passing lanes, but it puts the QB in danger. Also, is there a potential wrinkle in future games where this might get used?

    • doubleduck

      upon further review, it’s a standard cut block concept. I guess I just thought they looked like they were flopping to the ground. There’s a 1st qtr play around 6:15 mark where the first stringers execute it better (albeit while giving up a sack).