It has been an exciting ride ever since Oregon hired Coach Willie Taggart back in December. We’ve seen Coach Taggart put together a top notch coaching staff, and then upgrade it, pull a top 20 recruiting class with only a month on the trail, and install awesome offensive and defensive schemes.
Today we’re going to focus on another play that coach Taggart will be bringing from his Gulf Coast Offense to his Pacific Coast Offense at Oregon. During his time at the University of South Florida, he used a Quarterback Power play with a wide receiver Screen attached to the backside. And of course, the part that peaks my interest is that it is another read play.
Taggart most often utilizes this play out of an Empty Set, which is a formation that is five receivers wide. Simply put, the quarterback’s job is to read the backside outside linebacker and determine whether he is going to run the Power or throw the Now Screen to the other side. This really puts the outside linebacker in a bind and makes it easier for the quarterback to see if he has the numbers in the box (Having numbers in the box means that the offense has enough blockers to block defenders from end to end on the OL and about 5 yards deep).
At the snap of the ball, the offensive line is going to run a power blocking scheme (Above). The unique thing about this scheme is that because of the absence of a tight end or H-back to kick out the defensive end, the blocking is tweaked just a tad. The assignments of the offensive line are illustrated by the red arrows in the diagram above. The playside of the offensive line is going to block whoever is lined up over them. The center and backside guard are going to down block while the backside tackle pulls around through the playside A-gap.
Upon receiving the ball, the quarterback is going to read the backside linebacker. If the linebacker strafes outside or covers the flat, the quarterback is going to go ahead and run the Power. If the linebacker decides to fill the box to support against the run, the quarterback is going to zip the ball out to the perimeter for a WR Screen.
As you can see in the picture above, the outside linebacker (circled in blue) is so far outside of the box that he is truly in No Man’s Land. No matter what he does, he will always make the wrong choice. Being wide like he is leaves the box even. If he slides inside, the blocking for the WR Screen will be one on one. There really is no good choice for the linebacker.
In the video above, the USF offense has the numbers in the box, as the outside linebacker is out wide covering the slot. This makes the read incredibly easy for Quinton Flowers and he cruises about 10 yards for the touchdown.
Not only does the above video show the WR Screen option being executed, but it also shows a variation of the play that Taggart employs. In this variation of the play, if the quarterback decides that the Power is the best option, he’ll hand it off to the running back and the back will carry out the play.
The play is really just that simple. The read is easy for the quarterback and results can be devastating. It’ll be neat to see how Coach Taggart implements this play with the Ducks. Justin Herbert has the athletic ability, but as previously seen in this article, we could always use Royce Freeman’s running ability to execute the play.
It is about to be a very exciting season in Eugene!
Coach Eric Boles