Opponent Analysis: Arizona Sets Template For Oregon To Vaporize Trojans

The Moshofsky Center has an interesting reputation for featuring unique music to go along with Football practice, as the music selection has varied from the Lion King, to Wiz Khalifa, to Nicki Minaj and even the viral hit Gangnam Style. While those songs probably kept the players loose as they went through their drills, some songs serve more important purposes. This week, the “Mo” was blaring that disgusting five-note song to prepare the Ducks to hear it about 732 times on Saturday.

Barner and Co. look to slash through an undisciplined Trojan Defense

While I doubt it made the final playlist, “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun would be the perfect song to play while they were going over the Arizona-USC film beacuse anything Cats can do, Ducks can do better.

The template Arizona set was simple, as it involved both Rodriguez’s and Kelly’s wheelhouse in series, or countering plays. It’s the oldest trick in the book, run one play until the defense can stop it. Then, run a play that looks to be the same as before, where in reality, the ball is going the opposite direction.

Last week, Oregon ran a play out of the double stack formation that used both the inside zone concept, as well as the triple option concept.

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Arizona ran the same exact play on USC for big yardage.

The Arizona Quarterback, Scott, will be reading the closest defensive end, circled in purple, first (yes, there are two reads on this play). The slot receiver, indicated by the yellow arrow, will loop out behind the flanker to become the triple-option pitch man.

The Southern Cal defensive end crashes in, and Scott decides to pull the ball. At the 20-yard line, the USC defender shows that he will play man coverage on his receiver, but keeps his eyes on the backfield to support the run. Even before Scott shows that he will pull the ball, the defender is already strung out between two different things going on at once.

When Scott pulls the ball, he rolls out as if he were going to run the ball. In the frame above, Scott is lifting his arm just as the defender in the yellow circle commits to Scott on the run. The defensive end makes a great athletic play and recovers fast enough to pressure Scott, but his efforts are too late.

In this shot, the USC corner loses his entire man responsibility and crashes down to stop the QB run. Problem is, he’s too late, as Scott has already thrown the ball to his slot receiver that looped around the flanker to start the play. The flanker, now closer to the middle of the field, has his block lined up on the safety that crashed down to defend the play. Number 29 has the ball in his hands and just needs to make one move to get big yardage.

The receiver embarrasses the So. Cal. defender, and is off to the races. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it all the way into the endzone, but did pick up 56 yards on the play.

With Oregon, that play goes all the way.

Later in the game, Rodriguez breaks out a similar play: the inside zone with a hitch threat. Scott is reading the top defensive end, indicated by the yellow circle. Should the defender crash like last time, Scott can pull the ball and run, or dump it off to his receiver. With the long catch and run fresh in the defender’s mind, he’ll try his luck with the running back instead.

The defender in the yellow circle stays home, but all three defensive backs crash towards the wide receiver when he flashes his hands towards the quarterback.

The Arizona running back cuts to the back side of the zone wall, and runs down the backside of the defense, all because the Trojan secondary was so concerned with covering the wide receiver that beat them on the same play just a few minutes before. Arizona ended up earning about ten yards on this carry.

With Oregon, that play has a chance to go all the way.

While it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Oregon run these plays on Saturday, I’d bet on the fact that Oregon would use its more straightforward concepts, like the inside zone, or sweep read to set up the exterior options, as opposed to the other way around (as Arizona did). As was the case last year, if Oregon executes like they have all year, they can put up fifty-plus points on the Trojans.

While USC will be hyped up for this game, their poor discipline will not disappear overnight, and the Ducks should be able to handle their business with few snags if they just execute from the get-go.


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