Taggart brings an Ultimate POWER/MISDIRECTION Play Package to Oregon

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Analysis, Fish Reports, Understanding the Willie Taggart Oregon Spread Offense

The Oregon fans that watched the South Florida Bowl game (another 47 points scored) could not help but see how USF liked to run their quarterback a ton. This is a major decision that Coach Taggart has here at Oregon. It was the subject yesterday of a wonderfully informative and thought provoking article from our own Grizzled Ol’ Coach, Mike Morris.

Coach Taggart said that he did not want to lose the “Power” components of the Stanford offense, but he found that by putting the QB in the shotgun and running a slot in motion, this deception helped the Power game. Further, the fewer number of blockers did not hurt his new shotgun Power plays due to the confusion resulting from all the misdirection and motion.

A disadvantage of a “Power” offense is that it is predictable.  A defense wants to be aggressive and run downhill to the football with easy assignments and few decisions. What the Taggart staff will want to do at Oregon is plant seeds of confusion and create conflict in opposing defensive assignments through misdirection, as he did with the Bulls.

Our beloved GOC found a series of plays coming from the same initial jet sweep motion, which we will call the “Jet Sweep Series.” Some coaches will call it a “Fly Sweep,” (Oregon State, for one) but that motion is parallel to the LOS, while the Jet Sweep in deeper for a shotgun handoff.

We have chronicled quite a few plays that comprise this play series, but let’s take a quick look at the foundational three plays for us to watch for this spring. My friends….this is an easy ten minute read, so let’s Learn More Football!

Note the formation, as it is the same for all the plays.

To cut down the number of screenshots, look at the slot receiver above. He is the “Jet” player who initiates the basic motion action the USF offense runs. Also note the quarterback, next to the running back to the right of him, and the tight end, or H-Back, as some coaches prefer to call it.

We need little explanation to the foundation play above, which is a simple handoff to the “Jet” sweeping past the quarterback. With a speed back such as Charles Nelson, or in the past, De’Anthony Thomas, it can be a lethal play that stretches the defense horizontally.

This is how “Smashmouth” can be beautiful…

The second foundation play in this series above is the Counter play, a play that I have lusted for within the Oregon offense for years, and delivered to me in a cosmic irony as the primary play that Ohio State beat Oregon with in the National Championship Game (Superb analysis link here).

You’ll see a fake Jet Sweep to the right above, and pulling right guard and tight end/H-Back leading the way to the left side for the RB. This gets five yards, but is often a big play when the offense gets favorable hat-on-hat blocking.

Look at how open the QB (above) is after handing off … and how the QB could follow the WR, who would serve as a lead blocker if the quarterback kept it (remember this)!

The misdirection creates running lanes!

Boy the threats to the defense above are so many! You see the Jet Sweep challenge to the left side of the defense, along with a pulling guard and tackle to attack the right side of the defense with a Counter play. Note how the running back and tight end (above) are in different assignments than prior plays!

The multi-attack play keeps the defense locked into their spots.

In the screenshot above, the quarterback (No. 9) pulls the ball and kept it! This is the third foundational play of the Jet Sweep Series, as we see the tight end taking aim on the outside linebacker as the running back blocks a defensive back/end to open the running lane for the QB. Note also the safety is playing deep to figure out what-the-hell is going on, and the yellow arrows show defenders stuck out of the play due to the Counter play threats to their side.

As Coach Morris stated yesterday … this is not plunging Justin Herbert into the line of scrimmage willy-nilly; these are occasional QB runs that have bigger lanes created due to misdirection. The known threat of the quarterback running then in turn opens up the other foundational plays that much more. This is not 20 carries a game for the Oregon quarterback, but 5-6-7 of these can create opportunities in the running game and the play-action passing game (we’ll get to that later!).

Oregon has done variations of this before, but just as Chip Kelly created a fundamental offense off a couple of plays, so did Willie Taggart with his Jet Sweep Series, and we intend to learn more over the coming months.

“Oh how we love to learn more college football!”

Charles Fischer   (FishDuck)
College Football Analyst for FishDuck.com
Eugene, Oregon

Top Photo from Video

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