The Counter Trey Arrives at Autzen

Coach Eric Boles Analysis

The wait was finally over. It was time to see what these Ducks had, after grinding through the rigors of the offseason under the command of new head coach Willie Taggart. Ducks football had arrived at Autzen, and so had the Counter Trey.

The Counter Trey is something we have touched on here at FishDuck, with Coach Morris leading us through the ins and outs of the play. We quickly found out Saturday night that the staple of Oregon’s run game would continue to be the Inside Zone. But, if the trend of the first game continues into the season, the Counter will be a big part of the offense. The Ducks used the play about 15 percent of the time when running the ball against Southern Utah.

The Counter Trey was lethal against Southern Utah!

Based on what he had done at the University of South Florida, we figured that the Counter Trey would be integrated into Taggart’s Oregon offense, but Saturday night we saw it in full effect. There was really nothing that Southern Utah could do to stop it. Honestly, the Thunderbirds weren’t able to do much to stop any facet of the Ducks’ offense.

The Counter Trey with Jet-Motion from the Slot.

Since we have already been through the scheme itself this offseason, the above diagram is a quick way to refresh ourselves.

Even though the play calls for the backside guard to kick out the last man on the line (LB above), the defender will not always stay in a position that allows him to be kicked out. If the defender crashes inside, the guard can pin him to the inside and the tight end will pull to the outside instead of the inside of the guard.

The video above shows the Counter Trey being run about as well as it can be. You can also see the level of stress that the jet motion puts on the defense. The motion of the slot freezes the defense just enough to make it easier for the offensive line to block for the Counter.

Above is another example of the play, with Royce Freeman picking up good yardage. This time, the defensive end crashes inside, prompting the guard to pull outside to the linebacker and the tight end to lead to the outside of the pulling guard.

The Quarterback Counter (Above) is another play that Coach Morris touched upon in his article, but it is such a cool wrinkle that I had to throw it in here. It is slightly different from the Counter Trey. Here the QB is the ball carrier, and the blocking has a small tweak. The backside guard still pulls to kick out, but instead of the tight end being the lead man, the backside tackle pulls and leads.

The Counter Trey is going to be a very effective play for Oregon’s offense this season. Not only does the motion from the slot help to open the Counter, but the running back’s first step in the counter makes it look as if he’s going to be the lead for the slot in a Jet Sweep. If the defense starts overcommitting to the Counter, then calling a Jet Sweep can gain a lot of yards.

We also saw how effective it was when Justin Herbert ran a play action pass that was made to look like this play. That is a lot for a defense to think about.

This offense is already a whole lot of fun, after just one game …

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, Ohio

Top Photo from Video

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