The Mario Cristobal/Marcus Arroyo Offense: The Mills Concept

One of the strongest passing plays in the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ playbook during Marcus Arroyo’s time in Stillwater, and one that is still persistent in the offense today, is the post/dig concept. Post/dig is really just the explanatory title for the Mills Concept.

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The Mills Concept

Any time that an offense pairs a post route with a dig route, this is known as a Mills Concept, which is illustrated in the diagram above. As you can see, the right side of the Cowboys offense is deploying the post/dig combo. This concept is a high/low read, meaning that the quarterback’s decision is based off of the action of one defender; that action being whether he takes the high route (post) or the low route (dig).

The Mills Concept is usually paired with a drag or shallow route coming from the opposite side of the formation. The progression of this concept is the post, to the dig, to the drag. The first read for the QB is the near safety. If he bites on an underneath route (the dig), the QB has the post open for some devastating yardage. If the safety takes the post, the dig is the next option. At this point, the near linebacker is the next read. If he drops to the dig, the shallow/drag is available. If he bites on the shallow, the dig should be open.

The safety in the video above bites hard on the dig route and is punished for his quick reaction with a touchdown. As you can see, this concept is especially dangerous against quarters coverage. You could argue that all levels of the Mills Concept were open here, but the post will always be the money shot if it is available.

Above is another example of the Mills Concept from Oklahoma State. The safety again bites on the dig, giving the Cowboys QB a shot to the endzone. The amount of stress that this play puts on the safety is a thing of beauty.

The Mills Concept is something that the Oklahoma State offense has had great success with, and is a tool that Arroyo surely picked up in his time with the program. This is a play that a QB like Justin Herbert could pick apart a defense with. My gut tells me that that we will see a lot of this in Autzen Stadium this coming season.

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, Ohio

Top Photo Credit: 247sports.com

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