Though the Oregon offense didn’t always fire on all cylinders this season, there were moments that showed us that Coach Marcus Arroyo can be a pretty creative offensive coordinator. The question remains, can he continue to evolve both as a play caller and in scheme? The final two games of the season showed movement in that direction, and the Red Box Bowl will answer additional questions.
For now, let’s take a look at three of Coach Arroyo’s more creative calls this season.
The first play on our list is an All Verts concept out of a Split Back formation.
The All Verts concept (above) is exactly how it sounds. All, or the majority, of the routes are vertical routes. In this play, the tight end is going to occupy the safety with a crossing route while the wide receiver out of the backfield replaces him up the seam.
In this situation, Arroyo has used Jaylon Redd out of the backfield. This makes the defender responsible for Redd a linebacker. This is a definite mismatch and Redd gets over top of him easily.
The next play that we’re going to take a look at look at is a type of End Around that the Ducks ran against the Stanford Cardinal. We probably don’t remember the play as well as we remember that it taught us the pylon is considered out of bounds. Nonetheless, it was drawn up pretty nicely.
The idea is to get the defense flowing in one direction with the zone blocking and fake handoff to the RB, just before pitching the ball to the orbiting WR going the other direction. What is usually a slice block by the TE on Inside Zone turns, beautifully, into a lead for the receiver.
This was yet another example of how electrifying Redd can be. Perhaps finding a way to get Redd the ball in a variety of ways would be even more beneficial than what they’ve done to get Dillon Mitchell the ball.
Finally, I want to take a look at a constraint play that the Ducks ran against the Portland State Vikings. This is a constraint that’s based around one of Arroyo’s favorite Pistol runs, the Stretch.
The Stretch Tunnel Screen starts off looking just like Oregon’s favored Outside Zone before the backside linemen quickly peel back. QB Justin Herbert pivots out of the fake and fires the ball to the Tunnel Screen developing behind him.
The play didn’t go for much in this situation, and I’m not sure I saw it again the rest of the season, but I do think that it’s a cool design that lends itself well to one of Oregon’s base plays.
Though I wasn’t always the biggest fan of how the offense was operating this season, there were bright spots. I was especially let down by how the Pistol was being used. After defending the decision to base our offense out of the formation, I was hit with one of the most bland rushing attacks I’ve seen. Perhaps I’m being too hyperbolic, but I never got a feel that we reached the Pistol’s full potential, based purely on what I know.
Despite inefficiencies throughout the season, the above plays certainly highlight that Arroyo is a bright mind. The question we now go into the bowl game with is whether or not the offense can have more consistent explosiveness. I’m pulling for Coach Arroyo to continue to evolve this offense, because at the end of the day, that’s all we really want.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Kevin Cline
(An article about the bowl game by Mr. FishDuck will be published early Monday morning; comment there about the game often!)
Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.
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