The Oregon Offense: Adding Firepower to the Playbook

Coach Eric Boles Analysis

Throughout a long off-season, I often find myself thinking of different plays I’d like to see added to a team’s playbook. Today I want to follow up on my last article with three new plays that I would love to see included in the Oregon Duck offense in 2019. Do I expect these exact plays to be added in the spring? Not really, but it’s still fun to ponder!

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G-Down Scheme

The first of these plays is a scheme known as G-Down. It’s a run play that gets the running back to the outside, using a pulling guard to open up a nice lane. The scheme originates out of the old-school Wing-T offense. The design is simple but effective.

The first thing to notice in the diagram above is that the center and everyone to his left are zone blocking to the right. Usually, one of the three are going to be able to get the second level and cut-off the pursuit of a backside linebacker. The tackle and tight end to the play-side (in this case, the right) will each down block, allowing the play-side guard to pull and lead the back outside.

Above, we see an example of the G-Down scheme in live action, this time to the left. Notice how the two key blocks are the center getting to the second level on a linebacker, and the pulling guard getting out on the edge. This sets up a nice lane for the RB to pick up very good yardage.

In our second look, we see the Memphis Tigers use the G-Down scheme for a big play. The Tigers use their TE a little differently here, as he releases downfield to get a second level block with the RB trailing behind him.

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Inverted Veer Speed Option w/ Shovel Pass

The next play I want to highlight is another example of where I’ve taken two plays and mixed them together. I’ve done this again in an attempt to create option plays that keep quarterback Justin Herbert upright. This one is an Inverted Veer Speed Option, which I’ve only seen two teams run in college football, combined with a Shovel to the TE.

As shown above, the QB is going to read the last defender on the line to the play-side. If the defender stays wide, the QB is going to Shovel the ball inside to the TE, who follows the pulling guard on what essentially becomes a hybrid Power play.

If the defender crashes inside, the QB hands the ball off to the WR on the jet motion. This is where an extra layer of option comes in. The RB gets himself into pitch relationship with the WR, becoming a viable third option on the pitch.

Above is the first time I had ever seen the play run. The Nebraska Cornhuskers completely catch the Michigan Wolverines off-guard for a walk-in touchdown. I think it’s safe to say that the Wolverines weren’t expecting that at all. The only thing missing in this original is the Shovel option to the TE.

In this next example, the Baylor Bears run the same play against the Washington Huskies for a nice pickup and a first down.

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WR Screen w/Speed Option

The final play on this list is a play that I literally searched for over a year to find. It’s a play I remembered Baylor running some time ago, but could not locate until last week. It is simply a WR Screen with a Speed Option attached, but it is SO cool.

To start, the QB simply fires the ball out to the second inside receiver on a Now Screen. While this is going on, the most inside receiver will wrap around and get into pitch relationship. The outside receiver will crack back against the defender right over the screen, creating a lane to the outside for the Speed Option portion of the play.

I only have one example of this play, as I’ve only ever seen it run once. But you can clearly see how it catches the defense off guard, both the defender getting crack-blocked and the defender getting read on the option. This is an extremely creative play.

There you have it, folks: three plays I would love to see Oregon add to the playbook. What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments section below.

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, Ohio Top Photo by Kevin Cline


Spencer Thomas, the Volunteer Editor for this article, is an attorney for the Social Security Administration in Atlanta, Georgia, and coaches High School Football for Hillgrove HS in Powder Springs, GA.


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