Big Touchdown: “Ignoring Throck on the Combo-Block Is a CROCK”

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Analysis

Analyzing all the tiny details that led to a Pac-12 Championship will be great fun for the analysts of over the next six months, and certainly … you can assume that yours-truly has an abundance of commentary to offer. There were so many big plays versus Utah, but whenever the sportscasters make an egregious mistake or omission concerning one — I have to step up. There have actually been quite a few this season, but when Kirk Herbstreit goes out of his way to make an incorrect point — and the video editing is done to omit evidence to a contrary conclusion — then I have to stand up for Calvin Throckmorton.

Whether it is Chip Kelly referring to combo-blocking as a “bust block,” or Mario Cristobal having his offensive linemen “chip” the nearest defensive lineman and then move to blocking the linebackers — the concepts are the same. It is common in Zone Blocking at all levels of football that two offensive linemen will “double team” a defensive lineman and once the primary offensive lineman has the opposing defensive lineman under control, the second offensive lineman will peel off and block the linebacker.

This way you have “hat-on-hat” and no defenders in the area are free to easily make the tackle of the running back. You will see this type of double team on nearly every running play, yet somehow it was ignored in the following play …

Above is the beginning of a key play in the game, with CJ Verdell running for a nearly 70 yard touchdown out of the Pistol — a game changer!

Calvin Throckmorton is the right tackle …

Above we have the formation before the snap; note how Utah had eight defenders in the box, and yet the Ducks ran for a touchdown, regardless. Note the center Jake Hanson (No. 55). To the right of him is right guard Dallas Warmack (No. 75), and the right tackle is Calvin Throckmorton. (No. 54)

It was NOT a solo man-on-man block by Warmack; it was a DOUBLE TEAM with Throckmorton.

Note that in the above screenshot, both Warmack and Throckmorton take on the big defensive tackle in a typical double-team block. Watch for this in the video below and watch what happens after Throckmorton makes contact …

Above you see Dallas Warmack (No. 75) do a superb job of standing up the Utah defensive tackle and beginning to drive him, while Calvin Throckmorton (No. 54) explodes his hips into the double team. That extra bit of power and leverage from another angle is enough (when combined with Warmack’s strength) to send the big Ute toppling … This article is not to diminish the efforts of Warmack at all, as without his primary block — none of this happens. Yet I felt that Throck’s contributions are what generated the final result that Herbstreit raised a fuss about.

The video above also illustrates how so many different things need to work well and how everyone has to do their job completely for such a big play to occur.  The entire left side of the Oregon offensive line keeps their defenders at bay, while Juwan Johnson delivers a delicious block on the DE/OLB assigned to Justin Herbert. Note the safety coming across in back who was following Johnson … thus he was taken out of the play and was unable to stop CJ Verdell from his back-breaking run. (Great play design!)

Finally, we must note how Verdell did his job too; he made one man miss. Verdell has become more conscious of protecting his legs from tackles, and his right arm and quick cut helped to make six points happen. I could watch this play all day!

“Oh how we love to learn about our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer    (FishDuck)                   
Eugene, Oregon                                                                                                                                                                        Top Photo by Craig Strobeck


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