Joe Moorhead’s Portland Concept

Coach Eric Boles Analysis

In one of his first interviews as Oregon’s new offensive coordinator, Coach Joe Moorhead touched on some of the similarities between his and the 2019 Ducks’ run game. He also mentioned that the most obvious differences in scheme would be in the passing game.

The new Ducks air attack will be rooted in the West Coast pass concepts that Coach Moorhead has favored throughout his career. This is an offense that often utilizes all five eligible receivers; very similar to what Coach Joe Brady, a Coach Moorhead pupil, did with the LSU Tigers last season.

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Joe Moorhead’s Portland Concept

Today, we’re taking a look at the Portland concept (above). This play actually combines the Portland concept and the smash concept, with the added bonus of a wheel route out of the backfield.

The Portland portion of this concept is what is taking place between the outside receiver to the right of the formation and the slot receiver to the left. In this concept, the outside receiver runs a post route while the slot executes a crossing route. The QB’s first look is deep to the post. If that’s taken away, the crossing route is the next option.

The smash concept happens between the outside receiver and tight end to the left of the formation. Being a high/low concept, the quarterback reads the corner at the snap. If he falls back into coverage, the hitch route by the outside receiver will be open. Should he come down to take away the hitch route, the QB will go to the tight end on the corner route.

The outside receiver to the right of the formation works to get an inside release, meaning that he’s going to come off of the line and work to the inside of the cornerback. This allows the running back to run his wheel route without the cornerback and WR getting in his way.

The tight end to the other side works to get an outside release against his defender. Not only does this aid him in running his corner route, but he also gets in the way of the defender covering the slot, creating a natural rub.

In the film above, the defense has decided to run a single high safety concept with man coverage underneath. They do a pretty good job taking away most of the routes, but the tight end’s route impedes the slot defender, allowing the crossing route to come open. The QB decides to trust his back, seeing that the safety help is preoccupied with the post, and throws him open on the wheel.

Not only does the play combine two effective passing concepts, but the wheel route adds an extra irritation for a defense playing man coverage.

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, Ohio
Top Photo Credit: Eugene Johnson

Phil Anderson, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.


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