Coach Joe Moorhead’s Switch Concept

Coach Eric Boles Analysis 28 Comments

We touched on the idea a couple times this offseason that the biggest difference between the 2019 Ducks offense and the one to come in 2020 will be by way of the passing game. It’s no secret that Coach Joe Moorhead likes to push the ball vertically downfield, as evident in his fade smash concept that we covered a couple weeks ago. This week we’re taking a look at another concept that Coach Moorhead uses to attack defenses deep: the switch concept.

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Coach Joe Moorhead’s Switch Concept

The switch concept is rooted in the Run n’ Shoot offense, and its goal is to get defenders off of their assignments by crossing them up in a kind of natural rub. This is accomplished by the inside receiver and the outside receiver beginning their routes by crossing each other and switching places. Above, the concept is being carried out by the wide receiver running a post route and the tight end running a wheel route. The reduced/tight alignment of the receivers makes it easier to accomplish the switch.

What the quarterback is looking for pre-snap and post-snap is the position of the safeties. I particularly think that the switch concept is more effective against two high safeties. If the defense is in a two high safety look, the QB will read how the closer safety plays. If the WR beats the safety to the inside, the QB is going to want to take that. If the safety doesn’t give up the inside to the WR, the QB’s next glance is to see if the TE has beaten his coverage over the top.

In Coach Moorhead’s play motion-diagrammed above, the receivers to the opposite side of the switch are running what is called a smash concept. In this concept, the outside receiver runs a hitch, while the slot runs a corner route. This concept involves a high/low read on the corner, but it has a secondary use of occupying the safety opposite of the switch concept. The corner route being run by the slot pulls the safety away from the switch.

In the clip above, you can see that the receiver running the post beats the safety to the inside. If the QB throws the ball just a little more out in front, the WR has more open field and a possible path to the endzone. This clip also shows the slot receiver on the left running a corner route and pulling the second safety away from the switch.

The switch concept is another example of how explosive Coach Moorhead’s passing game is going to be for the Oregon Ducks this season.

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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As someone that never played football but absolutely loves watching it, articles like these help a ton. I’ve pretty much played baseball my whole life, so I imagine you describing little details like this equates to the same as me describing the little intricacies of baseball to my friends. Either way, thanks for the help coach!


I just saw a tweet from Rob Moseley that Rob Mullens and his counterpart @ Ohio State, Gene Smith, have opened the discussion on options of rescheduling the home game for Oregon.


Would love to be in the room for that discussion, however I’m sure we’ll hear the end result of it.


The problem of course is the nature of football schedules. If pretty much every team would agree to just push their non-con schedule’s to next season, Washington @ Michigan, Ohio State @ Oregon, and just play from there it would work. But, that won’t happen, so finding a spot for Ohio State @ Oregon in anything resembling a near future will be tricky. In 2022, how about Oregon switches out Eastern Washington for the home game with Ohio State? Sounds great, except that would mean the season opening with Oregon @ Georgia in a “neutral” game in Atlanta and then Ohio State @ Oregon? I don’t think Jon Joseph’s scheduling algorithm would support that.

Mike West

Whew. I wouldn’t want to be EWU. And I’m elitist. They need help too.

I hope there is a plan for even going down to just Division play only.

But I hope all those less talented kids don’t lose an opportunity to earn an education playing games they loved as children.

Tough decisions ahead.

David Marsh

One of the biggest problems in the entire college football ecosystem in terms of revenue is how so many FCS and group of 5 programs depend on the revenue from power 5 teams that schedule a butt kicking with the lower team. Those payouts pay for pretty much all their other athletics.

This goes beyond just the pandemic … Which will immediately hit those in financial need the hardest… But there are always calls and desires to create more competitive schedules that exclude FCS teams.

A whole other set of problems to contemplate…


With the problems in Arizona (where, among other things, lack of health care capacity is already causing excess mortality) I’m not sure that, unless matters improve markedly, Southern Division PAC 12 play would be approved. At least not in full.


Awesome explanation as always 👍 Thanks, coach.

David Marsh

BIG10 is only doing in conference fall sports by the look of it … No Oregon v Ohio State…

More importantly this is the precursor to a cancelled fall football season. Probably will be spring football if we get a season at all.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

One theory floated by our webmaster is how, (due to contract penalties) the season is not cancelled, but the decision keeps getting delayed until we realize in December that it is not going to happen.

One ESPN analyst felt that a spring football schedule is a no-go due to; 1) it would conflict with the NFL Combine and Draft and any juniors or seniors with NFL aspirations will not play a spring schedule and risk injury, 2) the injury and damage to the bodies of two full football seasons in just eight months is more than many players will want to risk, and 3) COVID risk. Just not worth any damage to the body if there is NFL potential…

And others feel that if there is no football, then all the sports would be cancelled for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Not what I want to hear, but it is good to be aware of as a possibility.

My question now is why ever have sports again? Since Covid is akin to HIV in terms of how it infects, there never will be a time anybody escapes this. Ultimately, if you go in public, you face a very high risk of getting infected.

Since at present, there is no vaccine for HIV, not SARS, MERS, and Ebola (the other characteristics of this virus), thus we all risk a permanent path to massive infections. It took 40 years to find a treatment for HIV. How long, and how expensive will it be to find a treatment, and what will it cost?

This is the rabbit hole of rabbit holes.

Anybody want to guess what life will be like from here on out?

So again, what’s the point of sports at this point?

We all must face the reality this virus is the game changer of game changers, and this isn’t a new normal. There’s no longer is a normal.

How are we going to live as a society now?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Look, I know I came on as the ultimate Eeyore, but I am still trying to process all the possibilities as both a fan and a website owner/publisher. All of your questions are the same as ours…and we don’t know.

Eeyore would say, “even if I had an answer for the football season….the goalposts would be changed before long!”


You ask “How are we going to live as a society now?” – the same way we lived after the “Black Plague”. Not easy but this to shall pass my friend, a vaccine will be found and life will go on, and so will football. As for you and I being around to see it – thats another question.

Mike West

Thanks BDF.

We graybeards are in the crosshairs. Our lives have been impacted, and we can see it plain and simple. It sure would be nice to see sports again.


Oh boy. My dad loves the Ducks. Obviously he was around for the hard times and then Chip showed up, the basketball teams are winning. Softball! He’s 84 now. The Ducks were around the top everywhere when sports stopped. As the Jerry Reed song goes, “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there”.


An Ebola vaccine was approved by the FDA in December 2019:

And a MERS vaccine is in Phase 1b human trials. The results thus far look quite promising.

Mike West

I hope you’re inferring these two wonder drugs will immediately apply to Covid.

Because it took 40 years to create an HIV treatment, and just 20 for these two above.

How long do clinical trials last these days?

They better be putting those super computers to work, because I’m pretty ticked right now.


Fair enough: I’m only noting that there are immunizations for Filoviridae (Ebola strains) and -in the works, for Conona strains.

They all belong to a class of things {a bigger ‘box”} known as emerging pathogens -which we have seen before in sports contexts (think: Zika) and which we’ll see more of as time goes by.

What’s so cool about this site is it’s focus on analysis. X’s and O’s. This in turn reflects what’s so excellent about the University of Oregon. I may not so keen at football analysis- but I love the Ducks and know where to go to find the best of it

Whether family and friends on the other side of the world (Australia) appreciate it… may be an open question. :o

  • Moving back to the PAC 12 and other concerns. To answer your question, Mike- clinical trials can take a bit of time, although it depends on the resources and amount of… sharing among researchers. Polio would be a good example. I’m too young to remember the March of Dimes- but it was an effective campaign. We don’t need meteorological super computers- we just need buy in, as we sometimes say here about a new coach’s system

** I’m hoping that we can have a PAC 12 season- and I think we can do that responsibly- although what it looks like: and how the Rose Bowl kinda thing goes will need to be flexible.

Jon Joseph

Thanks Coach, great stuff.

Today, the Ivy league canceled all fall sports; the schedules may be played in the spring?

No athletic scholarships in the Ivy league so it isn’t apples to apples. But will P5 university prez and administrators be willing to take the risk of playing when other schools are not willing to do so?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yep. I posted about the Ivy League yesterday in the comments.

Being logical…how much COVID risk is really being reduced by eliminating the non-conference games? Oregon is one of the safest states to travel to-right? The other two non-conference games for the Buckeyes is at home versus Bowling Green and Buffalo.

IMHO, these are graduated steps they are taking us fans through to an inevitable result…


Yes, I think other P5 schools will take the risk of playing when some other schools are not willing because at the end of the season the playoffs will still happen and a National Champion will be crowned. “Too bad some schools didn’t participate”.

Not saying thats right.

With the decision to play or not to play being put off as long as it can, I can see the decision when the time comes to be “cancel the non conference games and delay the decision another 3 weeks”.

Yep, and there goes a big game at Autzen. (Although I have doubts about a season at all right now)

Cal has announced 47 new COVID cases among students…not good.

As I noted above, the Ivy League has canceled the playing of all fall sports.

Ohio State has sent all the athletes working out on campus, home.


Cool Play! also Number 72 the center did a horrible job in the clip you showed. but it is a cool play nonetheless.

You make it easy to learn, coach, thanks!

Santa Rosa Duck

A new article from Coach Boles! This means I have to turn off the news, put on my glasses and actually read the article rather than scan. Lots here that I do not understand like what is a “high” safety? but I enjoy these and am hopefully getting smarter. Thank you.


Thanks ,coach. It’s always fascinating to get an insight in to how much is going on in the 3-4 seconds a quarterback has to make his read, how valuable a really good, “route running” receiver, Alabama’s, Jerry Jeudy, is. With the talent in the Ducks’ WR corps and Morehead’s schemes, you’re right.There is no limit to Oregon’s passing game this season


Thanks coach, great information for us fans to look for under Joe Moorhead’s offensive.