Coach Joe Moorhead’s Switch Concept

Coach Eric Boles Analysis

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.

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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