Oregon Football: Is Joe Moorhead Adding the New GoGo Offense?

Charles Fischer Analysis 60 Comments

Oregon fans have heard much this off-season about the innovative, up-tempo Run-Pass-Option (RPO) offense new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead ran at Fordham (picture above),  Penn State and Mississippi State. Yet I believe there is a possibility of even more innovation by Coach Moorhead this season in the form of the GoGo Offense, an entirely new offense that correlates with the objectives of Head Coach Mario Cristobal and Coach Moorhead.

What is the GoGo Offense?

The GoGo is a No-Huddle-Up-Tempo offense that aligns two running backs in the backfield side-by-side to one side of the quarterback. The running backs take off from this initial set in multiple ways to create favorable match-ups and open lanes conducive to a power running game. This set can be used to run ISO-type plays, with one of the running backs operating like a traditional lead fullback, or it can assign the outside running to lead-block a Speed Double-Option as we saw in the days of the Wishbone.

The GoGo often motions a slot receiver into the backfield, creating an enormous amount of action for defenders to keep track of and react to in milliseconds. Add the fatigue component of the up-tempo, and the GoGo becomes very good at inducing mistakes by the defense, leading to explosion plays by the offense.

From YouTube

The running backs are aligned next to the quarterback in this formation.

To counter the offensive firepower of the GoGo backfield, defenses will typically add an extra linebacker to the box to stop the power running plays, placing the wide receivers in favorable one-on-one pairings with corners and safeties. For teams that have the height, speed and athleticism at WR positions, this becomes a passing game coordinator’s dream. One receiver at Howard University averaged over 27 yards a catch due to these attractive match-ups!

The originator of this offense, Brennan Marion, was the offensive coordinator at Howard University when the biggest upset in the history of college football occurred as the Bison (a 45.5-point underdog) beat UNLV in Las Vegas in 2017, 43-40. If undersized players three time zones from home can achieve this, imagine what high-end FBS talent could generate within this offense?

Coach Marion went on to become the offensive coordinator at William & Mary when they also exploded in scoring, and he is now the wide receivers coach at the University of Hawaii under former ASU coach Todd Graham. Coach Marion’s story is extraordinary as he was a receiver in the NFL and played for Gus Malzahn at Tulsa.

From YouTube

The quarterback (No. 12) is in the Shotgun with the running backs beside him.

From an analysis standpoint, there is a ton to learn about the quarterback run-options, the RPOs and the passing game and much to ponder as to whether, how, and how much the GoGo might be used at Oregon. However, I will leave the x’s and o’s for Coach Jeremy Mosier and Coach Eric Boles over the next two days, as their articles will give you more information about the unique components of the GoGo offense (note it is GoGo, and not Go-Go, and this comes from Coach Brennan Marion).

In short, you will need to see more to understand, and you will receive more information over the next two days. But the objectives of the GoGo offense were succinctly stated in a podcast interview when Coach Marion was the offensive coordinator at Howard University as he explained….

“We want to run the ball. We will line up in a lot of different formations and play smash-mouth, physical, right-at-you football. We emphasize two running backs and are a power-running team. We run our plays quickly with a very fast tempo and the defense cannot tee-off on one thing because there is so much going on the backfield.

From Twitter

Coach Brennan Marion

Operating the GoGo requires a running quarterback, which may explain why Anthony Brown was brought in as a transfer? Certainly, Tyler Shough has shown speed equal to or superior to Justin Herbert, thus another dovetail in terms of personnel. OC Joe Moorhead is known to emphasize a running quarterback in his prior RPO offenses, thus another philosophical aspect that points to the GoGo offense aligning with Oregon’s current offensive coordinator.

Is the GoGo the Next Big Thing?

Just as Chip Kelly/Mark Helfrich stormed the conference with an up-tempo, Zone-Read Spread Offense, it is not a stretch to think that the GoGo could give the Ducks a leg-up on the Huskies and other Pac-12 opponents. It could also help offset the inexperience of Oregon’s five new offensive linemen and quarterback in 2020, while enabling the offense to score scads of points to complement the Duck Defense. This could become the new “thing” of college football.

Do not be surprised to see parts of the GoGo Offense this fall with a number of college teams, such as Coach Marion’s Hawaii Rainbows. Plays in the GoGo were run last year by Ole Miss and Oklahoma, although they had not yet installed the full offense. NFL teams have been gathering information on it, although the Bears and Cardinals did run plays out of the GoGo in 2019.

From YouTube

Above is another formation variation as the two running backs are offset a stride and forward of the quarterback.

Where is This Coming from Mr. FishDuck?

I do not know for certain that Oregon is implementing it this fall, as this is not like 2010 when I announced Oregon’s new 3-4 defense and had it confirmed by defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. It created quite a buzz online that summer until Coach Kelly finally admitted to the Oregon media in August of that season that, yes, the Ducks had moved to a new 3-4 defense, a fact that had gone undetected by the entire Oregon Media prior to my announcement.

This is also not like the 50 (that’s right, fifty) Oregon Spread Offense Instructional videos I created in 2011-2012 that have been viewed nearly two million times. As fans we all learned together about the Kelly/Helfrich offense and Nick Aliotti defense from those videos, but, again, they were created after-the-fact.

From Pac-12 Video

Cyrus Habibi-Likio could be an ideal running back in the GoGo offense.

I have no such confirmation this time.  Truth be told, it is educated conjecture on my part. But philosophically, it fits with Coaches Cristobal and Moorhead on so many levels. They certainly had a significant introduction to it when they interviewed Coach Marion this last spring for the Oregon wide receiver coach position that ultimately went to Coach Bryan McClendon.

If the Ducks implement parts of the GoGo offense, then at minimum it will increase the defensive preparation time needed for Oregon opponents by a large factor. When GoGo offense prep time is added to the Duck Pistol and Shotgun prep time for foes coming to Autzen? I call that “good-or-good,” and it will be fun to watch for.

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer  (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from Twitter

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

 

 

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BigDucksFan

Maybe we should report the Washington Huskies to the NCAA for pretending they have a football team.

30Duck

That Charles, is a question that will never be answered.

duckcardinal

Great preview and mining of past tid-bits to pull this together. Agree that the loss of master recruiter Donte Williams put an emphasis on plus-plus recruiting skills for the WR coaching replacement, and I agree that McClendon has been a home run hire.

In a recent video Mastro was direct about saying that Moorhead had limited experience with the Pistol formation, but was very intrigued with some of its potential. Perhaps there are elements of that which may be readily woven into the evolution of the GoGo as well. All the more for opponents to prepare for!

I take comfort in Moorhead’s extensive and diverse coaching experience to ease the new schemes into application.

Last edited 19 days ago by duckcardinal
30Duck

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/11/02/pac-12-football-preview-our-predictions-for-the-division-races-and-conference-championship/

Wilner’s Pac-12 Predictions:

North
Cal 4-2
Stanford 4-2
Oregon 4-2
UW 3-3
WSU 2-4
OSU 1-5

South
USC 5-1
ASU 5-1
Utah 4-2
UCLA 3-3
CO, 1-5
AZ 0-6

USC: Conference Champion

BigDucksFan

A few obvious questions please:

If Cal is so dam good how come they are not national ranked in the top 25 ??

If Oregon is so dam bad how come they are national ranked in the top 25 ??

Who does USC lose a game to ??

30Duck

Wilner predicts that USC will lose @ Utah. I do believe that Cal is good enough to beat the Uskies.

BigDucksFan

I think you’re right about Cal, but don’t think USC will lose to Utah.

Jon Joseph

Or, COVID happens. Or, Oregon no shows.

On paper, CAL has the best returning O; Oregon, even with the opts out, the best D

I love Wilner’s Pac-12 coverage but I think UW at CAL Saturday is a toss up.

And I do not see a team losing to OR ST, as he has projected, winning the north.

30Duck

Wilner definitely puts a lot of value on returning QB’s, Cal USC & ASU, and from his impartial view these predictions make sense. I’m glad he didn’t make a crazy one for shock value. But, understanding I’m not at all impartial, I don’t see Oregon losing to Stanford, Saturday, and with the bye, (Washington) before the Championship Game, it looks great for the Ducks.

Jon Joseph

Spot on. If I had read this first I would not have come with the redundant comment. At least, not prior to my 2nd martini.

30Duck

These pre-season predictions really are the definition of useless. Like I said, I appreciated Wilner not doing something like picking WSU to win it all. He does fall in to the Prediction trap of going with USC.

But seriously, I said I wasn’t impartial when I predicted Oregon would win the championship. But, what is Wilner using to support his picks? He’s guessing. Maybe educated guessing, but that is all that picking the outcomes of 36 games from scratch is.

UtahDuck

I have a few questions with this.

  1. it seems like the offensive personnel is almost exclusively a 20, with 0 zero TE’s in play. How does transitioning to this offense account for Oregon’s Continual recruiting of TE’s?
  2. I’ve hear Moorhead speak specifically about consistency in personnel. specifically that he doesn’t want to change on field personnel frequently in ways that he may accidentally tip off the defense about what his play calling is. In this interview he specifically noted about 90% or so of his offense is in 11 personnel for this reason. How does this belief mesh with running the gogo offense unless you can get a consistent pass catcher/slot receiver to also line up in the #2 RB spot?
  3. as stated below, when cristobal wanted to institute the pistol he hired Mastro if he wanted to institute the GOGO wouldn’t he have hired Marion?

I do want to say there’s one thing that makes me believe this is absolutely going to be a package in our offense that is the depth at RB and the fact that the coaching staff(Specifically Cristobal and Mastro) have said that Verdell, Dye, Habbibi, and dollars have all earned touches and are all ready to play. I just don’t see how you get more than 3 RB’s on the field a game unless you have 2+ back packages.

BigDucksFan

“as stated below, when cristobal wanted to institute the pistol he hired Mastro if he wanted to institute the GOGO wouldn’t he have hired Marion?”

Precisely the question.

duckcardinal

Wilson, Benson, & CH-L certainly have the size to be very effective downfield blockers, as well as runners, without tipping what the play /formation should be. Coaches have praised CJ’s blocking as well, but mostly in regards to pass protection.

UtahDuck

Thanks for the follow up! yeah i probably am in the weeds a little bit haha.

I am excited to read tomorrow’s article!

BigDucksFan

I can understand about taking coach Mac over Marion but then why is MC hanging on to Jim Mastro, I don’t see him as a great recruiter.

ptdduck

I remember the TZR role with DAT. It seems like the GoGo would benefit from backs that can catch the football. If we do run some GoGo, who gets paired with Verdell? Does Redd get some reps in the backfield?

Haywarduck

Sounds like the perfect offense for how Oregon has always run it’s offense. Oregon has always innovated rather than be predictable. That is until recently when we have suddenly become predictable.

I approve of the GoGo if it makes us unpredictable again. I approve just about anything if it makes us unpredictable on offense. GoGo Moorhead, make us an Offensive program again other programs fear!

BigDucksFan

Now this I agree with.

PittDuck

What an exciting concept!

With MC’s push for two deep starters at every position, what do you think the chances are of the 1’s playing one series, and the 2’s playing the next series?

By the 4th quarter, either offense would be fresher and stronger that the D who would have been run ragged by competing against two offenses taking it to them at full speed!

Last edited 19 days ago by PittDuck
Drake

Interesting article. I am not familiar with the Go Go scheme. I do know that if you have a mobile QB, fast receivers, tough RBs, and an offensive line that can move bodies, you score points. Add uptempo in a loud and crazy environment (Autzen) and you are very tough to beat.

I am looking forward to seeing what Moorhead brings to the table. Score fast and often and you force the other team to become more one dimensional and set the table for your defense. I am sure Avalos would love that with the likes of Thibideaux, and our linebackers being able to force opposing QBs into making mistakes.

We are going to be a solid team. Let’s get on the field and play hard and fast. The wins will come.

Jon Joseph

Not familiar? Head to Las Vegas and Mike West and I can give you a few ideas of where you should go to go-go.

Drake

Vegas, the adult Disneyland.

Drake

Looked at a few videos. Looks like you could be creative with the personnel we have available for the running back positions. Speed package, power package, or combo.

BigDucksFan

Another first from FishDuck.

As interesting as it sounds I would think that if the Ducks were really interested in the GoGo offense then they would have hired coach Marion last spring just as they hired Jim Mastro for the Pistol. 

I can’t believe the Ducks would have this much NEW in a first year offense of scheme, personal and OC all bundled up in a chaotic season as this one is. Just too much going on.

I am looking forward to hearing more about this from coach Jeremy Mosier and coach Eric Boles.

BigDucksFan

It certainly would fit the Duck profile and would be interesting to watch. I just think right now is to soon.

Jon Sousa

Complex to prepare for and defend… does not necessarily mean complex to learn and execute. (example: the RPO)

BigDucksFan

I will watch for it but I just don’t feel like it will be there.

Jon Joseph

But if there is ever a season to move from training wheels to the bike, 2020 is the ‘perfect’ opportunity?

Not good. Wisconsin/Purdue game has been COVID cancelled.

duckcardinal

To better understand the issues with the Big Ten’s greater Covid restrictions, here’s a short, informative piece that illuminates the central point (myocarditis concerns) and how that impacts suspensions. Some links to current sources that question the BIG’s decision are inside this piece.

https://www.outkick.com/big-ten-needs-overhaul-of-21-day-covid-19-protocol/

Here is another piece – written prior to the BIG, Pac12, & others reversing their decisions to not play – that gives a balanced presentation Re the scientific & medical issues of myocarditis, and how they are interpreted. It’s not black and white, but does allow a better insight into the issues.

https://www.outkick.com/what-is-myocarditis-and-is-big-ten-or-sec-right/

Jon Joseph

I know. The B1G has gone beyond the CDC guidelines. Per B1G guidelines, Saban would not have been on the sideline last Saturday

With CFB across the nation being ‘all over the map,’ why have a playoff and if you have one, why not expand the field?

Will the Rose Bowl be contested if the LA Bowl, as rumored, is called off?

BigDucksFan

?? why would the cancellation of the Wis/Pur game be “not good” ??

Jon Joseph

I think it’s a portent of what we cold see in the Pac-12 and for the rest of the year across CFB.

I also think it’s unfortunate that what looked to be good Wisconsin team may essentially, be done for the year?

BigDucksFan

Yep, COVID is a bummer all around.

Jon Joseph

Goin’ to a Go-Go?

This is very interesting. I think that something like this is what Art Briles added to the Air Raid at Baylor, and what Lincoln Riley often runs at Oklahoma? Regardless, it is an O that features the run game in ‘the middle’ of a dangerous passing attack; definitely puts 11 on O against 11 on D.

Leach’s version of the Air Raid has flamed out in the SEC. No TE, no FB, no focus on the run game = so long Pirate in a LOS conference. The opening game out of the box versus LSU was a work of fiction authored by LSU DC, Bo Pelini. Apparently, Bo at $2,5M per annum, couldn’t find the time to look at UW and Jimmy Lake’s D vs WSU? He stayed in man to man coverage the entire game and made KJ Costello look like a contender for the Heisman.

LSU lost one heck of a lot off its championship roster but its 2 biggest loses may have been DC Aranda, now HC at Baylor and co-OC, Joe Brady, now in the NFL? No one ever accused Coach O of being an X and O genius. (Although the class he is bringing in that likely will include Korey Foreman, may overcome all coaching screw ups?)

Can’t wait to see more detail from ‘The Coaches.’ This O on paper, certainly meets Mario’s desire to play smash mouth while opening up opportunities in the passing game; fascinating.

Can’t wait to see what we shall see come Saturday and thanks for the most interesting take.

BTW, how does weather look this Saturday in Eugene?

30Duck

On one hand I see what you’re saying, BDF. But, I go with Jon in thinking since so much is new with the offense, this seems to be the ideal time to go with the GoGO. As for the weather for the game:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=weather+forecast+for+eugene+oregon+for+sat&cvid=6530b7447a2b45ada62fab457ae449f5&FORM=ANAB01&PC=U531

Light rain, 50 degrees. at kickoff, dropping to around 46 by halftime with rain increasing, and around 43 when the clock reads 0:00.

BigDucksFan

It’s a good thing it doesn’t rain in Autzen. I usually go with Jon also but this time I think its just to much to present as new material. Their has been no hint of this type of formation from the castle. If the Ducks were to implement it I would think much later in the season would be best.

Jon Sousa

I trust those who have played for Moorhead in the past that have said his “system” was easy to learn. Moorhead is not going to throw “easy to learn” in the trash to install something that is hard to adjust to.

BigDucksFan

Yes, totally agree especial with so many NEW other things going on.

BigDucksFan

GoGo is a lot to read between those lines.

Jon Joseph

Thank you 30.