The GoGo Offense: Mesh Wheel Concept

Coach Eric Boles Analysis 32 Comments

The idea of the Oregon Ducks perhaps adding the GoGo offense is an exciting one. As we’ve learned from Coach Mosier and Mr. FishDuck the last couple days, the GoGo is an offense that can give defenses all kinds of fits. Though the GoGo can apply substantial pressure in the run game through its unique, twin-back formations, that pressure makes the GoGo’s pass concepts all that more difficult to defend. One of these pass concepts is the Mesh Wheel concept, which takes on added effectiveness within the GoGo scheme.

GoArmy Edge Football

Coach Brennan Marion’s Mesh Wheel Concept

Coach Brennan Marion, like Coach Joe Moorhead, likes to use a West Coast passing scheme, and his mesh wheel is a twist on the classic mesh concept. As with West Coast versions of the mesh, the GoGo uses a shallow crossing route by the wide receiver. But the GoGo adds two running backs into the mix. As with the classic concept, Coach Marion’s version is especially effective against man coverage but has built-in answers to zone coverage as well.

Let’s first appreciate the kind of stress this play puts on the linebacker. The fact that both running backs are aligned to the same side of the formation means that the middle linebacker (MLB) is going to have to high-tail it out of the box to keep up with the inside running back bellying out on a wheel route. That is a tall order for a MLB. It’s also risky business for the defense to shift their MLB out the box with the still-existing threat of a run play to the second back and/or quarterback.

The outside receiver to the left of the formation runs your basic shallow crossing route through the belly of the defense. If the defense is playing man, he’s going to carry the corner with him. This receiver will be responsible for rubbing the linebacker in an effort to free the running back on his wheel route. If the defense is in zone, the wide receiver has the option to break his route off and settle into the void under the linebacker.

The way that the RBs run their routes, with the wider back running up the seam, can also create a bit of a rub on the overhang defender or middle linebacker. This can also help free up the RB running the wheel up the sideline. It’s yet another GoGo bonus created by aligning both RBs to the same side of the formation.

In the clip above, the defense looks to be in a robber scheme, a type of hybrid man coverage. The shallow route carries the corner across the field with enough depth to affect the middle linebacker. The physicality that takes place between the overhang and the wide RB spills into the MLB’s lap, creating a natural rub that leaves the second RB open down the sideline.

This mesh concept is just one of many possibilities within the GoGo offense. It’s a scheme that puts a lot of stress on opposing defenses, an objective of all offenses. The possibility of these concepts being added to the system Coach Joe Moorhead is building at Oregon is extremely intriguing!

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, Ohio
Top Photo Credit: Tom Corno

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



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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Why am I Being so OFFENSIVE?

There are some who feel I’ve really pounded on the Oregon offense over time, and they are quite correct; I have, and it continues to be a concern and a pinch-point of frustration after averaging 43 points a game over a nine year period before the Taggart/Cristobal era.

It was crazy to change from something that worked, IMHO.

Why is there so much antipathy towards me on other sites? At one in particular, (ScoopDuck) most of the football people there were highly angered two years ago when after the San Jose State game I declared that, “this offense is not taking us to the promised land. Either the offense will have to change or the coaches will.”

They felt defending Cristobal was their personal mission, when I simply wanted what was best for Our Beloved Ducks, and should be able to freely express my opinion without the personal attacks that took place. The personal denigrations from that time period really created the foundation of the rules we have in place right now. I don’t want anyone attacked because I’ve been there; I’ve had over 30 personal insults leveled at me in one thread before and vow that nobody will ever have even one at this site.

One of our wonderful writers, Lou Farnsworth posted a link of my GoGo article on that site the other day and the predictable belittling, insults and denigration took place not only by some readers, but also their moderators! (You will never see that here) There were some, including Lou who came to my defense, and I thank all of you.

The point is–we need help on the offense; Cristobal himself admitted after the Redbox Bowl that we needed to change and improve. People over at other sites and….even some on this site have felt that the emphasis on offense was exaggerated, since we now have a great defense.

We won the Rose Bowl because the defense gave us four turnovers; the offense only netted 204 total yards? Who are you going to beat with that among the elite? Oregon will face defenses as good and better than Wisconsin’s and we need to be able to score on them.

Whether it is OC Joe Moorhead’s offense or part GoGo….I am hoping for massive improvement. This is why when my sources revealed that our staff knew about and liked the GoGo offense, we wanted to inform you as well. It may not happen, and the only downside is that you leaned a little more football as the coaches and I did.

And learning more football in a civilized discussion with this superb community here is the best!


Your platform for seeing how Oregon Football is being played is the reason I have been here. Fish Duck takes film to breakdown plays and discuss to fans what it is that a team is doing. Your utilizing former coaches to break down the film to help explain it, was a benefit to the reader. Fish Duck has become so much MORE than just a film breakdown site over these many years. The information you have available is beyond that of other sites. Just having a site to have open minded discussions, even opposing ones, is great. We become better fans for it. Keep up the good work.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

What you have written is so appreciated as it is a confirmation that I am on the correct path of my vision.

When we have a forum? Look out! It will be a blast!

Spot on Charles, in all respects.

The Ducks beat a 3L team in the RB last season and as you noted, did so because of turn overs.

The Ducks first drive was perfection itself, then? Had it been the ‘old days’ and a match up against the Big 10 champs, does anyone believe Oregon had the O last season to defeat Ohio State? I don’t.

In today’s game you have to put up points. And when you get a lead, you can’t shut it down on O. Like, the game that should have been won versus Auburn in Dallas.

Interesting that Herbert in the pros is also being held back by a HC who thinks leads in the League, well prior to the 4th Q, will hold up.

Oregon last season was a better team than Minnesota. Minnesota defeated Auburn because its O never stopped trying to score.


I just can’t believe that we are going to have Duck football tomorrow!!!

I have missed it soooooo much, that I just want to see them play. No expectations. I just want to see inspired play and lot of enthusiasm. I am happy for the players. I’m sure that they really want to get after it.

What better way can I give myself a day with no politics and no disease updates than to watch college football all day long?

Best of luck to coach Moorhead – I hope he has some good formations and plays for us to see.

Jon Joseph

Thanks Coach, always great and enlightening.


OFF TOPIC: ESPN announced 300 employees let go, and 200 open positions closed. Alas, Ivan Maisel apparently among those released.

Apologies for repeating news from yesterdays late posts. The Maisel news a bummer to me as I enjoy and respect his work.

Watching the pilings wash away from the ESPN platform will be an exercise in mixed emotions, for me.

Jon Joseph

Maisel is likely to end up on FOX or writing for The Athletic.


I wanted to give a preview on Stanford’s starting lineup. It has been a crazy year in football with opt outs galore, add in graduation’s and transfers and I don’t think any team has been hit as hard as STAN. this comment will be strictly about their offense but I will subcomment in regards to their defense.

QB: Davis Mills rJR.

  • Davis usurped Costello(Now out Miss ST) while costello was out with injury last year. I believe he is a redshirt JR and was a 5 star pick up back in 2016. He has all the tools and I think he is a better QB than Costello which begs the question why he didn’t start sooner.

OL: Walter Rouse LT, Barrett Miller LG, Drew Dalman C, Branson Bragg RG, and Foster Sarell RT.

  • Returning starters are Sarell and Dalman. of these 5 Sarell was a previous 5* and Bragg was a middle 4*. The suffered a massive loss when RT Walker little forgoed the season and declared for the draft. Bragg is kinda the Throckmorton of Stanford this year, originally recruited as a center he is now being played as a guard and is listed as the backup for both Tackle positions. It really is safe to say that stanford has very little depth across the offensive line. I know that people think highly of the stanford offensive line but the team has suffered greatly since Mike Blomgren left to become the Rice head coach.

RB: Austin Jones SO.

  • I think it is safe to assume that Austin jones is the belcow at Stanford this year. Hi is a true sophomore after playing in all 12 games last year for about 227 all rushing yards he was a high 4*. Other than that their isn’t a lot on him but He is a stan rb so expect him to get a lot of carries a game

WR: Michael Wilson, Connor Wedington, and Simi Fehoko

  • Both Wilson and Wedington are returning starters while Fehoko was a backup last year. All three return over 500 yards receiving while Simi didn’t get as many receptions he returns an average of 23.6 yards per reception and is definitely a downfield threat. This likely is the best/deepest position on the stanford offense.

TE: Tucker Fisk and Scooter Harrington.

  • Starter Colby Parkinson was drafted in the fourth round and now they have last years backups returning. Colby got the lion share of TE reception yards with 589 while Fisk and harrington return a total of 53 yards combined. Both of them were considered middle three stars and I just don’t see them as massive threats in the passing game. They will likely have an uptick in yards just because colby’s yards have to go somewhere but I’d expect more runblocking out of these guys than anything.

Overall I expect WR’s and the QB to be pretty good but I don’t think their offensive line is very good. Austin Jones is probably an adequate RB but he isn’t Brice love or McCaffrey and is more of a Scarlett. Lastly TE’s should do fine in runblocking and will pick up more yards in the receiving game but don’t expect them to be world beaters and should be coverable by a good nickel or ILB.


And the Defense!

DL: Thomas Booker, Dalyn Wade-Perry, and Thomas Schaffer.

  • Booker is the only returning starter out of last years defense. I will say it appears that stanford is making a transition this year from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base defense but I would expect to Ryan Johnson and joshua Pakola get a lot of playing time as well. overall this will be the best position group on the stanford defense.

ILB: Curtis Robinson and Ricky Miezan

  • Robison is a converted 4* Safety now playing at the ILB position. He was below average as a safety so hopefully for stanford this improves him. and Miezan is a low 3* minimal game time player coming off injury from last season. as for Depth I don’t think stanford has any depth(kinda sarcasm/kinda truth) left in the ILB position

OLB: Gabe Reid and jordan fox

  • A week ago this was looking to be a strength of stanford but Reid was announced that he will not be available for the game against oregon. He was their most disruptive player last year with 7.5 sacks and 16.5 TFL. Add in the loss of toohill who got drafted and it looks stressed. I will say that despite the losses stanford has recruited well at the position and will have to rely on fresh bodies. Jordan fox should be good though.

DB: Malik Antoine, Kendall Williamson, Ethan Booner, and Kyu Kelly

  • Obviously the loss of Paulson Adebo hurts stanford, but they also lose starters stuart head and Obi Eboh from last years defense. Malik is the only returning starter. to make matters worse Kyu Kelly just like Reid was ruled out for the game against oregon. This DB core will be fielded by low three stars or walk ons. expect most teams to pick on the CB’s unless one of the proves early they have the capabilities.

Stanford’s DB core got blasted by grad transfers this year. add in that Shaw has underrecruited the DB’s and I think it’ll be a long year(6 game season) for them. I also don’t really see much in way of depth in the middle of the field and am confused why reports show them moving to a 3-4. It’ll be interesting to see if the team is picking up in recruiting or on play if Shaw makes moves along his staff as both coordinators have been with the team for years. at the end of the day the offense will probably be improved as a think Mills is enough to improve them but this defense will be bottom tier in the conference.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Our own duckcardinal pointed out to me yesterday that Stanford has two new starters at corner, and one of them has almost no experience. That sounds like a good match-up against seniors Johnson and Redd! (I think Pittman will flourish as well)

If the way to win is through the air and not “establishing the ground game,”….will Cristobal let Moorhead do it?

More questions and drama to make the game that much more entertaining!

And thanks so much to all the time and work to UtahDuck for these breakdowns. He just did a wonderful pre-game article for us in the comments!


Thanks for the kind words(and ignoring my grammar) ;). I do think the easiest way to win Stan will be through the air and I hope that is the path that Oregon/Moorhead/Cristobal takes but don’t count out the middle of the field being weak too. I think some well timed runs can really trample this defense. Especially if they are being picked on through the air and they have to play cover two lightening the box.

I think this will be a good test for our offensive line as they should be playing some talented stanford players but if the run game doesn’t present itself oregon should torch them through the air.


A Shaw presser from Tues indicated that DB Kyu Kelley, who started as a true FR last year, was ‘unlikely’.

Adebo is a talent and there is no similar talent on the roster to replace him at CB.


I believe lack of quality depth in D-line, as compared to the LB group, may be behind the move to more of a 3-4, but it might be variable depending on situation. That’s my guess, no hard insider info.


Their very productive FG kicker, Jet Toner, is back after missing most of 2019 with an injury. They also have a promising, but untested, backup, Josh Karty. So, if Toner is back to his 2018 level they’ll have an advantage, if rusty more like a push.

Fehoko is a plus sized (6’4″, 227) WR with good speed, who really came into his own second half of 2019 in spite of the injury induced QB carousel on the Farm. He’s very good at using his height & mass to screen out and high point the ball vs smaller defensive backs, and may be a tough match up for the Ducks.

Due to early injuries in 2019 to Walker Little, Sarell, and other upperclassmen starters, some true and RS freshmen got considerable playing time, with expectable rough results. Those 275 lbs rookies are now experienced 300+ lb two deep players. Unlike UtahDuck, I suspect their O-line may be pretty decent, and our front seven will need to bring its A+ game to get enough pressure to keep Mills uncomfortable in the pocket, or the Cardinal could score enough to keep it close.


Thanks for the comment, I didn’t want to cover special teams mostly because I don’t pay a lot of attention to it.

I agree a lot of freshman got playing time last year due to the max of injuries but frankly I just am not confident in Carberry(Stan Oline coach). The team has been in the 120th range(in the nation) in Rush yards per game in the last two seasons. Averaging approximately 105 yards per game. Yes some of that can be blamed on injuries in the oline but I think it stems from the Oline just not being able to get off their blocks, and consistently losing the battle up front. add in that they averaged 2.3 sacks allowed per game last season and 1.8 the season before and they just aren’t the consistent line they were for the last decade.(those stats are 85th and 40th in the nation their prospective seasons. That 2018 season is with two nfl caliber players ‘Herbig(currently at philly) and Little. add in that Sarell was a 5* top 10 consensus player who has only been coached by Carberry and I think the writing is on the wall.

Will they be better than last year? probably. will they be good? I just don’t think so. They haven’t recruited their consistent 4 and 5 * lineman and I just don’t see the standard Stanford development at oline that we saw from 2011-2017 probably even earlier.


Thanks for the expansion; the Toner tidbit meant as merely a complement to your much appreciated previews.

Agree the Tunnel Workers Union is a fuzzy far gone dream for Farm-ites, and development has not been what it was from Harbaugh/early Shaw days. Will be interesting to follow. Cheers.


FYI – QB Mills went thru a series of limb injuries in addition to his redshirt season, and Costello blossomed in 2018 for his best season and putative starter status for 2019. However, a spearing to the helmet in quarter 1, game 1 took him out of the first 3rd last year, yet Mills was also MIA for a slow healing leg/knee injury. Stanford’s QB situation last year was a mess.

Mills might have one, or maybe even 2 years of eligibility left, but Shaw/Stanford are quirky about keeping players on past their 4 yr window, even if they’re productive, so this may be his one last shot at FBS glory.

Jon Joseph

The Cardinal D also took a big hit when CB Adebo opted out. There is no one on the roster near to his talent.


I can see Redd lining up in the backfield in the GoGo. I really hope JoMo throws the ball more to the RBs and TEs.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Oooh. Really good call ptdduck, since we have seen Redd do that before and he was a RB in high school.

Holy Crap Coach!

I sure as heck did not know about the Brady-Moorhead connection in terms of the offense. More encouragement!


Thank you, Coach Boles, after finishing this article, I’m even more eager that the GoGo is a go for the Ducks this season. I was most intrigued with the section of the article that talks about the stress put on the defense, specifically the MLB, by the two RB’s being aligned to the same side.


Great specific examples of things to watch for out of the GoGo.

Always enjoy, and am illuminated by, your animated graphics blended with game tape. I now have a few more plays & routes to look for, and follow on replay in my Man Cave. Cheers sir!

Do the two backs tend to line up on the boundry (short) side of the field to allow more field for the crossing patterns, or does it vary?


Thank you Coach Boles. This is nearly as exciting as the Go-Go’s of the ‘70s. The Ducks have the talented skill players and OL to make such schemes overwhelming for the defense. I’ll be watching closely while remembering your teaching.


Interesting pass concepts out of the GoGo coach, thanks for showing it to us.