The Joe Moorhead Offense: The Bash Triple Option Appears!

Coach Eric Boles Analysis 18 Comments

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Some time ago, I wrote an article about three plays that I would like to see added to Coach Marcus Arroyo’s playbook, the offensive coordinator at that time. They weren’t schemes that I thought would actually show up, but ones that would compliment the offense and was mostly wishful thinking on my part. Well one of those plays was deployed by Coach Joe Moorhead against the Washington State Cougars this last season. Let’s learn some more Oregon Football!

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The Bash Triple Option

Truthfully, the play design is not exactly like the one that I previously wrote about, but it’s close enough to make me excited. The topic of discussion is the Bash Triple Option of which kind of the reverse of roles from Chip Kelly’s Straddled Triple Option. One option in the STO is a running back (RB) running the Inside Zone in one direction, with a Speed Double Option of the quarterback (QB) and another RB going the other direction. In this Bash Triple Option, the roles of the RB running the Inside Zone and the QB are reversed, or Inverted.  Hence it is kind of an Inverted Triple Option–let’s see what I mean…

The blocking scheme for the inside option in the Bash Triple Option is pretty straight-forward since it is just Inside Zone blocking. The difference is that the zone blocking works towards the quarterback’s direction as the RB runs naked (outside of the OL’s blocking scheme).

In this scheme the QB is tasked with reading the frontside play EMOL (end man on line). See the screenshot at the top of the article to see the defender “read” by the QB. If the defender widens or moves outward with the RB, the QB pulls the ball and follows the inside zone blocking upfield behind the offensive line. He’ll look for a hole and run to daylight. Should the defender crash on the QB, the RB will get the ball from the mesh handoff and run to the perimeter.

Once the RB has the ball on the outside–he has the option to pitch it to the second RB on the play! This decision is made off of a secondary read of the apex/overhang defender. There is also another decision that the QB can make before the snap, as Coach Moorhead also has a slant pass option to the backside. If the opportunity presents itself, the QB can abort the three run options and throw the slant. (Four options?!)

Coach Moorhead pulled the Bash Triple Option out on a two-point conversion attempt that worked perfectly. In the video above, the EMOL crashes on the QB prompting a handoff. Travis Dye gets the ball and takes it to the edge and easily gets to the end-zone. Unfortunately, a penalty for having to many players in the backfield reversed the conversion. If the overhang defender had come down on Dye sooner, the pitch to CJ Verdell would have been wide open!

The Bash Triple Option is a fantastic concept and something that I hope to see again in the future. Coach Moorhead has shown off some great play designs in the previous shortened season, and should have Duck fans excited to see what comes next with his offense in 2021.

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, Ohio
Top Photo Credit: Pac-12 Video

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Thanks, coach. I always enjoy reading your stuff.


Add me to the list of people saying thanks for this article. I too love this stuff.

Just for fun, I want to ask you a question and learn from your expertise.

Maybe it’s nostalgia, but I still prefer having the QB under center at least some of the time.

I was thinking that you could run a very similar play with in the flexbone or old “I-bone” type of set. The QB gets the ball under center and the FB comes up on his left hip – I am guessing the QB would read the inside linebacker on his right.

If the ILB sucks in to close that inside hole, the QB pulls the ball and runs down the line to the right. Then the read is the DE or outside linebacker as to whether the QB keeps it off tackle or pitches it out to the halfback running towards the sideline.

I’m guessing the advantage of having the QB start five yards back (as in this play you diagrammed) is better vision to make those decisions, but the disadvantage is that it gives the defense more time to react also – if the FB could be hitting the gut one second after the snap, the defense really has to respect that possibility.

So, my question is – do you think my (completely amateur!) analysis is correct?

Scoot the QB back into a Shotgun and you have a “Double Pistol” and I covered it right here in a video when Chip Kelly did it ten years ago.

Great blocking by Josh Huff makes this play score a touchdown!

(And FIC…..great to see you in the comments again! This is not the same as a forum, but we can still discuss and banter nonetheless.)

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I do love the play and the innovation, but I admit to not wanting my quarterback running up-the-gut in an A gap if that option is selected. I want running backs to do that, and hence why loved the original Straddled Triple Option so much, as the Inside Zone option was taken by a running back.

Great eye Coach Boles, and thanks for bring this to us!


Not sure why no one sees the run up the gut being wide open ;)! Great analysis and fun to hear about the innovative mind of an OC.


Coach, well written article. As to your comment, I admit Mario’s vision for the offense has been frustratingly conservative to watch evolve. However, I think the critics of last seasons clunky, sloppy, and most of all low scoring unit clearly need to read your last sentence.

I was able to attend a zoom fund raising auction in which during a break out session featuring coach Moorhead it was noted the offense had a total of 4 practices prior to the start of 2020-21 COVID shortened season. Think about it; 4 practices to install a new system! As you mention let’s with hold judgment until we see what a full spring and summer schedule of practices produce.

David Marsh

Good read.

The penalty in the video above…

Mildly off-topic… just trying to see where the penalty would have come in. Where is the misaligned player? I’m just curious so I can better spot this sort of thing in the future.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I went back to my DVR copy and the penalty was, “five men in the backfield.” You can only have four; the receiver at the top of the screen checked in with the official as he lined up on the LOS, then he quickly shifted back one yard before the snap.

That made him a flanker, and a part of the backfield along with the two RBs, the QB, and the TE who was lined up as an H-Back.

Errors in lining up!

David Marsh

I assumed it was a receiver who didn’t line up correctly but just looking at the clip I couldn’t tell who exactly it was.

Thanks for finding out Charles and thanks Eric for a fun article.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Now that I look at the screenshot at the top of the article….you can see that if the WR had lined up close to the LOS, (which is the three-yard line) he would probably be at the three-and-a-half yard line.

But he is way behind the three yard line….at the four-and-a-half yard line. He blew it.


Thanks, coach. Your articles are great learning tools for those like me who crave deeper understanding of the game.


Thank you coach Eric for the excellent article! Your diagram and video provide clear teaching of this play. I like the reverse role of the qb and the first rb. This adds the added option of the slant pass if all the linebackers crash to stop the run. Love it!

Jon Sousa

Thanks Coach. Great article… my favorite kind.