The Oregon Offense: The New Wide Power Read

Coach Eric Boles Analysis 21 Comments

The Oregon Ducks have introduced quite a few new plays to their offense in the first quarter of the 2021 season. One of those plays has been used to great affect including two touchdowns against the Ohio State Buckeyes, is what I’m calling the Wide Power Read; a twist on the classic Power Read.

GoArmy Edge Football

The Wide Power Read

The Power Read, or Inverted Veer, traditionally has the playside defensive end being read by the quarterback. Coach Joe Moorhead has used a version where a playside linebacker is read, clearing out the box, and now he has introduced the wide version of this attack.

The offensive line essentially runs the classic Power Read blocking scheme. The tight end and backside tackle pass set to cut off any pressure from the rear. The entire playside of the line blocks down, with the playside tackle climbing up to the linebackers. The key difference in the blocking scheme of the Wide Power Read is the path of the backside guard. In the classic version of this play, the guard pulls tight inside the B-gap, but here he is pulling wide and outside to lead for the running back.

The playside wide receiver plays a crucial role in this play. He is running a crack-back block against the linebacker, cutting him off from getting to the outside. On top of that, the path that the receiver takes to block the LB fools the corner just enough to put him at a disadvantage. The route looks a lot like a slant, which Oregon uses a ton of in their RPOs. By the time the corner realizes that the WR is not on a slant, he has pretty much eliminated himself from the play and left the edge wide open.

In the Wide Power Read, just as he does in the traditional version, the quarterback is reading the playside defensive end (Green Circle above). If the DE crashes down, the QB will give the ball to the RB out on the edge. If the end gets wide to take away the back, the QB will keep the ball up the vacated gap in the middle.

In the video above, you can see that the defensive end bites down inside hard, prompting Anthony Brown to give the ball to Travis Dye. Notice how the playside corner plays the WR as if he’s running the slant. This completely takes the corner out of the play, and he is unable to recover in time to the perimeter. The pulling guard (Ryan Walk) actually ends up blocking no one as the play goes for six points.

The Wide Power Read is a fantastic version of the original scheme that combines just enough misdirection with the power of the Ducks’ offensive line to create a play that is just plain hard to stop. This play is just one example of how devastating the new Oregon Moorhead Offense will be for opposing defenses!

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, Ohio
Top Photo Credit: Twitter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Comments Below are CLOSED, as we are moving to the OUR BELOVED DUCKS Forum!

Comments below articles are now closed as we have moved all conversation over to the free Our Beloved Ducks Forum. It has been a big success already with many more posts than what we could fit into the comments below articles.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Be a part of the forum and stay caught up!  When you wish to post there, do know that you are protected just as you were on FishDuck. Join us on the free forum right here!

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

New Uniform Combo for Saturday!
You can see it right here, and while I am not crazy about the uniform colors combined, I am excited about something you would shake your head at…

A new helmet for avatars!

(How have you liked my new 1971 Helmet avatar?)

New Black 2.jpg

If they ran a pistol dive out of that formation, there would have been 9 defenders on the running back. (on the video of the play)

What that play did was to attack the edge and get away from the box. The threat of the fake helped get some defenders out of the play.

OSU really messed up that play badly.
DE ran inside and lost his contain.
Cornerback ran inside – why?
LB runs straight into blocker and not his outside shoulder, which took him out of the play.

When you run a challenging play, you make the defenders have to think about how they will defend it.
When you just try to over power the D, it rarely works in today’s game. Especially from a spread formation.


OT, but Big News It’s Lady Ducks Night on ESPN2

At 5:00 Satou and the Dallas Wings are in Chicago to play Ruthy and the Sky, following that, Sabrina and the New York Liberty are in Phoenix to play the Mercury. These are both win or go home games.


It works in theory, and it works in practice!

Thanks for the explanation.

David Marsh

And what more could you ask for?

It also sets up further problems because to really counter this play the opposing defense is going to leave themselves exposed in other places. If that corner doesn’t follow their receiver (who ends up blocking a linebacker) then that route could become a slant route that is wide open and go for big yards.

I am really looking forward to seeing Moorhead take this play to the next level… because you know every team we play against this year is going to study this play and try and figure out a counter for it. So I am sure Moorhead has a counter to the counter already drawn up.


Great analysis, love seeing how these run plays actually work, and the strategic game Moorhead plays, and wins at.

I also wonder if our history of up the gut runs keeps the defense focused on the middle too. What I saw is 9 guys feeding into the middle as the play began. Maybe there is a positive to everyone thinking they know what Oregon is going to do on third down!

I would be interesting to know if you see anything in our receivers route running skills. Are there guys, maybe some of the young guys, getting open, making separation, unlike in the past.

Thornton seems electric when he gets the ball. I know it was one play against SB, but I look forward to more after the catch action from our receivers as we move forward!

Jon Joseph

Coach, in your expert opinion, is there a reason(s) behind why the Ducks seem to always start out slowly on O vs lesser opponents?

Early on in Columbus we watched a 99 yard TD drive and the OL played like a bunch of All Americans.

But often under Mario we watch the O struggle in the 1st half.

Is it something in the practice routine? Something in the water?

Tending to play down to the competition is my biggest concern going forward in 2021.

3-0 and #3 in the country is fantastic!

But even the best teams do not win every 1 score game and if the Ducks get behind and/or in a shoot out, is this Ducks O structured to come back? Can it go score for score if the D is not playing up to par?

Again, thank for today’s outstanding tutorial and all the best.

Jon Joseph

Thanks Coach. It is puzzling.


I’m not a coach, but I have an ‘expert’ opinion, since I played in high school. (OK, maybe slightly expert)

When you run a play on offense, the defense is going to try to stop it. (of course)
At the beginning of games, the defense is fresh and ready to get after it.
It is hard to block fresh defenders.

It mostly is a case of X’s and O’s.
The defense is ready for your play.

Then, a good offensive coordinator will exploit and take advantage of what the defense is doing.

I played linebacker, and when I knew what play they were going to run in practice, I was all over it. When they changed it up with a play action, or a misdirection, I had to go extra steps to make up for my ‘guessing’ wrong.

Even lesser teams can still play.

Watch what the Ducks do on offense. Is it working? What changes are they making?


A lot of what Chip did was throwing quick outs at the start of the game. That made defenders run out of the box. He made the defense account for the edges. Then after all that, he ran inside.

Moorhead is just now getting it going with the Duck offense. He needs time to not only know what plays are going to work, but he needs to find out how well the players can execute those plays.

And the more plays he runs, the more tape the opposing D coordinator has to plan how to stop those plays. It is a chess game.


Which is why many of us were getting so frustrated in 2018 and 2019. Pistol dives into the 9 man box were not working and new strategies were not being used.


So if there is a slow start, watch what they do differently on the next possession. Sometimes the perfect play is called and one guy out of 11 screws it up with a blown assignment.


When the Ducks play lesser opponents, you should see the offense start cranking it up as the game moves on. Nothing about the Stonybrook game concerned me except for the cheap shot on Franklin and not picking up the blitz late in the first half.

When ‘lesser’ teams are playing well against the Ducks, give them credit. But expect the Ducks pick it up as the talent starts to make a difference.

A perfect example of this is the last game USC played against Wazzu. Wa St had a lead late in the 2nd qtr. Then USC poured it on and never slowed down.


Cristobal is still pretty new at power 5 head coaching. Last year was funky and weird. So this is really only his third real year as a head coach of a top 25 team. Moorhead is just now putting in his complete offense. And this is Deruyter’s first season here.

Compare that to the coaching tenure of Oklahoma, Ohio St, Clemson and Alabama.

Also, Oregon has been kicking butt (more or less) for about 20 years now. Other pac12 teams are jacked to play the Ducks, even if they suck.

So it should be expected to see the offense struggle a little bit early, and then start to break out some good gains as the game moves on.


it’s possible our starts are slow b/c opposing coaches have figured out the counters to the plays they have seen. and it takes time for our coaches to figure out the counters to the counters.

the good news is that former-OC-who-shall-not-be-nameds were never able to counter the counters. so we’re way better off now.

Jon Joseph

Always enlightening. Thank you Coach!

OT: Playoff expansion has officially been tabled to who knows when? It appears that more CFB movers-and-shakers are in favor of going to 8 teams rather than 12.

Big blow back vs ESPN and by implication, Greg Sankey and the SEC. Lots of folks do not want to expand the PO when ESPN has exclusive broadcast rights; the exclusive runs through 2025.

Conundrum for the Pac-12? No P5 conference needs expansion more than the Pac-12. Can the conference wait until 2026 for expansion to occur? Would an 8 team PO without a guaranteed spot for the Pac-12 champ make sense? Would a playoff without the Rose Bowl being a part be acceptable to the Pac-12 and the B1G?

OT 2: Up on the Athletic (subscription required) 2 articles of interest for Pac-12 fans. A very good take by Bruce Feldman on the situation at USC and the disaster that was Helton’s coaching tenure.

Really good article on Tyler Shough and his transition from Oregon to Texas Tech. 3-0 TX Tech visits Texas this Saturday..

OT 3: 6PM EST Saturday on Larry’s Network, 24 UCLA at Stanford. To date, the Cardinal’s run D has been awful. UCLA’s run game has been very good.


The ‘Alliance’ (Big, Pac, Acc) had no representation on the CFP 12 committee. Together with the ESPN/SEC bedfest, the Alliance has no choice but to slow down CFP expansion and try to bring in more media partners, as is one of it’s stated goals, or you could have possibly seen a CFP12 with up to 6 Sec teams for the Mouse to broadcast.

The Alliance’s 41 votes gives them the power to slow and most likely reconfigure the CFP committee and quite possibly dilute the power of the Mouse and / or reach new media contracts before expansion happens and hopefully have more equal representation in any restructured playoff scenario.

Jon Joseph

No reps on the PO expansion subcommittee. A subcommittee that consisted of 4 guys.

The B 12 commish (who was getting secretly stabbed in the back,) the SEC commish (who was doing the stabbing), the Mountain West commish and the Notre Dame AD.

12 team field? Of course this makes sense for any G5 conference. Makes sense for the SEC; almost a lock to have 3 if not 4 teams in the field every season. Notre Dame, most years the Irish would be in and the proposed format makes the Irish close to a lock to host a round one PO game. Notre Dame can stay independent and qualify without having to play a conference champ game. And the B12 expansion calculus certainly changed when OK and TX said goodbye to the B12.

Fortunately, going forward, the Pac-12 is represented on the full PO expansion committee along with Alliance members, the ACC and the Big 10. All 3 conferences have a majority of AAU member schools. The SEC? 4 out of 14 are AAU members; will be 5 out of 15 when TX and OK come on board.

There was also no reason for the SEC not to protect it’s partner’s, ESPN, exclusive right to broadcast the PO games and the NY6 bowls.

I think we are more likely see an 8 and not a 12 team field? And unless ESPN is willing to give up it’s exclusive rights, we probably will not see the field expand before 2026?

It takes a unanimous, 11-0 vote, 10 commish and Notre Dame AD, to change the current PO structure.

The votes are not there and fortunately, GK is not Larry Scott.

As long as the games are broadcast in China, a 12 team field likely would have been all good with Larry?


I really like where you said that the 8 team and not the 12, which was just an ESPN/SEC glutton fest, would emerge. For the most part it eliminates the Committee, which was also only an ESPN production. With the 8, the teams would be decided by winning the conference, The Eye Test would only come in as part of choosing the 2 At Large & Go5 teams.

Jon Joseph

Agreed Dixie. And I like your format idea but will it happen?

The super secret 13, we are not disclosing the vote PO Committee. Or the AP, 60+ voters who reveal their votes? I prefer the AP. I much prefer the AP to be the ranking entity for the PO. Stop the stupid Grapevine side shows.

Should the Pac-12 approve any PO without a guarantee of its champ being in the field? I hope not. We’ve seen this movie before.

With the 4 teams that the B12 is adding, is it still, after 2025, a ‘Power’ conference?

You know that the SEC will want an 8 team PO it to be the top 7 regardless of conference, + the highest ranked G5.

How about add the restructured B12 to The Alliance? And how about this group holds its own PO?

A PO brought to you by FOX, CBS, NBC and streaming outlets?

Would the Alliance with the new B12, need the SEC, or vice versa?

Antitrust, collusion? Nothing would be stopping the SEC and its buddy ESPN, from holding a playoff of one sort or another.

The SEC/ESPN CFB cartel may be headed to being hoisted on its own petard?


8 is better than 12. No teams should get byes. Power 5 champs should be auto-qualified.

That leaves 2 more power 5 teams, which is about right.

So for this season’s predictions for an 8 team playoff, Alabama or Georgia would be one wildcard. As for the other, I would say Florida so far.


David Marsh

I really love this play… And not just because it put some points on OSU. I love the pulling lineman the wide receiver block that fools the corner …

Just everything about it screams out smarting the opponent.

Coach–we have seen so much explained about this play, but you took it further and truly explained the mechanics of it. Makes so enjoyable to understand more about the “why” of the success, and sure appreciate you taking the time to help us.