At this point in the season, the dominance of the Oregon Ducks’ rushing attack is well established. The Ducks are averaging a solid 227 yards per game on the ground. Their output places them as the tenth best rushing offense in the nation. That’s a 5.6 yards per play average. Their ability to ground and pound opponents has also helped to open things up through the air, as Anthony Brown is throwing for 214 yards per game.
Against the Washington Huskies, Coach Joe Moorhead and the Ducks offense introduced a new Triple Option play from a Tight Bunch formation. This version of the Triple Option is one of Oregon’s base plays, the Slice Zone, but with a pitch man attached to it. Though the Ducks do not run this version of the scheme often, it works as a nice change up to keep defenses on their toes.
Up front, the blocking scheme is the exact same as the Slice Zone. The offensive line blocks classic Inside Zone. If any OL is covered by a first level defender, he will block that defender. If the OL is unblocked, he will look to the next playside gap and either create a double team with his line mate or climb to the second level of defenders. The tight end slices across the formation as a lead blocker on the option.
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The backside C-gap defender (green circle above) is being read. If the defender stays home, or gets wide, the quarterback will hand the ball off to the running back. From there, the RB will have an aiming point of the centers backside and look to see how the blocking expresses itself before deciding which gap to attack. This is slightly different from how Oregon used to run zone, where the RB’s aiming point was the playside guard.
If the C-gap defender crashes down, the QB will pull the ball and follow the TE around the edge. The QB will also have a pitch option to the wide receiver that orbited around him at the snap of the ball. The pitch will be decided by the overhang, or second level defender responsible for the alley.
In the clip above you can see that the unblocked defender stays home, prompting Brown to give the ball to Travis Dye. While the run only goes for about three yards, it’s obvious how devastating it would have been for the defense had the C-gap defender crashed on Dye. Brown alone could have caused a great deal of damage, let alone the pitch option available to him.
The Tight Bunch Triple Option is a play that I hope to see more of in the final games of the season. It’s a scheme that could cause plenty of problems for the Duck’s remaining opponents.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Oregon Football Twitter
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Eric Boles was born and raised in Central Ohio, 25 minutes outside of the capital of Columbus. He was raised in a University of Michigan sports household, but at a young age, converted over to the Oregon Ducks. Eric has a degree in Psychology from The Ohio State University, and had started a second degree in Middle Childhood Education. He is also the author of one, soon to be more, children’s book.
Eric had served as an assistant wide receivers coach for the Central Ohio Technical College football program. Now he assists with the football camp provided by his local YMCA’s day camp.
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