Coach Kenny Dillingham’s New GTE Sweep Read

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Analysis

The 2022 Oregon Spring Game was a fun unveiling of Dan Lanning‘s Ducks, it also gave us a glimpse into a few parts of the Kenny Dillingham offense. I immediately found a favorite play and had to take some time away from Captain Cooks Casino NZ to break down this “explosion” play  that went for 44 yards, and share it with you. I call it the GTE Sweep Read, but I am sure that Oregon and other coaches have a different name for it.

It is variation of the “Sweep Read” that I analyzed in the Chip Kelly offense over a decade ago, and on the Spring Game telecast–former Oregon Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti referred to it as a “G-Series,” meaning a guard is pulling. In this play, we do see the guard pulling (G) and a tight end (TE) pulling from his H-Back position and slicing across behind the line of scrimmage to help seal the edge with a key block.

We are also doing a “Read” of a defender as the quarterback and running back are doing the mesh, thus a guard (G) plus a tight end (TE) = (GTE) running a sweep. Let’s take a look at the play before we begin the breakdown, and watch it again when we’ve discussed it fully. It’s a cool play that Coach Chuck Smith (Smith72) and I were hoping to see–and now we have!

After you view the video above, let’s see what makes it all work below!

It is important to see what is going on with the backside of a play, as it also determines the success.

The play (above) is going to go to their right, to the top of the screen, but it is important to see what is going on with the backside, as it is essential to prevent backside pursuit from stopping the play before it gets going. Note that we have two receivers to the left, and it pulls three defenders to the left side–which helps right off with getting the numbers in the box we want.

Note also the light blue circle above, as the receiver is threatening a Bubble Screen, where he could catch the ball and run behind the block of his WR teammate. It is a great example of stressing a defense a couple of ways, and I was thrilled to see this, as it was routine back-in-the-day as an option on every play. (You know, the days when we scored 40-45 points a game?)

Note also how the quarterback Ty Thompson, is looking at a linebacker above and “reading” him as he does the mesh with the running back. Since the LB is “sitting,” the correct read is to hand off to the running back which Ty did.

So cool–all the blockers have a great angle to attack.

I just love how everyone has a great blocking angle, meaning that instead of trying to drive someone off the LOS, you are blocking them from the side, of which is a whole-lot easier. This is a different philosophy that before, and I am thrilled.  Above, you will see 1 (who is No. 71 Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu) teaming with 2, (who is No. 55 Marcus Harper) to drive the nose tackle (NT) inside.

The left guard, or  4 (who is No. 53 Ryan Walk) is going to pull and run to the right; he has a defensive tackle over him (DT) who will be blocked by the center, 3 (who is No. 58 Jackson Powers-Johnson) and the OLB will be blocked by 5 (who is No. 70 Dawson Jaramillo) to complete the LOS angle blocks inside or down. The tight end, TE, (who is No. 4 Spencer Webb) is going to slice across the back of the line of scrimmage to block the defensive end, DE on the other side. Nobody is trying to do it the hard way–so much more fun!

It is all going well so far!

Part of this new variation that makes it fresh, is how the running back above is taking the mesh but does not have his shoulders automatically turned parallel to the sideline. The play is designed to the right, but if the defense over-reacts and vacates their usual spots, the running back has the option to blast it up the middle or bend it to the left if the defense has over-pursued to the right side. (We saw that happen often in the CK years, and it created superb cut-back lanes.)

The quarterback above is “reading” the linebacker and since he is “sitting,” the running back is handed the ball. Again, if the defense over-compensated to the right and a running lane was open–the QB can pull the ball and run down the backside of the defense.

At the red arrow above–Ryan Walk has met the defensive end and is putting a licking on him. The two green arrows are the tight end coming down the LOS and the middle linebacker who are eyeing each other as they anticipate the upcoming “play-date” in 1.5 seconds.

Look at the red circle above as this is crucial to the play; the receiver to right released inside…or he is trying to release inside. The corner looks like he has instructions to not let the WR go on a slant pattern or go inside to block the safety. Thus this defensive back is getting pulled into the box from the perimeter!

Hat-on-Hat? It’s a beautiful thing…

The red arrow above is the receiver blocking a safety who has come up for run support, and the defensive back (DB) has been drawn away from the edge of which leaves the sideline open–thanks to a great block (green arrow above) by Spencer Webb on the middle linebacker. Noah Whittington, No. 22, has a giddy-up in his step as he sees open field in front of him! Now, let’s look at the play again and marvel at the teamwork…

At the beginning of the play above–please note how the receiver at the top goes in motion to re-position inside a bit more, and how at the snap the defender seems to be doing a “press” coverage and is trying to prevent his movement inside. Coach Aliotti was right in the telecast in that there is no “force” defender, a player on on the outside dedicated to forcing the plays inside where linebacker pursuit can stop the play.

Boy, there is a ton going on in this play and you may have noticed all the options built into the play to attack a defense in so many ways thus it is difficult to defend them all. This could be a Bubble Screen, a quarterback run, or a running back taking any one of three paths after receiving the football. Whew! What a great play to study, and this is the beginning because…

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

Charles Fischer    (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
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