The Oregon Ducks Offense: The Bunch Toss

Coach Eric Boles Analysis

The sky is falling! At least that’s what you’ll hear in the days leading up to the Oregon Ducks’ matchup with the Eastern Washington Eagles. Some will gravitate towards the gloom and doom of an incredibly tough loss to the Georgia Bulldogs and miss the light beyond those dark clouds. Was the game frustrating? Yes, but there is quite a bit we can pull from it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the comparison, but in 2009, Coach Chip Kelly opened his head coaching career with a loss to the Boise State Broncos in which his offense mustered a mere 152 total yards. But from there, his team never looked back, and the Ducks ended the year with a 10-2 record and a spot in the Rose Bowl. I truly expect a similar path for Coach Dan Lanning.

The Toss

But comparisons to other coaches isn’t our focus today. Instead, we’ll take a look at a play Coach Kenny Dillingham used to help the Ducks rush for 140 yards against the Bulldogs defense. The play we’re talking about is the Bunch Toss, a concept popular within pro-style rushing attacks.

Like the Down-G concept, the Bunch Toss is a play that combines both zone blocking and gap blocking in a pin and pull scheme that gets the back on the perimeter.

In our specific example above, everyone to the left of the right guard is going to engage in outside zone principles, blocking the first opposite color jersey to their play-side gap. They won’t worry about blocking the backside defensive end as he should never be a threat to the play. And because the backside corner is in the same boat, the WR will look to the next level.

The tight end and the outside wide receiver to the play side are both going to block down. The TE will end up sealing the last defensive lineman to the inside, while the WR cracks the overhang defender.

The two pullers are the slot receiver and the right tackle. The slot pulls around the two down blocks and looks to kick the play side corner out, allowing the pulling tackle to create an alley for the back. The corner will almost assuredly be at some depth because defenses do not press the bunch.

In the first example above, everything is setup beautifully for a 10-yard gain by Sean Dollars. Just take a look at the raw power of right tackle No. 71 Aumavae-Laulu Malaesala as he picks up a two-for-one block. On the very next play, the overhang defender (No. 23) aligns wider instead of over the tip of the bunch, forcing the WR to have to stalk block him. This creates a situation where the play is strung to the outside, but great blocking, and vision from Dollars, springs another 9-yard gain.

The game last Saturday wasn’t ideal. Typically, when breaking in a completely new system, you don’t want to open with the freakishly talented reigning national champions. That’s not the case this coming Saturday, and I expect a major bounce back from the Ducks.

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

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

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