We’ve taken a good look at the Oregon Ducks run game the last few weeks, but today, we’re going to take a dive into their passing attack. The Ducks offense is averaging roughly 271 yards per game through the air this season, and quarterback Bo Nix is a top-10 passer with a 70% completion rate. The Ducks are a very balanced offense, and the efficiency of their passing game is a big part of that.
One play that has been used to reach this level of offensive efficiency is the Hitch Seam Y-Cross. It’s a simple concept, but Coach Kenny Dillingham does a couple of things with alignment to make it all the more difficult to defend. The first thing Coach Dillingham does with alignment is to go to an empty set to clear out the middle of the field.
As mentioned above, the play itself is fairly simple. It’s a mirrored concept, which means that the same routes are run on both sides of the formation. The mirrored portion of this play is the Hitch Seam. The outside receiver runs the four-yard hitch, while the inside receiver runs the seam route. The concept plays out a lot like All Verts, with the hitches preying on soft coverage.
Though the routes presented within the Hitch Seam are definitely options, here they’re used more so to occupy defenders and keep the middle of the field open for the Y-Cross.
In the video above, you can see another of Coach Dillingham’s alignment tricks. He has the tight end and running back both lined up as outside receivers. He does this because he knows that if the defense is in man coverage, there won’t be corners covering them. Notice that the defenders covering the outside receivers are a safety and a linebacker. Coach Dillingham forces the defense to declare their coverage through alignment.
Chase Cota gets leverage on the defender covering him and gets the ball for a 24-yard gain on the Y-Cross. Even if he hadn’t, take a look at how much room Bucky Irving has on the outside. Making the LB cover him in space is another product of the alignment.
The Hitch Seam Y-Cross is an awesome concept that works to get Oregon’s athletes in space: exactly what Coach Dillingham is looking to do.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Joe Jackson Jr.
Phil Anderson, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.
Eric resides in Central Ohio, just outside the capital city of Columbus. He is a former offensive assistant and return game coordinator for the Ohio State – Newark/Central Ohio Technical College Titans football program.
He is an OSU-N graduate, having completed a Bachelor of Arts program in psychology.
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