Every week, the Oregon Ducks offense moves up the rankings in total offense; the only week they dropped was during their bye week. The Ducks currently sit as the No. 3 offense in the nation with 526 yards per game. That’s the best yards per game stat line since the 2015 season, and their 42.4 points per game is the highest since the same year.
Against the Cal Golden Bears, like he has all season, Coach Kenny Dillingham used a handful of plays that were devastating to the opposing defense. One of those plays are what’s known as the Four Verts concept. It’s a fairly simple concept used to stretch the defense and attack weaknesses in a variety of coverages. It becomes even more difficult to contain when Coach Dillingham implements the Texas route underneath.
As the name distinctly states, the concept is comprised of four vertical routes. In the example we’ll be looking at, the Ducks go to a twins look out of 12-personnel (RBs:1, TEs:2). The outside tight end and wide receiver run their verticals along the bottom of the numbers, while the inside receivers run theirs’ up the seam.
The running back then runs his Texas route underneath them. For anyone unfamiliar with the route, the RB attacks almost as if he’s also going vertical before planting his foot and angling back inside.
There are a few ways that this concept attacks coverages, and we’re going to take a look at how it succeeded against Cal. You can see above that the Golden Bears look to be running some sort of match concept or mixed coverage, which is why the inside defenders look like they’re running man while everyone else is in zone: they’re “carrying” the inside verts.
Because of the Cover-2 look on the outside, Bo Nix could try to thread the ball to the outside receiver, between the corner and safety, but he does the smart thing and takes the Texas route. The four verts have completely cleared out the middle of the field, giving Noah Whittington plenty of room to work, and score.
The Four Verts is just another way that Coach Dillingham gets his athletes in space. It’s a concept with easy reads for his QB, and when run as efficiently as Oregon has, is difficult for opposing defenses to stop.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Nancy Paiva
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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