The Oregon Ducks have been extremely efficient in short yardage situations this season. That’s partly due to the incredible skill of the running backs, partly due to Bo Nix’s innate ability to execute quarterback sneaks and the rest due to the play designs of Coach Kenny Dillingham. Each week it seems as though the Ducks have a new concept for these short yardage situations.
Against the Colorado Buffaloes, Oregon broke out a new, old concept: the Flexbone Triple Option. Yes, this is the same Triple Option that the academy schools, and Georgia Tech under Coach Paul Johnson, have run for years. Of course, Coach Dillingham has added a few wrinkles of his own, including the personnel used, but it is still the same classic play at its core.
The blocking scheme itself is very similar to what you would see in a Zone Read. If any offensive lineman is covered by a defender, they will block that player. If they are uncovered, they will step to the next playside gap and look to engage in a double team with their line mate or climb to the second level of the defense. The last playside offensive player on the line, in this case a tight end, will work inside the edge defender, leaving him unblocked.
At the snap, the quarterback opens his hips and extends the ball for the full back. If the playside edge defenders stays put or widens, the QB will hand the ball off to the FB. If the edge crashes, the QB will pull the ball and run to the now empty lane. The wing back/RB that motioned into the backfield prior to the snap is the third option in this play. If the overhang defender takes the QB, he’ll simply pitch the ball to the RB.
In the clip above, notice the personnel that the Ducks use. They run the play from their 14J personnel package. It consists of six offensive linemen, two tight ends, a full back and a running back. They are also using linebacker Noah Sewell as the FB.
In this example, it actually looks like the handoff to Sewell was decided before the snap, based on Nix’s eyes. The fact that Oregon needed to pick up less than a yard makes the predetermined handoff a pretty easy decision. You can see how the rest of the play could unfold though, with the motioning RB creating pitch relationship with the QB.
Coach Dillingham continues to introduce interesting wrinkles to his offense, and it’ll be fun to see what the Ducks pull out of their bag of goodies next.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Craig Strobeck
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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