The Oregon Ducks Offense: Pistol Play-Action Rollout

Coach Eric Boles Analysis

Under new offensive coordinator, Will Stein, the Oregon Ducks will look to utilize the Pistol to a greater degree than they did under Coach Kenny Dillingham. Though the Ducks have used the alignment with varying degrees of success over the past few years, Coach Stein uses the Pistol in slightly different ways, and the play-action game is one area he’s found success.

One of the run plays that Oregon will run from the Pistol is Wide Zone; a play we’ve seen many times before. When this play is hitting, Coach Stein will pull out a constraint play in the Play-Action Rollout. The route concepts in this type play-action play can vary, but for now, we’ll focus on the combos in the diagram above.

On this rollout play, the entire offensive line and the tight end start out as though they’re blocking for a weakside Wide Zone. After a beat, the TE leaks out on an arrow route. The wide receiver to the left of the formation runs a crossing route, while the WR on the right runs a comeback route and the slot runs the fade.

The quarterback is going to fake the handoff to the running back and then rollout to his right. From here the read is pretty simple. The arrow route and the comeback route create a hi-lo read on the corner, while the fade occupies the slot defender. If the corner covers the comeback, the arrow will be open and vice versa. If both of those are covered, probably by some sort of man coverage, the crossing route would be next in the progression.

In the clip above, you can see just how well the play fake from the Pistol affects the defense. Even though the defense is in man coverage, the play-action sucks them in, and the TE gets a clean release. He gets the ball and goes for a nice 17-yard first down.

Coach Stein looks to increase the Pistol looks for the Oregon Ducks this season, and play-action will be a big part of their success.

Coach Eric Boles
Newark, OH
Top Photo Credit: Harry Caston

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

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