Coach Will Stein has made it clear that deep shots a huge part of his offense. He’s even stated that they would like to take at least two deep shots per quarter. This philosophy of an attacking air game works to keep defenses honest, and in turn create more room for the ground game. Not to mention that deep shots can create huge chunk plays for the offense.
One of Coach Stein’s favorite shot plays is the super simple, yet incredibly effective, Four Verts concept. There are a few different variations of this play, but all of them carry the same principles at their core. As the name implies, this concept is used to stress defenses vertically.
The two outside receivers in this version of the Four Verts concept will both run go routes with an outside release. The slot receiver runs a seam route, which is essentially a go route on the inside, with an inside release. Finally, the tight end aligned in the slot on the other side of the formation runs a crossing route.
The quarterback starts off by reading the safeties — pre-snap. He’s checking to see whether the middle of the field is open or closed. If there are two high/split safeties, the middle of the field is open, and his pass will more than likely be going to the crossing route. If there is only one high safety, the middle of the field is closed, and he’ll be going to one of the go routes on the outside.
The field being open or closed can always change post-snap, as defenses disguise their coverage, but the pre-snap read gives the QB a good idea of where to start.
In the clip above, the defense is in a one high shell — the middle of the field is closed. You’ll also notice that the single high safety has also cheated over to the right side of the field to help with anything vertical. This tells Bo Nix that his best matchup is Troy Franklin on the outside and he hits him for a 32-yard touchdown.
Deep shots are one aspect of the Oregon offense that fans can expect to see a ton of this coming season, and the Ducks definitely have the personnel to power them.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Mike Snow
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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