Omigosh! The 14Josh Formation is Now a Stein-Staple?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Analysis

It was fun learning about a formation from the past being implemented at Oregon in 2022. The Ducks called it the “14Josh” as Oregon sent a sixth offensive lineman, true freshman (at the time) Josh Conerly Jr., out for multiple run plays in the big win over BYU early in the season. Adding an extra offensive lineman or two isn’t earthshattering, but Oregon also utilized three tight ends in the formation, with Patrick Herbert serving as a fullback in what was effectively 14 personnel (one back, four tight ends) lined up as 23 personnel with different players.

Add the quarterback taking the snap from center, and you had a formation from the 1960s, yet when adding the additional tight ends on one side–it had the capacity to create a heavy-package that would be hard for opposing defenses to stop. Would we see this again now that Conerly was a starter at left tackle in 2023? After three games–we have an answer!

14Josh formation in 2023 is working! (Screenshot from Pac-12 Network Video)

Against Hawaii–we watched as Bo Nix lined up behind the center for a traditional center snap, with a fullback behind him in Tight End transfer Casey Kelly No. 81, (Red arrow above) with power-back Jordan James in a deep set “I” formation.  Note the blue arrow above points to starting tackle Josh Conerly Jr. No. 76, and next to him as the new offensive tackle playing in the Tight End spot for this running play in No. 75, Faaope Laloulu. (Orange arrow above)

Outside of him as an H-Back is TE Terrance Ferguson, No. 3. (Black arrow above)

14Josh formation brings a ton of power into a small space. (Screenshot from Pac-12 Network Video)

When the play begins–note the backside seal blocks by the tight end, tackle and guard on the off-side of the play. (Orange arrows above) A BIG part of this play is the blocking “down” or inside by Laloulu and Conerly. They work to push the defensive tackles to the inside, a good angle, (Blue arrow above) so that the pulling guard, No. 55, Marcus Harper, fullback Casey Kelly, and tight end Terrance Ferguson can attack the defenders on the perimeter of the play. (Yellow arrows above)

It works well because you truly have hat-on-hat blocking through the front seven of the defense, and most is by angle or brute force. By the time Jordan James is met by secondary defenders–his head of steam is so strong that a touchdown cannot be stopped. The blocking was not perfect, as they still have improvements to make at game-speed, but it was a superb start.

Last year there were constraint plays or variations off this formation that created big first downs at key moments; that will be fun to watch for later in the season as well. Should a new name for this formation be created? Share your thoughts with me in the only civilized Oregon football forum out there because…

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Screenshot from Pac-12 Network Video

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