The Oregon Ducks Offense: Play-Action TE Screen

Coach Eric Boles Analysis

Offensive coordinator Will Stein introduced a number of plays to the Oregon Ducks offense this season that made it one of the most formidable units in the nation. Much of what Coach Stein does from a passing game standpoint comes from the West Coast Offense, which utilizes horizontal and quick passes to force the defense to adjust before taking a downfield strike. One play he uses to take advantage of these tendencies is the Play-Action TE Screen.

PA TE Screen

We slightly touched on this play recently while discussing five of Coach Stein’s best play designs this season. The tight end screen is a scheme used by a number of NFL teams that have athletic tight ends. Coach Stein likes to disguise the scheme as another play altogether, and it has shown to be extremely effective for the Ducks.

As you can see in the diagram above, there’s a lot going on. Pre-snap, the wide receiver on the left side of the formation motions across the field to the other side. Coach Stein uses motion quite a bit, so right of the bat the defense’s attention has gone there.

At the snap, the quarterback and running back execute a play-action fake. The Ducks run game was efficient all season, so the defense has to respect the possibility of a run — the backside (left) guard even pulls to the right to sell the run that much more.

After all of this, the QB drops back as though he’s looking downfield to pass. There are crossing routes and a wheel to occupy the coverage. The Wing TE and the offensive line set up as if they’re pass blocking, briefly, before releasing downfield. The TE gets just beyond the rusher and turns to receive the ball — by this time the OL is downfield paving the way.

In the clip above, the Ducks run the TE Screen to perfection. Patrick Herbert receives the ball and follows the screening OL for a 49-yard touchdown — completely untouched.

The Play-Action TE Screen is just one example of Coach Stein’s creativity on display this season. It’ll be fun to see what else he pulls out in the Fiesta Bowl and beyond.

Coach Eric Boles
Columbus, Ohio
Top Photo Credit: Vasco Dixon

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

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!