THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby lawdog on Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:22 pm

Good point LG. We used to do some of that bomb stuff with Bersin and Strickland, and certainly could with our current strong receivers. We could even let a HB throw it occasionally.
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby WTFan on Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:30 pm

LG you nailed it. Still want to be the traditional option team but have that pass threat in our hip pocket keeping defenses honest. To me, it is pretty obvious that this is what we've been missing these past few years. Also, perhaps we will not run as many dives now that, after 8 seasons, we will not have a #7 playing fullback.
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby mudrat43 on Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:24 pm

My prayer to the football gods every night before settling my weary head into the warm mud......."please WOF, sling that pigskin"!
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby lawdog on Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:06 pm

We must not forget that Newman was a terrific high school passer ... 57% completion rate, 47 td's vs. only 14 ints. A special talent. ... s-playoffs
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby Art Vandalay on Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:10 pm

I think we threw the ball more when our leading receiver was legally blind.
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby woffordgrad94 on Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:06 pm

Art Vandalay wrote:I think we threw the ball more when our leading receiver was legally blind.

:D You are right Art. In fact, I don't think I've seen us throw it as little as we did this year since Shawn Graves was the quarterback.
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby Eyes of Old Main on Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:11 am

While we discuss plays that Wofford ought to be installing, what about the pitch play Clemson used last night on the Gallman touchdown? All season I felt like we ought to be using some of our speedier backs in a jet sweep, but after seeing that, which amounted to a misdirection look out of a jet sweep formation, I knew we needed it. As successful as our line is at pulling to open holes, there's no reason we couldn't execute a play like that provided we also run a credible jet sweep to get the opponents guy to respect the sweep man and leave the one guy that rolls the opposite way free. If that pitch goes to someone with some speed and shake in a timely manner it might not yield a big breakaway run, but I bet it could get 5-10 yards pretty easily, plus potentially free up actual jet sweeps. Just a thought from a guy that knows nothing about the art of playcalling, but knows that we need to evolve if we are going to continue to develop.
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby lawdog on Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:10 am

A single piece of such creativity would have put us in the semis this year!
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby Ruckus on Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:49 am

Making the 1st PAT or getting 2 yards from the YSU 2 in 2 downs would have put us in the semis.
There are lots of elements of Clemson's run game that are very similar to ours, albeit out of different sets.
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Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby Loyalterrier on Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:44 pm

This year I remember seeing some O plays from other games in the country that were interesting. One was either Pitt or Syracuse on O. After the ball was hiked a big tackle on the left side ran right like a sweep and ran into the end zone for a TD. It surprised the other team and caught them off guard and also the tackle was big and fast for his size (not 4.5 speed but still for his size) and so with his size and speed and that it was surprise he made a TD. Another play from a different game showed a RB crouched down behind the OL - seemed like he was crouching in an effort to be unnoticed by the D - and just to the right of the center. He ran the ball to the left and scored easily and it looked the D was unaware that he had the ball until it was too late. Just simple but a little tricky plays that are not hard to execute and rely on catching the other team off guard.

Re: THROW THE FOOTBALL!!!! Not hard to see...

Postby lawdog on Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:59 pm

From of all places, today's Wall Street Journal, here is a discussion of the run/pass option that has been revolutionary in the last 2-3 years. Alabama finally realized they had to fold it into their offense to be more successful on offense. Are we doing this? Looks deadly. Thoughts? Heard of this?

The Most Dangerous Play in College Football

Jan. 8, 2017 10:04 a.m. ET

The most devastating play in college football combines the game’s most effective offensive schemes to produce something even more potent. It’s a play that upends years of football orthodoxy and only exists because of a polarizing rule change that has been slowly tearing the sport apart. And it’s a play that either No. 1 Alabama or No. 2 Clemson will use to win the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday night.

The play is called the “run-pass option.” But it’s better known inside the sport—for better and worse—by an abbreviation that has become part of every coach’s lexicon: the “RPO.”

Those three letters explain why Alabama coach Nick Saban reluctantly overhauled his offense and had to retool his defense this season. They also explain why Clemson is playing for the title for the second consecutive year.

The only problem with the RPO is also the reason it’s so unstoppable: It may break the rules of football. And the increasing reliance on this system across the sport has NCAA referees scrambling to officiate properly, offensive coaches racing to keep up with the latest strategy and defensive coaches tearing out what’s left of their hair.

It’s because of the way Clemson and Alabama use the RPO to their advantage that their rematch is more than a mere national championship. It’s a showcase of what modern college football has become.

The easiest way to understand the RPO is as the latest and most lethal evolution of the classic triple-option, said Mike Kuchar, the co-founder of X&O Labs, a football strategy firm. The triple option gives the quarterback three choices: hand the ball to the fullback; run the ball himself; or pitch the ball to the running back. The pitch was always the riskiest of the three options.

The RPO solves that problem. In recent seasons—and especially this year—college coaches realized that an obscure rule change had paved the way for them to replace the pitch with something more efficient: a pass.

This is such a new development that most college players never encountered the RPO when they were in high school. But it wasn’t long before even the most conservative coaches were furiously rewriting their playbooks to incorporate this innovation with the spread-offense schemes that had already made offenses more dynamic than ever.

In the 43-37 Ole Miss win against Alabama last year, the Rebels ran this RPO that resulted in a 73-yard touchdown pass. As quarterback Chad Kelly approaches the line of scrimmage, and with an Ole Miss lineman more than three yards downfield, Alabama defenders moved to defend the run, leaving the receiver open. After the game, Nick Saban sent the play to the SEC to review for an ineligible receiver downfield.

The RPO has changed the way football is played because it destroys the ages-old division between passing plays and running plays. That’s also why it’s so controversial: There are different rules for passes and runs. On passing plays, offensive linemen can’t block more than three yards down the field until the ball is thrown. But on running plays, that’s perfectly legal.

The RPO, however, is a running play and a passing play. And that deception capitalizes on a defensive principle that players are taught from pee-wee football. By rule, downfield blockers signal a running play, and defenders can stop worrying about a pass once they see 300-pound offensive linemen barreling at them.

Now, they don’t know what to do when they see that stampede of blockers while the ball-carrier can still throw to receivers—a huge advantage for the offense.

“The key to offense is being able to add a player into a play who’s unaccounted for by the defense,” said Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs. “That’s the game now.”

RPO critics say this type of play is effective not only because it tricks the defense, but also because it capitalizes on the referees’ difficulty penalizing linemen who are farther than three yards downfield when a run turns into a pass. The NCAA made the rule a point of emphasis this season, and that only revealed how often these calls were missed: ineligible-receiver-downfield penalties were flagged 90% more in 2016 than 2014, according to Stats LLC.

RPOs entered the mainstream because of a 2009 rule change that allowed linemen to block three yards downfield on a pass. But some coaches were horrified when they saw how that upended the game. They believed that blocking that far down the field shouldn’t be a part of football.

In response, the NCAA nearly changed the rule before this season to one yard, the same as the NFL. And then so many coaches protested that the amendment was scrapped.

On this RPO, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson opts not to give the ball to his running back and runs to his right. Watson, who had already run for two touchdowns in the game, is supported with linemen downfield if he chooses to run. But the Virginia Tech defenders go after him, leaving Hunter Renfrow open for a 15-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the game-winning score for Clemson in the ACC Championship.

“You would have thought you were taking the first-born child of the coaches that run these offenses,” said Rogers Redding, the NCAA’s officiating coordinator.

There is no team that has adjusted to the RPO era as much as Alabama—and for good reason. It cost the Crimson Tide the national championship following the 2013 season, said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who won the national championship instead.

Alabama missed the title game that year because it lost to Auburn in the 2013 Iron Bowl—the game that was decided by the famous “Kick Six.”

But the sharpest minds in college football remember that rare Crimson Tide loss because of what happened a few plays earlier: Auburn tied the game on a run-pass option in which quarterback Nick Marshall threw a touchdown pass right before he reached the line of scrimmage. Alabama fans still inspect footage of the play like it’s the Zapruder film and insist a penalty should have been called.

Auburn’s Nick Marshall connects with Sammie Coates for a touchdown in the 2013 Iron Bowl.
The Crimson Tide got used to seeing that sort of play. The last team to beat Alabama, Ole Miss, relies on RPOs. So does another team that gashed Alabama: Clemson in last year’s national championship.

Saban’s team now relies on the RPO even though he’s been one of its outspoken critics. But the coach who’s chasing his fifth national championship in eight years eventually realized it was lunacy not to exploit the rules like everyone else.

He downsized his defense in recent seasons to adapt to RPO-heavy offenses. And this season he embraced the RPO on offense by elevating true freshman Jalen Hurts to starting quarterback. Hurts ran for 891 yards—more than every Alabama quarterback under Saban combined.

If there are any teams that can stop the RPO, though, it’s the teams with the national championship at stake. Alabama’s marauding defense is one of the best in recent history. Clemson’s defense practices against Deshaun Watson, who represents a new breed of college quarterback: not only a mobile passer but also an RPO master.

“It’s our mini-lab,” said Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables. “Every day we find out what’s good and what isn’t.”
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