Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BCS Championship - Oregon's New Looks

Chip Kelly and Oregon unveiled a few new looks for the BCS Championship Game this past monday night. It definitely appears as though these new looks may be a glimpse into part of the base Oregon that Kelly and the Ducks will operate out of next season. With Kelly being one of the big innovators currently of the spread offense in college football (along with his counter part Guz Malzahn) it appears as though he is looking for more ways to use misdirection and the option while also involving the numerous athletes he has at his disposal.

No pictures yet, only diagrams.

The first look Oregon took to the field with was a two-back look with one being an H-back, very similar to some of Auburn's standard sets. Before the snap they motioned the slot into the backfield, who eventually becomes the dive back on the inside zone read. The H-back releases outside to block the force player, and the set tailback becomes the pitchman. In all reality this isn't something that's completely out of left field. Other teams have been motioning backs into the backfield and running zone read already.

They also showed the exact same play, they just moved the H-back to other side of the formation. This play appeared to be more of a double option than the first time they ran it, with the dive being simple a flash fake. I could be wrong or it could've been the comfort level of the QB and RB working the mesh.

Off of the same look as the first play, they ran a direct isolation play with the H-back leading through the interior of the line and the motion man taking the hand off.

Another look they showed was motioning James the tailback out of the backfield, creating an interior bunch with a flanker look. On the second play of the game they threw a spacing concept to the backside receiver out of this formation. Shortly after they would run a shovel option play using the #3 of the bunch as the pitch man. They ran shovel a few times that night.

Another prominent new look was a dual H-back look they used a few times. The first time they ran it they motioned the slot into the backfield and ran what could be considered an outside zone or jet sweep read. Thomas (QB) ended up keeping on this play, but wasn't really able to do much. The dual H-backs lead opposite of the play, apparently to seal backside if the QB were to keep it.

Off of this play they executed a few different pass plays. They ran two different naked plays away from the jet motion. The naked was set up nicely because of the dual h-back's flowing opposite on the original play.

Finally, Oregon scored a touchdown throwing a screen to the RB away from boot action.

In all honesty, I really don't think any of this stuff was revolutionary. Bits and pieces of what Kelly was doing Monday night have already been done by the likes of Urban Meyer, Dan Mullen, Rich Rodriguez, Tony Demeo and more. The thing that excites me as a lover of offense is the fact that I think Kelly was barely skimming the surface of possibilities. Kelly now has an entire offseason to tinker with these ideas and take his offense in an even more expansive direction, tailoring it to the fact that he will literally have a stable of runningbacks next year.

I definitely expect more dedication by Kelly to an actual option game (Thomas looked very hesitant pitching the ball). Along with that I would expect more formations and looks involving three backs in the backfield using motion to achieve this, but also out of set looks.

I think Kelly will also need to add some true counters in order for these kinds of looks to be as effective as they can be. Much like Malzahn at Auburn I think Kelly is reaching the point of combining the misdirection of the wing-t, with option, from both spread and condensed sets. Combine that with the break neck speed they (can) play with and the it now appears that Kelly is only starting to figure out what he can really do.

More than anything I'm just excited to see what comes.


  1. IMO The hardest part is how do they call all this stuff and then communicate it so fast..

  2. Agreed. I really wish I had more access to this, but in all honesty among the popular no huddle spread offenses this is the most highly guarded secret. The best I can do is direct you to Brohpy's great post about no huddle communication. Truly insightful if you haven't checked it out yet.