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Film Room: Deja Vu as Coles Left Wide Open

Logan Thomas threw only one touchdown against Georgia Tech on Thursday, but he couldn't have asked for an easier throw to make as DJ Coles was wide open on the second offensive play of the game.

Kevin C. Cox

Kyle Fuller forced a fumble by Vad Lee and Brandon Facyson recovered the ball to end the Yellow Jackets' first drive prematurely. Two plays later, Logan Thomas hits a wide open DJ Coles for what is one of the easier touchdowns for the Hokies in recent memory. So why was it so easy? Solid execution and Georgia Tech's front seven selling out on the run.

This week's film room will look familiar as the last time we broke down a play, it was a Thomas-to-Coles play-action pass for a touchdown against ECU. I had full intentions of running a post on JR Collins's strip of Rakeem Cato, but the short week foiled those plans. Anyway, to the video and breakdown.

The video:

(the play starts around the 15-second mark)

The breakdown:


(click photo to enlarge)

Above is the play set up and the formations for each team, with VT players numbers listed instead of positions. Georgia Tech is set up in the base 4-3 with the safety Demond Smith lined up opposite of Knowles. Virginia Tech lines up in a singleback ace pair with Coles on the right side of the line more or less as the second tight end. Thomas will turn as if to hand off to to Edmunds while Coles drags to the left. The offensive line sells the run to the right and nearly all of the GT front seven buys it.


(click photo to enlarge)

Here's a still of the pre-snap (well, as close as I could get) with the main players highlighted. Knowles and Stanford are going to run straight down field to draw the secondary away from the left side of the field. With Knowles' speed, Smith has to keep with him all the way down field (you'll see that later) and Stanford does a solid job of blocking downfield (you'll also see that later). The GT linebackers of Brandon Watts, Jabari Hunt-Days and Paul Davis all seem to be playing the run with the man coverage on Knowles/Stanford. Edmunds will run right and the offensive line will drive the Georgia Tech defensive line down to the right. Jeremiah Attaochu is probably the only player that isn't sold on the run and he has a free run at Logan Thomas. If he can get there.


(click photo to enlarge)

As the play starts to develop, Hunt-Days, Davis and Watts all are keeping their eyes in the backfield on Edmunds. Attaochu has free run towards as the VT offensive line blocks right. Knowles and Stanford take their men deep down field--or as deep as you can get from the 21-yard line--while Coles will start to drag across the line. Kalvin Cline (who I swear is there, he's just hard to see) will take the right defensive end and David Wang will peel off his block to set up in pass protection of Thomas.


(click photo to enlarge)

Hunt-Days, Watts and Davis start to pursue the run gaps and Hunt-Days seems to be the only one aware of Coles coming across the middle. Wang will continue to peel back to block. Again, like the ECU touchdown, Thomas doesn't really sell the hand-off. But with the way the line sells the run, he doesn't need to. Georgia Tech bit hard, with the exception of Attaochu.


(click photo to enlarge)

By the time the play fully develops, Coles has a good amount of separation considering the closest defender is facing the wrong way (WANT TO FACE THE WRONG WAY? AT GEORGIA TECH, YOU CAN DO THAT!). Watts and Davis are still peering into the backfield, now seeing that Thomas still has the ball. He's like a magician. Wang will provide plenty of protection on the left side of the line while Edmunds and Cline keep Logan safe on the right side. Thomas has a unimpeded throw to Coles.


(click photo to enlarge)

By the time Coles has the ball gathered, he has very good separation from the closest defender and really only has to worry about Stanford's man (Young).


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Stanford is able to block Young just long enough to allow Coles to get by.


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You can see how far down the field Knowles is able to take his man. Solid execution on several fronts and selling the run well all made this look very easy for the Hokies.