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Taking a Broom to the Playbook and Thinking Fresh

Time to Change the Paint, Freshen the Drapes, Open the Windows… Doing more than just cleaning house for Fall

No O, No Go!  Let Brewer be Brewer, and the wins will happen
No O, No Go! Let Brewer be Brewer, and the wins will happen
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Time to Change the Paint, Freshen the Drapes, Open the Windows…

Wow, you'd have thought that I was watching way too many home improvement shows on the television.  Well, given the total lack of current football activity going on, you might be right, but the metaphor is apt.

At the end of this I am going to give a multiple choice question.  It's one of those cagy least best to best answer gimmicks, were you can answer with the $5 response, or come up with the $.25 clunker, but it'll be interesting.

Now, before I ask a question, I am going to get into the meat of what's on my mind for this week's foray into the Offensive mind of the Virginia Tech coaching staff.  Getting back to our metaphor, have you ever opened an old closet?  Maybe you pulled the light chain on the one from Grandma's house, or the flicked the switch inside the magic door under the stairs in the basement?  Yeah, that little room.

Your senses were assaulted by various musty odors, flying dust, and the realization that there was absolutely no organization to anything.  There were piles of boxes, a mattress, a broken hockey stick, a deflated football... ah a football... looks like a "Duke"... maybe it's worth something... If you could just reach it over the huge filthy rolled up rug that's been folded in half and propped up in the back since the Eisenhower administration.

Well, yeah that mental picture is what comes to mind when I think of the Offensive playbook and game plans that seem to just yellow and gather dust like old Koofer file that the staff just keep going back to for answers to the latest test.  Hey, there's an ‘app' for that guys, it's time to update the methods and thinking.

Ok, let's see how the fans do on some play calls, before the big question, I want to you really think about what you would do in these situations.  How audacious are you?

  1. You are at mid field the Referee is standing between you and the opponents' captain.  The Ref flips the coin, and it's the other guy's call.   "HEADS!" and the coin lands on the turf a big ole shining "TAILS".  What do you do; kick or receive?
  2. It's 3rd and 3 on the opponent's four.  What's the call?  FB Dive, HB Slant, what?
  3. You are stalling out with a 3rd and 1 on the opponent's 30, you just drove the field a few yards at a time, burned 8 minutes off the clock.  The score is still 0 to 0... Do you run a Dive and Kick a Field Goal if it gets snuffed, or do you run a naked bootleg to the wide side?

The questions aren't completely rhetorical, please, by all means tell us what you'd do for each one in the comments section.   And now for the grand moment of showing where you'd fit as an Offensive Coordinator - the job might be up for grabs at the end of the season (joke.. folks... joke...):

It's Tech's first possession after an opening kickoff (passive aggressively lost the coin toss - I suspect.) The run back from 3 yards deep in the end zone results in a pathetic loss of 7 yards so it's 1st down and 10 to go on the Tech 18 yard line.  Loeffler's headset goes dead... and your smartphone lights up.  It's Brewer from the huddle.  He's desperate for an opening play.  What opening play do you call?

  • A: Slot Right Spread 2-1 Read Option (the standard Read Option handoff on a zone read to the halfback)
  • B: Split left Max Protect Power ‘I' Halfback (3-2) ISO.  (Bread and butter Half Back Dive Play)
  • C: Spread Option Right H-Slot 3-4 Dragster (my design for a 3 second drop pattern set - with a hot read for a 5 yard deep Tight End Left to Right Drag route.)
  • D: Twins Left Power ‘I' 3-2 Play action Boot 7-1 SuperFly (my design for a deep shot pattern set primary receivers in the read are on the right, play action is to the left side.)

Play notes:

‘A' is self-explanatory and doesn't need a bunch of discussion it's the regular first move for much of NCAA football.

‘B' is what it is, it's the first play everyone learned in T formation football, and with the exception of the backfield set is a just a dive play.

‘C' gets interesting, the "Dragster package" is designed to cut under the zone behind a blitzing Backer or Mike, and if the QB reads the Blitz properly the Tight End chips his block, and runs a drag route as fast as he can looking for the ball at ‘3 Mississippi' to come out at 8 yards max in the A gap vacated by the Blitzing player.  The 3-4 label means a 3 second drop target and 4 men in the pattern at three seconds.  (There are other crossing and out patterns that clear out defenders and are second and third read options, but a paper on route trees and receiver coverage theory I am not going to write here.)

The ‘D' option play is a fly route where there is a maximum 7 second drop with 1 receiver in that time pattern; this is a read, and the receiver needs to either run a straight seam, skinny post, or flag depending on what sort of coverage picks him up.   The underneath routes are intended to suck in defenders and leave a lone safety to be one on one with the streaking Flanker.  This works better when you have someone with a naval rifle for an arm, but it needs enough air to allow the receiver to run under it.

Just how aggressive do you think that first play should be?  Don't just vote, think about it and put your reasoning in the Comments section.  Or give me another play that could show Babcock that you should be the next OC.