Attacking quarters is a challenge for some offenses, but Virginia Union has had great success with this concept. Read more here...
By Toriano J. Morgan
Pass Game Coordinator/WR Coach
Virginia Union University (Richmond, VA)
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A great deal of Virginia Union’s recent success and resurgence can be attributed to the emphasis they have placed on improving their passing game. That emphasis paid off this season as the Virginia Union Panthers finished 8-3 capturing an invitation to the D-2 playoffs for the first time in 24 years. The Panthers offense has also set several new school records over the past two seasons.
When installing a new offense, we looked to become more explosive and put a concentrated effort on moving the chains and being efficient in our passing game. Our Rocket concept and has allowed us to accomplish both goals and improve our overall offensive production. In just our first year, we finished the 2014 season ranked 1st nationally in yards per completion (17.6) and ranked 4th nationally in Passing Efficiency (168.4) while averaging 277ypg passing up from just 69 ypg a year prior. We also finished 1st in our conference (CIAA) in passing in both 2014(2,772) and 2015(2,618).
The Rocket concept encompassed everything we were looking for. It was simple while looking complex and it allowed us to put the ball in our athlete’s hands. Most importantly, it fit right in to all of our protection schemes.
The Rocket concept is a simple concept that we use out of our 3x1 set majority of the time. This concept entails a 15 yard stop route by the #1 receiver, a 12 yard option route by the # 2 receiver, and a 12 yard sit route by #3 receiver (as shown in diagram 1). We have experienced a lot of success with this concept as it allows us to attack the defense vertically and gives us unlimited options against blitzing defenses and quarters coverage. We have found that this concept is a very compatible to our quick game and has a direct effect on defenses when it’s time to stretch the field vertically.
Coaching the Stop Route:
We require that the receiver use a speed release off the football. We coach our guys against a soft corner to attack the defenders technique splitting the midline of his chest while quickly closing his cushion. Once he feels he has created a two way go he should step on the defenders toes, causing him to open his hips. Once he has opened the defenders hips, he is coached to continue to push the route to 15 yards. He will make his break opening his hips 45 degrees expecting the throw to be on his up field shoulder, providing him the opportunity to run after he makes the catch.
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- How Coach Morgan teaches the option route of number two, including which pre-snap alignment provides for the perfect horizontal stretch needed to run the route.
- How Coach Morgan teaches the sit route of number three, including what he must do to hold the safety in cover three structures.
- How tagging the number two receivers’ route can put a quarters safety in conflict, often resulting in explosive plays.
- The pre-snap and post-snap read progression of the quarterback.
- Plus game film of this concept.
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In closing, we have had great success throwing the ball and I believe it is attributed to several key points. We like to make sure our concepts are simple enough that our athletes understand where they are going and why. This will make a much more confident athlete that will produce big gains. While the Rocket concept is simple enough to teach at any level it also is flexible enough to attack any defense and gives your QB clear cut options.
Meet Coach Morgan: Toriano Morgan enters his 3rd season at Virginia Union University as the Pass Game Coordinator/WR Coach. He has had great success since arriving at Virginia Union University. During this span he has helped to develop the Panthers Offense into a record setting unit. The Panthers QB Shaheem Dowdy just received the Willie Lanier Award given to the best player in the state of Virginia (Non-D-1). This is the first time a Division 2 Athlete has ever won this award.
Prior to coming to VUU Morgan was the Offensive Coordinator at Boyd Anderson and McArthur High School’s in South Florida a hot bed for talented football players. His offenses have produced numerous All-State and All-County selections.
As Morgan made the leap to the collegiate level, his success followed. In his first year as the Virginia Union University’s Pass Game Coordinator, the Panthers finished #1 passing in the CIAA. The Panthers also developed a passing scheme that took the team from last place in the 2013 season to 3rd place in 2014 with points per game at 31.3. Morgan also helped ripen a passing average from 69.9 in 2013 to 409.3 in 2014
Morgan played his college ball at Tennessee State University while at Tennessee State, Morgan became a three year lettermen at WR, was the team captain in 2000, and helped lead the Tigers to Back to Back OVC Championships in 1998 and 1999 and obtain a #1 National Ranking.