The following research was conducted as part of X&O Labs special report on QB generated run/RPO system.
By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
Editor’s Note: The following research was conducted as part of X&O Labs special report on QB generated run/RPO system. More information on this special report can be found by clicking here.
Perhaps nobody in the country runs the power read concept better than Coach Annese and his staff at Ferris State. They have the speed on the outside to get second level defenders to fly out of the run box, opening up seams inside for their dual threat quarterback Jayru Campbell, who was among the nation’s top rushers this season.
And when you have “dudes” running the perimeter elements on the power read as Ferris State does those linebackers really flow out of there, leaving opening the quarterback on pulls. The Bulldogs relied on these dual read schemes to produce the Division 2 player of the year Harlon Hill winner Jayru Campbell who rushed for over 1,400 yards in 2018. As Ferris State University offensive line coach Sam Parker told us, “There is no better mesh than a jet sweep in football. It’s consistent, you can block a lot of different fronts up and they play action because it opens up in the pass game is insane.”
Using Unbalanced Formations to Read an Interior Gap
Most offenses this off-season are exploring putting bigger bodies on the field and the staff at Ferris State is no different. However, the Bulldogs are a base 10 personnel unit, so those offensive linemen types are harder to find. But, in order to shorten the edge, the Bulldogs will use a three-man surface formation and leave the C gap defender (and not D gap defender) as the read. According to Coach Parker, it allows for a smaller tight end (or receiver in Ferris State’s case) to block out on a 9-technique and not down on a 7-technique defensive end. “Against an Odd front you mainly want to go read off the Tight End’s down block with a Tackle,” said Coach Parker. “We tried working on the Tight End and Tackle double team and we weren’t effective with it. Our tight ends were better base blocking than down blocking. So, versus four down with two linebackers in the box, we want to read the interior gap. We are serviceable enough to just have him block out. Reading the C gap player. That defender will either sprint out with that motion with the play. We always want a sure thing, so we run the QB.”
Arc Technique vs. 4i Defender
Another changeup that Ferris State is using in its power read scheme is arching the play side Tackle to block the box defender and making that defensive end be the read. According to offensive line coach Sam Parker, it was a good adjustment against defenses that will use an Indian front with two 2i techniques and head up defensive ends. It’s a pure option changeup that can get the defensive end stretched enough to create room for the quarterback run. “We had three weeks in a row where teams would run an Indian front, with two A gap DT and two tight defensive ends so they were two gapping on Tackles,” said Coach Parker. “You can’t try to tell a Tackle to block a B gap backer who is playing at seven yards so the Mike linebacker can beat us over the top. So, we attacked the B gap with leverage and the best way of doing that and the ability to read him. Best thing about power read and outside zone mesh is him coming flat five yards in the backfield and a tough angle for those linebackers to chase.”
The above research was conducted as part of X&O Labs special report on QB generated run/RPO system. More information on this special report can be found by clicking here.