The Oregon Ducks have moved on from Marcus Mariota and his replacement is doing just fine. In their matchup with the Stanford Cardinal, Vernon Adams connected with Taj Griffin for a game changing touchdown pass. Mark Schofield demonstrates how a well-executed mesh concept resulted in the score.
Last week, Inside the Pylon broke done some of the main concepts of Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense that the coach currently implements at Washington State. Perhaps Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost read the column, or, more likely, he reviewed the game film from the Ducks’ game against the Cougars. But with time winding down in the third quarter, Oregon turned to one of these concepts for a long scoring play.
With just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Ducks lead by five and face a 1st and 10 at the Stanford 49-yard line. Quarterback Vernon Adams is in the shotgun with 10 personnel on the field, in a doubles alignment with slot formation on each side of the field. Running back Taj Griffin (#5) stands to the left of the QB in the backfield. The Cardinal have a 3-4 defense in the game, showing Cover 1:
Just prior to the snap, wide receiver Devon Allen (#13) comes in jet motion from the right, with defensive back Kodi Whitfeld (#5) trailing him across the formation, signaling man coverage. Allen continues toward the sideline on a swing route, while the offense employs this play:
The Ducks use the mesh concept on this play. While Allen works to the sideline on the swing route, Charles Nelson (#6) and Bralon Addison (#2) run the crossing routes underneath. Darren Carrington (#7), who begins the play on the left, runs a seam route. But the target here is Griffin, who runs a wheel route out of the backfield.
The running back gets completely lost in the fray:
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The actions of the secondary here indicate perhaps a blown coverage, with some defenders settling into underneath zones, while some, such as Whitfeld and Alijah Holder (#13), seem locked into man coverage. For example, Holder stays directly on the left hip of Carrington on his seam route and doesn’t even turn around to see what is going on behind him until it is too late. The only player who is completely uncovered is Griffin. Adams identifies the open RB immediately and delivers an accurate throw to Griffin along the sideline. From there, the running back is able to force one missed tackle – bouncing off Holder who has just turned around to see what is happening behind him – and races to the end zone for the 49-yard score.
Here is another view of how the running back got lost in the shuffle by the defense:
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The long scoring play gave the Ducks a 12-point lead, and they would hold on for a 38-36 victory. But the perfect execution of the wheel route – off the mesh concept – stands out as a well-designed and implemented play.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.