Any good offense will have a play, or set of plays, to fall back on when in a tight spot. Whether it’s a variation on a simple route or a more complex concept, coaches will have their teams ready to run these plays through countless reps in practice. Ryan Dukarm breaks down the UCLA Bruins spot concept which appears to be the team’s go-to play in 2016.
Late in their season opener against the Texas A&M Aggies, the UCLA Bruins were faced with a critical 4th and 1, needing a first down to continue their drive and force overtime after trailing 24-9 with under five minutes remaining. The Bruins used the spot concept to not only get a first down, but move the ball down the field to set up a touchdown. This was the first game under new offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu, so we should expect to see more of the spot concept in his tenure as offensive coordinator.
UCLA comes out aligned in Gun right, tight bunch right, with Josh Rosen at quarterback.
Running back Bolu Olorunfunmi (#4) is in the backfield with Rosen (#3), and wide receiver Kenneth Walker III (#10), as well as tight ends Nate Iese (#11) and Austin Roberts (#88) are in the bunch formation. Walker III runs a crossing route from the bunch formation, which is not a part of the spot concept, but draws safety Armani Watts (#23) away from the spot concept. Iese runs a corner route from the top of the bunch formation, drawing coverage from Noel Ellis (#4) and Justin Evans (#14). Olorunfunmi runs a swing route out of the backfield, which occupies Shaan Washington (#33) underneath. These two routes free up Roberts on the hook route, as he sits down after running about 5 yards.
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Roberts catches the pass from Rosen, who is falling away from pressure as he throws. Evans is slow to recover after following Iese’s route down the field, and takes too aggressive of an angle at Roberts, who avoids Evans and is able to run down the open middle of the field for a gain of 24 yards.
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UCLA used the spot concept at a critical time in its Week 1 game against Texas A&M, down by two scores and desperately needing a first down. We should keep an eye out to see if it becomes a key part of the Bruins’ offensive play calling during the 2016 season and beyond under Polamalu.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @DBRyan_Dukarm. Check out the rest of his work, including covering the Steelers’ end around rush, and Buffalo’s double track block scheme and deep passing game.
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All film courtesy of DraftBreakdown.