Play Analysis--Cal Offense Vs. Nevada Part 1

This is the first time I've ever tried to analyze a play. Keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that I'm a fan and I don't always know the technical terms (or even the non-technical terms).

I wanted to break down one offensive drive. I thought it might help my recurring nightmares about the offense if I knew exactly what went wrong.

I'm choosing to break down the second drive of the game. It's a pretty horrible drive (6 plays, 2 total yards), but it is also a pretty fair representation of our initial gameplan. What were we trying to do? What happened? And who can we blame? So, let's get to it!

Drive Two, Play One: The Read Option

1st and 10 from the 34 yard line

Here's what the pre-snap looks like:



The offense lines up in a shotgun set with offset RB (not sure about the technical term here). 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB.

The defense is in a 4-3 with the secondary playing deep.

Now here's what it looks like immediately after the snap.



It's a read-option! I have managed to use my craptastic editor draw a salmon-pink "vision cone of accuracy" to show what the QB (Bridgeford) is looking at. He's totally checking out the unblocked LB, who has come up a bit to bump the TE.

Let's look at the line here. RT #75 (Summers-Gavin) has started to charge upfield towards the unblocked LB, as the RG has taken care of the DT lined up across from him. But something is wrong. Dark harbingers of fail are circling the play, but it isn't clear yet what they all mean.

Will he give it or keep it? It's a complete mystery! It's an option!



He gave it to the RB! But was that the right read? I think so, though this play has very little chance of succeeding either way at this point. The LB is not crashing on the RB, and it doesn't look like the QB could have gotten around him. So give it to the RB!

But now, let's look at the line. Something has gone terribly wrong. Even though the RG has cleared his man, big ol' #75 is right in the middle of the play. It seems he hasn't pushed his defender out of the RB's route.

Things are looking dire.



Now the play is pretty much over. The RB has to shift to the right (you can see this clearly on the video below) to try to get around #75 and his guy, which pushes him right into the waiting embrace of the LB. Gain of three yards.

So who should we blame? Tedford? The QB? The RB? The RT#75?


At first I thought it was on the QB, for making the wrong read. But the LB is clearly holding position and maintaining contain. The QB does the right thing (though he may make the decision a little early, and not sell the keep).

Then I thought it was on whoever designed the play. Why is the option so far away from the LB? It looks like he can cover both the keep AND the give since there is five yards on either side. But that isn't the problem either.

The problem is that the DTs stunt (criss-cross) and #75 doesn't realize it until too late and the DT on the other side of the play has penetrated into the RB's path.

Let's look again, and this time I'll use the fancy editor again to try to draw stuff.



Okay, here's the presnap look with lime green and magenta lines drawn in to show you how the DTs will stunt. Lime will shoot in front of Magenta, and Magenta will shift around behind him. I think that's called a stunt. I have no idea why.

Now let's look at the same picture with the blocking assignments (running out of colors).



Lots of colors, I know. OK, the center (blue dude) comes out to block Magenta, and the RG (red dude) comes out to block Lime. #75, the RT (gold dude) looks like he has the option of either doubling Lime or, if the RG is doing his job, moving up into the LBs.

So now that we see the assignments, we can understand what happens. The guard takes out Lime, but Lime isn't the problem. It's Magenta! Since Magenta is stunting, the center cannot block him, and has to follow him like a lost puppy. #75 doesn't see the stunting DT until he's already in the gap. At which point #75 tries to push him out of the way, but the center is on the other side of him. It's an OL-DT-OL sandwich! And that's a lot of meat right in the middle of the running lane.

The video is below. If you watch carefully, you can see RT #75 begin to release towards the linebackers before he notices (WOOP!) the stunting DT coming in behind him. To his credit he tries to come back to the block, but the damage is already done.

And Slo-Mo:


This play didn't work for a couple of factors, but the biggest one is that the DTs stunted and the OL didn't know what to do about it. It's a very good defensive playcall against the option (maybe we could take a note or two from it?).

Still, the play had a chance to succeed if one of two things had happened:

(1) If the RG had actually pushed the crashing DT into the pulling one, thus disrupting the stunt. The RG seems to let Lime take himself out of the play, but that opens up space for sneaky Magenta around the backside,


(2) If the RT hadn't been in such a hurry to get downfield. If he turns to double the lime DT, he would have seen Magenta coming in to blow up the play. In fact, because of the stunt, the RT could have really knocked open a giant running lane, since the LB he was supposed to block looked out of position anyway. It could have been a huge play.

But it wasn't.


Wow, that took longer than I thought. Thanks for bearing with my first attempt at this. Depending on response, maybe I'll finish the project (to analyze every play of the second drive). The second play is a particularly interesting one . . .

Go Bears!

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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