Cal's loss to UCLA on Thursday night was ugly. I choose to look at the positive and the interesting with the Golden Spotlight, and Daniel Lasco's touchdown springing block showed a player overcoming adversity to help his team to execute a classic wing t concept in a 21st century package.
Lasco has struggled with injury in his final year at Berkeley, but he is still finding ways to contribute. There would be no statistical reward for Lasco on the play, but his run fake occupied two key defenders, freeing Darius Powe for a touchdown.
The play is a variation of the "waggle pass," which has been one of the most productive plays in football history (and which the great bucksweep.com calls "the best play in football"). The idea is simple - the run fake goes in one direction, the quarterback rolls to the other direction. The receivers also run in the opposite direction of the fake, layered down the field for the quarterback. The defense is in immediate conflict - the buck sweep (or, in Cal's case, the inside zone) has hopefully already been established, forcing the defense to respect the run, while receivers sprint in the opposite direction. The quarterback is left with a run pass option and receivers in clear throwing lanes at different levels down the field. The play can be both a clock grinder (the quarterback run or the short passes) or a home run ball (the deeper routes). Chip Kelly is perhaps the most prominent spread coach who employs variations of the play as a staple of his offense.
Compare to an "original" wing t waggle pass:
Cal did not have a good game against UCLA. Offensively, they struggled against UCLA's physicality and athleticism, failing to win in the trenches or consistently gain separation down the field. UCLA is a good team, but Cal's schedule is not getting any easier. If those problems persist, Cal's execution level will have to compensate for physicality/athleticism deficits, if Cal is to have success. Their goal line execution of the waggle concept is one such example of how to beat a fast, good, aggressive defense.
Keegan Dresow spent four seasons as the head coach of the Avedøre Monarchs of the Danish American Football Federation, is the author of Offensive Football Systems and Gridiron Cup, 1982, and is the operator of totalamericanfootball.com.