Film Study - TECH on Offense vs UGAg

dressedcheeseside

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DaBuzz, I will offer my thoughts on this. I have been thinking about this exact subject.

I think the offense that you saw in the Georgia game is an evolution in CPJ's game plan that is a direct result of the "mesh attack" that VT started and it definitely involves passing. CPJ realizes our option decision making wasn't fast enough, and we have the ability to implement more play action passing. This is what we did on Saturday.

Some things I saw:
- fewer meshes in the game plan...
- slants! (We ran none against VT, I didn't count but maybe 7 against GA?)
- pass to A back in the flat
- the a back motion, and stop to vary the snap count
- rocket

Georgia attacked the mesh, and they didn't have nearly the success as VT did earlier in the season.

I suggest the game plan you saw us implement against GA is the answer to your question.


/
The question remains will we see more of this going forward, or was it specific to Ugag?
 

Mack

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1,361
I just finished watching every offensive series in slow motion, stopping to watch each play a few times in order to see what went right and wrong. I have to say I feel like our guys did well. We left some points on the field, though, with errors at critical times. Obviously, this is a game we could / should have won. By the end of this writing that should be painfully clear if it isn't already.

UGA came out in pretty much a straight 5-2 alignment with the back 4 all lined up across the field at about 8 yards off the line, effectively putting 9 in the box. I say 5-2 because the OLBs in their 3-4 were basically at the LOS on the outside shoulder of the DEs. The MLBs were opposite the OGs about 4 yards back. One interesting tactic they used was to line up the entire DL about a yard back from the neutral zone in an effort to gain an advantage against the cut blocks on the interior. It looked kind of odd truthfully. I think they may have been the first team to do that. They tried to crash the A gap with a blitzing MLB occasionally, but had a much harder time than prior opponents timing our snap counts, so it wasn't nearly as effective. They obviously tried to keep it simple for them and just letting them play from that single formation. The only time they changed was in 3rd and long type situations where the safeties backed off. We countered this defense by doing a lot of zone blocking and giving them unbalanced OLs and bunched formations with the WRs pulled in. It worked to a great degree on the interior where our OLs were very effective, but less so on the perimeter.

When I counted numbers with the unbalanced OL to the field side, it gave us an apparent numerical advantage every time. However, it didn't really materialize on the edges like it appeared it should. There were two recurring problems in that formation that may have cost us the game. First off, the WR on the weak side TE position got blown up regularly allowing the backside DE or OLB to make plays. Secondly, when toss sweeps went wide to the side with an advantage, pulling OLs repeatedly ran past would be tacklers heading for the second level resulting in a surplus of gold helmets out there with nobody to block. Those had to be assignment busts. It was really quite maddening. When you count the numbers, they weren't needed out there, they already had an extra guy. The primary LBs in pursuit needed to get whacked and weren't. Several crucial plays during the game were blown up this way, not with a defender beating a block, but instead being passed up in favor of air further down field. I know our offensive scheme is more complicated for the blockers. It is hard to routinely pass up certain players and always make the right decisions. OLs in traditional offenses don't really have that dilemma because nobody is being optioned off. Still, these errors were costly and needed to be executed better.

IMHO, the game swung on a few critical plays. I will list them in chronological order. 1. first half possession in the RZ, toss sweep was blown up as described above resulting in FG try. 2. Late in first half, with a 20-0 lead and just a few minutes to go before the break, a seemingly harmless option play went for 7 as Vad took the wrong option and kept. Viewing it live, it looked like a good play because of the gain. In slow motion it revealed that their LBs had BOTH gone for Vad (who cut inside of them) leaving Godhigh all alone for the pitch. There were only 2 defenders left on that entire side of the field, each with a gold helmet on them well away from the ball. A pitch there goes for 40 at least (think Clemson or UVA) and totally changes the complexion of the first half. It could have been the knock out blow. 3. Missed FG, nuff said. 4. Horrible decision on pick by Vad. 5. The toss to RG in OT2 that got blown up in the same fashion described above. It is a shame that a play action (toss sweep) pass wasn't thrown to Summers because the CB jumped the play without a thought given to defend the pass. A counter handoff to a reversing AB would have been wide open too. In any case, hindsight is always 20/20.

Position reports:

QB: I give Vad a B for the day. He wasn't asked to do much that he was uncomfortable with. We stayed away from the option for the most part. He screwed up two option reads big time, one already mentioned, and a give to Sims right into the unblocked DE. Both were costly. The second stalling the last drive in Q4. He had the bad pick that came at a horrible time, but other than that, he stayed aggressive and made some huge throws that took advantage of a defensive team that was over-playing the run. The last play of the game just wasn't there. I don't know if this is really fair to him or not, but I think he needed to try and buy time (by leaving the pocket) for something else to pop open. He stood there frozen and then tried to force in a prayer.

BB: Sims ran like a champ. It was like an NFL game on the interior. I have a lot of respect for the talent of the UGAg DL and MLBs. It was tough sledding and Sims was up to the task, moving the sticks on effort alone much of the time. He gets an A from me. Without him, we aren't even close.

AB: Days and Godhigh continue to block exceedingly well. RG, once again just keeps making plays, in the air and on land. They both get As. The rest, not so much. Bostic had a tough day blocking and running.

WR: B+. Smelter had a great day and Waller made a big catch along with Summers. However, blocking out of the TE slot on the unbalanced line didn't go well. Summers got beat some on the edge too.

OL: B-. To be fair, they had a tough assignment. At the point of attack, it was one of their best days. They picked up guys jumping the count and they won most of the zone blocking "mano a mano" battles. However, on the edge and at the second level there was confusion and whiffs that limited our production and, ultimately, cost us the game.

Coaching: B. I think CPJ called a good game, with a few exceptions. Our formations put us in a good position to succeed with what they were doing. However, I don't think the OLs were really ready for the perimeter blocking portion of their assignments in terms of the unbalanced formation going against their defensive alignment. Our kids were mentally and emotionally ready to play and played hard. It appears they believe in the system and their coach. I got a little miffed at coach during his meeting with the Reverend after the game at midfield. Richt was trying to show a little sportsmanship and Johnson just kind of shook his hand and gave him a cold shoulder. It wasn't one of his better moments. People notice stuff like that, or I do anyway.

Oh, and by the way, I didn't see any cheap stuff going on in the piles with UGA players like we have seen in the past. No cheap shots or twisting of ankles etc. I give them kudos for that. It was really a pretty clean game. I also tip my hat to the SEC refs who apparently called a very fair game. That hasn't always seemed to be the case in the past either.
Boomer been many days since I have done film work but my overall pick was we played hard on both sides of the ball yet the fiedl goal hurt us.Give us seven and we are up by 2 tds plus.It is clear to me that Vad is a good athlete yet its also clear he is not completely running the option.He has great arm and its nice to see the ball in the air but we are not real smooth on the pitch.I give georgie credit though when Godhing went in motion they started rolling up the secondary. Sort of like the the old 52 rotation on pass plays.They stopped us wide which surprised me.yeah good game but a loss we could have turned into a win. Yep PJ still is his worst enemy with press .I thought MR gave us props but PJ sort of turned me off.If I could bring one play back it would be the second down pass call that led to the pick for Georgie..Not that a pass was not a poor call but why not throw it short and quick so Lee would just take a step and sling it rather than looking into the eyes of puppies..Hate the loss but you are spot on about what happened.They killed us at times with lb dog like other teams have done ..............BUT OUR GUYS DIDNT THROW IN THE TOWEL AND TO ME..........THAT WAS BRIGHT SPOT OF WHOLE GAME.WE COMPETED.
 

Boomergump

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Boomer, I have a couple of questions that I'm hoping you can answer for me. Perhaps I should start another thread but this one seems to have veered away from just the UGA game analysis anyway, so I thought I'd just continue along that veered-thread-concept.
1) I've heard CPJ say many times at events that "there is an answer to everything a defense does with this offense". In other words, no matter what someone does, we have a way to counter it supposedly. HOWEVER, whenever we have faced teams that have a combination of very big & strong interior linemen and good speed on the outside, we have had no answer for it. For instance, LSU, Iowa, Virginia Tech, and Miami routinely line up DT's on either side of the center in the A gap and just have the guy jump between the guard/center and try to disrupt the mesh point and force the play outside. I've yet to see us counter this play. Is there a counter to it without being able to throw the ball effectively downfield a majority of the time?
2) When teams employ such a strategy, why do we not narrow the splits between our OL? I know the concept for wide gaps is to create the blocking angles, but certainly those are thrown out the window when you cannot get the ball away from the QB, aren't they?
Thanks for asking. I think Fatmike is correct on a lot of what he says. Let me add a couple thoughts.
The biggest reason for wide splits is creating running lanes. It is called "spread" because we separate defenders out more than other formations with the splits and then create weak areas and manpower advantages by leaving players unblocked and optioning them off. Optioning a player is less effective if the area is crowded with defenders. It is why you see we are able to run against most defenses even when other teams may not. IMHO, the most important thing we can do to stem the tide of guys jumping our A gap by timing the snap count is to VARY the snap count. It is kind of like a pitcher holding runners from the stretch vary their looks and times. We tried this earlier in the year with disastrous results in terms of penalties. Nobody hardly noticed against UGA because we were better at it. We can and should take it a step further if you ask me. We could get to the line a little quicker, send an AB in motion, have him stop, read the defense as they tip their hand, alter the play, and then go on a predetermined count.

Any defender who jumps a gap routinely is in danger of really hurting his team against our offense. To counter this, we could run the MESH toward the next gap over, in effect allowing us to option two players at once, the jumper and the DE (or LB). We could run mid-line more. That is one rarely used element in our offense that mystifies me, to be honest. It is the perfect play call against that and we just haven't run it much since JN was here. My guess is that we just don't execute it well with our current players yet. The one game it was hugely effective recently was the Clemson win in 2011.

I think what you are talking about is really part of a bigger problem, and not just guys jumping A gaps or having good interior DLs and LBs who can run, and us having no answer. The defensive strategy against us has shifted towards a 9 in the box (safeties centered at about 8 yards off the ball and as many as 2 LBs at the LOS) and overplay the run most of the time philosophy. I think SYR was the only team not to run this against us this year. If we happen to pass, they just keeping coming with numbers and force an early throw. In situations like this it is really hard to get a hat on, or option off everybody. We must learn to hit hot routes passing and adjust on the fly. Until we burn teams with the pass, we will continue to see it. We are just now starting to see some growth in this area.

Saying we have no answer is a bit of an overstatement if you ask me. The teams you mentioned have been able to slow us down some, but at the end of the day we have moved the ball on the ground, just maybe not explosively as we are accustomed. The Iowa game is only one I can think of where it appeared we didn't have an answer. I think there was one Miami game a while back(2009?) where we just looked exhausted and blocked nobody on the perimeter. It was ugly in terms of execution. Generally speaking, good defenses will make it harder. They do for everybody. For VT this year, we moved it plenty well enough to win the game, WHEN WE ACTUALLY GOT A PLAY OFF without a flag or handed them the football.
 

daBuzz

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Messages
965
Thanks for asking. I think Fatmike is correct on a lot of what he says. Let me add a couple thoughts.
The biggest reason for wide splits is creating running lanes. It is called "spread" because we separate defenders out more than other formations with the splits and then create weak areas and manpower advantages by leaving players unblocked and optioning them off. Optioning a player is less effective if the area is crowded with defenders. It is why you see we are able to run against most defenses even when other teams may not. IMHO, the most important thing we can do to stem the tide of guys jumping our A gap by timing the snap count is to VARY the snap count. It is kind of like a pitcher holding runners from the stretch vary their looks and times. We tried this earlier in the year with disastrous results in terms of penalties. Nobody hardly noticed against UGA because we were better at it. We can and should take it a step further if you ask me. We could get to the line a little quicker, send an AB in motion, have him stop, read the defense as they tip their hand, alter the play, and then go on a predetermined count.

Any defender who jumps a gap routinely is in danger of really hurting his team against our offense. To counter this, we could run the MESH toward the next gap over, in effect allowing us to option two players at once, the jumper and the DE (or LB). We could run mid-line more. That is one rarely used element in our offense that mystifies me, to be honest. It is the perfect play call against that and we just haven't run it much since JN was here. My guess is that we just don't execute it well with our current players yet. The one game it was hugely effective recently was the Clemson win in 2011.

I think what you are talking about is really part of a bigger problem, and not just guys jumping A gaps or having good interior DLs and LBs who can run, and us having no answer. The defensive strategy against us has shifted towards a 9 in the box (safeties centered at about 8 yards off the ball and as many as 2 LBs at the LOS) and overplay the run most of the time philosophy. I think SYR was the only team not to run this against us this year. If we happen to pass, they just keeping coming with numbers and force an early throw. In situations like this it is really hard to get a hat on, or option off everybody. We must learn to hit hot routes passing and adjust on the fly. Until we burn teams with the pass, we will continue to see it. We are just now starting to see some growth in this area.

Saying we have no answer is a bit of an overstatement if you ask me. The teams you mentioned have been able to slow us down some, but at the end of the day we have moved the ball on the ground, just maybe not explosively as we are accustomed. The Iowa game is only one I can think of where it appeared we didn't have an answer. I think there was one Miami game a while back(2009?) where we just looked exhausted and blocked nobody on the perimeter. It was ugly in terms of execution. Generally speaking, good defenses will make it harder. They do for everybody. For VT this year, we moved it plenty well enough to win the game, WHEN WE ACTUALLY GOT A PLAY OFF without a flag or handed them the football.

Thank you for the great answer & for taking the time to put it together.
And for the record, I wasn't saying we have no answer. I do contend though that we have yet to SEE us answer that strategy.

VT did it against us this year pretty effectively. Clemson did it at times and Miami and UGA did it at times.

I agree that the obvious answer is to pass effectively. But I also contend that as long as we continue to average 12 passes per game (which has been the historical avg under Johnson), then we will never become proficient enough at passing to be able to effectively counter this defensive strategy.

Again though, thanks for taking the time to put that answer together. Much appreciated.
 

Mack

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,361
Thanks for asking. I think Fatmike is correct on a lot of what he says. Let me add a couple thoughts.
The biggest reason for wide splits is creating running lanes. It is called "spread" because we separate defenders out more than other formations with the splits and then create weak areas and manpower advantages by leaving players unblocked and optioning them off. Optioning a player is less effective if the area is crowded with defenders. It is why you see we are able to run against most defenses even when other teams may not. IMHO, the most important thing we can do to stem the tide of guys jumping our A gap by timing the snap count is to VARY the snap count. It is kind of like a pitcher holding runners from the stretch vary their looks and times. We tried this earlier in the year with disastrous results in terms of penalties. Nobody hardly noticed against UGA because we were better at it. We can and should take it a step further if you ask me. We could get to the line a little quicker, send an AB in motion, have him stop, read the defense as they tip their hand, alter the play, and then go on a predetermined count.

Any defender who jumps a gap routinely is in danger of really hurting his team against our offense. To counter this, we could run the MESH toward the next gap over, in effect allowing us to option two players at once, the jumper and the DE (or LB). We could run mid-line more. That is one rarely used element in our offense that mystifies me, to be honest. It is the perfect play call against that and we just haven't run it much since JN was here. My guess is that we just don't execute it well with our current players yet. The one game it was hugely effective recently was the Clemson win in 2011.

I think what you are talking about is really part of a bigger problem, and not just guys jumping A gaps or having good interior DLs and LBs who can run, and us having no answer. The defensive strategy against us has shifted towards a 9 in the box (safeties centered at about 8 yards off the ball and as many as 2 LBs at the LOS) and overplay the run most of the time philosophy. I think SYR was the only team not to run this against us this year. If we happen to pass, they just keeping coming with numbers and force an early throw. In situations like this it is really hard to get a hat on, or option off everybody. We must learn to hit hot routes passing and adjust on the fly. Until we burn teams with the pass, we will continue to see it. We are just now starting to see some growth in this area.

Saying we have no answer is a bit of an overstatement if you ask me. The teams you mentioned have been able to slow us down some, but at the end of the day we have moved the ball on the ground, just maybe not explosively as we are accustomed. The Iowa game is only one I can think of where it appeared we didn't have an answer. I think there was one Miami game a while back(2009?) where we just looked exhausted and blocked nobody on the perimeter. It was ugly in terms of execution. Generally speaking, good defenses will make it harder. They do for everybody. For VT this year, we moved it plenty well enough to win the game, WHEN WE ACTUALLY GOT A PLAY OFF without a flag or handed them the football.
You may appreciate this........in 73 we had fine football team at Louisville high,Louisville ga.Won nine in a row and lost last one on a very disputed call,but thats another story...This team could do anything but.................fire out on the second hut.........Every time we tried to do another snap count to keep guys honest ....we jumped off sides.........It was a mental thing since one tackle is a Nero surgeon and the others are successful but we could not go on two..... Always remembered that after all these years.........
 

Boomergump

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You may appreciate this........in 73 we had fine football team at Louisville high,Louisville ga.Won nine in a row and lost last one on a very disputed call,but thats another story...This team could do anything but.................fire out on the second hut.........Every time we tried to do another snap count to keep guys honest ....we jumped off sides.........It was a mental thing since one tackle is a Nero surgeon and the others are successful but we could not go on two..... Always remembered that after all these years.........
LMAO
 

Mack

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Messages
1,361
Well when I was coaching it was not so funny...............we couldn't for some reason even do the second hut in practice and man did we run them but silver lining........we had fourth and four in a real tough game and we called time out and told everybody its the second hut..............somehow the good Lord was there and the defense jumped.Never understood this but hey its football and kids form forty years ago.
 
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