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Air Raid Playbook: Fake WR Screen

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We're taking a look at one of the only bright spots in the game against Kansas State last weekend.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

I could give you three guesses at what the concept is going to be that we discuss this week, and I bet you wouldn't need more than one. That's right, we're looking at another successful play where the receivers crossed the corners' faces and confusion ensued. Let's keep doing this, please!

Right up front, let me just say that this wasn't exactly a fake screen. The receiver is running an out route behind two other receivers, a look that had been shown previously.

Let's start by looking at the formation and what the defense was showing Davis Webb.

KSU formation

This is a pretty standard 4-wide formation, no deception here. Personnel wise, from left to right (bottom to top in the picture), Dylan Cantrell at X, DeAndre Washington at F, Jordan Davis at Y, Jakeem Grant at H and Bradley Marquez at Z. And the defense is in a soft zone look. You should be able to see this on your own without needing to pause the game or anything just by looking at the corner backs and where they're facing. In a zone look, they're going to be turned in towards the QB, whereas in man they would be facing the receiver. So this is a zone look where it appears they are protecting the sticks, or trying to keep the receivers in front of them to prevent the first down.

Let's look at the play art. I've once again highlighted the route where the ball ends up going, but I've also highlighted the underneath route where the fake is.

KSU screen art

I'm not sure what exact route Cantrell runs. Once the ball is snapped and he runs out of the frame, we never see him again. The ball goes the other way anyways. The fake occurs when Davis pump fakes throwing that quick out to Davis as he runs underneath the two outside receivers. As he's doing this, the outside receivers are crossing. Grant runs behind Marquez (who runs a post) as he gets in position to run his WHEEL (woohoo!!) route.

Screen shot 2

Before we look at the receivers and their routes, lets give a slow clap to Baylen Brown here. Not only has he locked up the defensive tackle, he's even reaching an arm out to help Fortenberry contain Mueller. Good job!

The linebacker is flaring out to cover the flat and the corner bites, at least a little, and allows the two receivers to run by him. As Marquez runs his post, he takes one of the corners and the safety to that side of the field (they were in a Cover 2) towards the middle of the field. Grant runs by that other corner and when the ball is in the air, they try to correct, but there's too much space.

screen 3

As you can see here, the ball is almost to Grant and there are two Wildcat defenders who are closing, but too far away to do anything about it.

Just another example of how Kingsbury's version of this offense utilizes corssing routes against zone defense to create space and pick up points.