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Air Raid Playbook: Pistol Strong Right, Slant/Stretch

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We're taking a look at one of the successful running plays from this past weekend's game against the Texas Longhorns.

John Weast

First off, it's not really an off-tackle run. I spent entirely too long trying to figure out what to call it and my football playing days as an offensive lineman have failed me on this instance. The run goes (or at least looks like it's intended to) between the guard and tackle, I just couldn't remember what this was called. Everything I was coming up with were outside runs, or straight up the middle, nothing in between. Anyways, let's take a look at the play.

Formation

You've got a pistol formation with two receivers to the right, or playside, and one to the left.

(I don't know if the video person was having a bad night or if they're new, but there were other plays I thought that should have been included in the highlight video that weren't, and some of the editing was rough).

Personnel from left to right (top to bottom) you have Dylan Cantrell at X, Justin Stockton at F, Kenny Williams (or Quinton White, I can't tell) at H, Ian Sadler at Y and Reginald Davis at Z. And at this point in the game, Vincent Testaverde was in at QB.

Design

Texas presented in a 3-3 look, with a 6 man box. On this play, you've got 6 blockers, so everybody in the box is accounted for. The receivers have their CBs, leaving just the two high safeties.

With Texas being in a 3 man front, the ends were shaded towards the inside. While these guys are the responsibilities of the tackles, you get chips from both guards as they work to the second level where they are to grab their backers. And the running back is following the H back through the hole.

Execution

Starting up front, the linemen each get the block they are supposed to and the guards make it to the second level to reach their linebackers. The defensive backs looks to be in a Cover 3, with the backside safety bailing at the snap and the playside safety crashing into the box. The outside corners are 10 yards off the line of scrimmage with their hips toward back in towards the QB.

With the playside safety crashing into the box, there are now 7 defenders against 6 blockers, which should have created a problem for this play, but it didn't. The blocking worked so well, that safety got caught up in traffic and was nowhere near the running back, or at least nowhere near being able to make a play.

Above, you see LeRaven Clark handing his defensive end away from the play. Left guard Alfredo Morales has gotten to the second level and has sealed his linebacker off. Jared Kaster kind of got beat, but the nose took himself out of the play and Kaster was maintaining contact to influence him enough to keep him away from the running back. But the beautiful part is that wall that was created from Baylen Brown, the H back (whoever it was) and Reshod Fortenberry. Remember that crashing playside safety? He's working his way around Fortenberry in the above shot and has taken himself out of the play. The line has created this huge cut back lane that Stockton darts though into the secondary in a flash.

The above shot isn't very clear, but just look at that mass of bodies in the middle of the play. Stockton is the helmet you see directly in front of Brown's face, coming up to the Double T logo on the field. He's already past that jumble of defenders. Cantrell is taking care of that outside CB, that backside safety has finally reappeared but his momentum was going in the wrong direction as Stockton is able to get past him, the lone remaining unblocked defender.

Above you see the Texas defense catching up to Stockton, This is due to Stockton having to change directions, make a couple of cuts , and the pursuit angles of the defenders. But look at the field markers. Stockton is already 20 yards downfield from where the ball was snapped and the defense is just now starting to close in on him.

He may not have scored, but getting 20 yards before the defense can make a play is something I will take everyday. and this guy is a true freshman. I feel like I gush about Stockton in every post. This is just the third of his plays we've done...