Before we begin, I want to be real clear that in no way is this the zone-read or even advocating that right now. I know that this is a big part of what Oregon does, but that's not what this is. Texas Tech doesn't have the quarterback to do that (not with Webb as he is not a threat to run). This is a pure and simple running play.
First things first. This post has been stewing in my brain for the better part of a month when I found out that head coach Kliff Kingsbury went to Philadelphia to spend some time with the Eagles head coach, Chip Kelly. Yes, Kingsbury actually sought out Kelly earlier this summer and I'm really surprised that this hasn't been discussed more (I've kept quiet because I had a story idea, but you guys don't get these excuses.).
"I went to Philadelphia and met with those guys, the Eagles coaches, just to see what they were doing differently at that level," he said.
"I thought he's done a great job of staying consistent in who he was at Oregon, bringing it up there and believing in it and excelled. A lot of the same concepts they were successful with at Oregon, they're running and being successful with in one of the top offenses in the NFL. So it was fun to see that. Everybody says, 'Well that offense can't work in the NFL.' He kind of went up there and showed everybody it could. So it was fun to be around that, and hopefully we take some stuff from what I saw up there and incorporate it into our game and get better this year."
I'm sure there were pleasantries involved, but Kingsbury specifically said that he hoped to take some stuff from what he saw and incorporate it into Texas Tech's games and get better.
Trying to figure out what exactly Kingsbury has been talking about has been the one thing that I wasn't real sure. Obviously, I thought that Kingsbury wanted to add something to the running game as really, the lone running play was nothing more than a simple hand-off out of the spread or maybe a delayed hand-off. Again, I've been kicking this around for quite some time and I started to read more and more from FishDuck, a fantastic site about the Oregon Ducks. It's a fantastic site because it's not just about Oregon, it's about explaining Oregon's offense.
But there is one play that's part of the Oregon playbook that Texas Tech can implement. As mentioned above, Texas Tech doesn't have a dual-threat quarterback in Davis Webb, but you don't need that to run this play. Oh sure, the threat of being able to run is there, but we can't always have our cake and eat it too. The play is the Power Play and this is just the best explanation:
The thing to take away from this is that Oregon has some pretty mobile guards. Guys that can get up and down the line of scrimmage. When we posted the players that gained and lost weight during the offseason, I took note that the guards really are now around the 300 to 315 range.
I don't believe it was a coincidence that Clark weighed in at 315, down 5 pounds from last year where he weighed 320. Also consider how Alfredo Morales is down from 320 to 308. Baylen Brown is down to 293, probably losing some high school fat before adding some lean muscle this next offseason. These guys are big enough to get down the line, but I think there was a concerted effort to get down in weight to be mobile enough be a pulling guard on a Power Play.
I think it was also imperative to get Jared Kaster up to the 285 that he's currently listed because without being able to hold and sustain a block as well as creating a wall, making adjustments just wasn't going to work.
In order to run the Power Play you have to have a guard that can cut and turn and get up the field and lay a block on an unsuspecting linebacker. During the spring and up through the Big 12 Media Days, Kingsbury pretty much said that Le'Raven Clark is all set to be the left guard with Dominique Robertson set to take over at left tackle. This plan has been in place since the spring:
"It's pretty set in stone," Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday during Big 12 media days. "Unless something happens before camp, that's how it'll start out. Dom's looked good. There'll be a learning curve with him learning the offense, but he's looked good. He's got the size, and I know Le'Raven feels very comfortable moving inside."
I really hope you watch the video. Watch where the running back is and is always to the side where the guard will pull, i.e. if the running back is on the right side, the left guard will pull. Also note that the running back is about a yard behind the quarterback and to one side or the other. The blocking with the offensive line is pretty simplistic. But it is incredibly imperative that this initial wall is created and that the block is sustained. I think this was one of Texas Tech's biggest problems as an offensive line last year, which was manning up and sustaining a block for a period of time.
Still, there's a pretty good chance that I'm wrong about this, but I do think that Kingsbury is going to make a more concerted effort to be a tougher football team, especially on the ground. If I had go guess, I think that this is maybe Texas Tech's biggest area of need offensively, is to have a few running plays where Texas Tech will have the opportunity to knock some folks out.