Large area, 12 people could be the future of Kentucky and college football

Photo by Jacob Noger | British football

Photo by Jacob Noger | British football

Mark Stoops decided to make a change in attack for a multitude of reasons after the 2020 season.

Most notably, Kentucky had issues recruiting and developing the quarterback position and this had a drain in the ability to move the ball through the air. In the past three seasons, the Wildcats have suffered one of the worst passing attacks in college football. However, some tweaking in the racing game was also required.

While the tight end position has remained an important part of the staff structure of the offensive at Lexington, the Wildcats were a heavy inside zone team while others in college football have shifted to an attack that is deliberately turning sideways. to attack the edge.

That will change this fall.

Liam Coen has moved from the NFL to the SEC and will lead the offense at Lexington. The new caller will bring Sean McVay’s playbook from the Los Angeles Rams and set up a large area running program with a pass-action game built from it. Arizona’s new head coach Jedd Fish will do the same in the Pac-12. Baylor sophomore head coach Dave Aranda believes this type of attacking structure is the future of the sport, as it best thwarts what modern defenses want to do in today’s game.

“The ability of the defense to set limits, to disrupt the interior,” Aranda told reporters at Big 12 Media Days on Thursday. “If you get a tackle for a loss, if you get a sack, if you get some negative form of play – if you chain up and the attack jumps – and the attack has to recede anyway.” This percentage the offense needs to score is very low, so making negative plays is really where it is in defense. There are quite a few people now who are really interested in getting into the backfield.

The former LSU defensive coordinator was forced to change staff after just one season at Waco. The Bears finished 125th nationally in yards per offensive play (4.44) as Baylor struggled to get traction with former North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora calling the plays. After using a spread offense that included its fair share of four sets of wide receivers, the Bears decide to get bigger in 2021.

Jeff Grimes has just completed a three-year stint at BYU as an offensive coordinator where he helped turn Zach Wilson into a first-round talent as a quarterback. Last year, the Cougars led the country in yards per offensive play (7.84) using a wide zone approach. Aranda is reuniting with the former LSU offensive line coach this year to try to capitalize on that schematic approach.

“I think the response to that on offense is going to be over 12 people, 13 people watching where you’re trying to absorb all the inside blitzes and stunts and everything instead of overtaking some people,” Aranda said. “Bring it up to where it’s more just a wide area and you pick up stuff and hit it and the same with a play-action pass. The more you can run the ball the more you can pass it and hold the balls. responsible people instead of being sprawling sets where there are now pressures and cascades from different areas.

This plan is exactly what we’ll see from Kentucky this fall. Everything the Wildcats do on offense will be based on the look of the wide zone that Chris Rodriguez Jr. is expected to get a lot of gains from. Meanwhile, 12 staff members – one running back, two tight ends – will be a staff group used quite frequently by the Wildcats. This will allow the infractions to create a marriage between the run and the pass which can force the defense to defend two plays at a time. All while keeping a physical presence in the racing game.

This type of attack can force defenses out of the subset with five or six defensive backs on the pitch and can also eliminate the need for big alpha receptors on the outside – something Kentucky doesn’t have for the. moment. With tighter ends, infractions can get away with smaller receptors lined up in condensed formations. Instead of vertical routes to create big plays, offenses will be designed more horizontally using crossover variations to attack voids in area coverage to create home runs, as quarterbacks often receive structured reads. while moving the pocket with bootlegs to help quash an opposing pass rush. Many teams are starting to use this model

Both Alabama and Missouri used a good chunk of the wide zone last season. Mac Jones excelled at throwing seed actions that gave Crimson Tide the best offense in college football. Ohio State’s Trey Sermon ran for 331 yards in last year’s Big Ten Championship behind the concept. Scott Satterfield’s offense has been using him for a long time, and structure helped Javian Hawkins set an academic record for most rushing yards by a running back (1,255) in 2019.

It’s a concept that has been around in the NFL for a long time, and now it’s seeping into college play as a counter after defenses adjusted to defending certain concepts of spreading and RPO attacks by becoming more aggressive and going all out in creating negative games. Kentucky might just be on the right side of a trend at the right time.

“The wide zone offense, the play pass, the shots played – I think those are all things that allow our guys to get a lot of their own, to play fast, to be aggressive,” said Aranda.

About Dianne Stinson

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