One Cool Play I Wish Michigan Would Run in 2010

This is a sleek play.

I'm not sure what the exact name of this West Virginia rushing play is (if anyone knows, please share), but I never tire of watching it.


It's not a zone-read play at all. It's a designed outside zone run play from the get-go, but it looks so smooth when you watch the quarterback footwork, pitch exchange and offensive line movements.

The offensive formation is what Rich Rodriguez used to call a "Left formation", which is really an I-formation with a balanced line and 2 wide receivers (z and x receivers) and a slot receiver (y). There are only 5 lineman long the line of scrimmage and then there's a fullback and a tailback lined up behind the quarterback in the "I".

West_virginia_left_formation_medium

This play could be really cool for Michigan this year since opponents may be directing a lot of their attention to Denard Robinson and his dangerous legs on the zone-read plays out of the standard spread formations.   While Michigan doesn't appear to have a Steve Slaton at tailback yet, the Wolverines do have a power back in freshman Stephen Hopkins, and some speedy players that can take this pitch to the edge in a hurry. 

What I like about this play is how it's a break from the standard spread (applied at the opponent 35) and a step-change for the opponent's planned coverages. I also like the quick quarterback pivot to throw off the linebackers, the fake exchange between the quarterback and fullback, followed by a sudden and long toss to the trailing tailback. That tailback is headed completely opposite (counter) all of the zone blocking action.  By the time this running back snares the quarterback's long pitch, he is already stepping outside the far left hash and cutting up the sidelines.

The opposing defense in this example (Maryland 2006) is trying desperately to head downhill against wherever Pat White and Owen Schmitt are supposed be headed, but the effort backfires big time because the entire DL plus 3 linebackers took themselves completely out of the play.  Before that, the LBs seem frozen with lead in their shoes. Note the great seal block by the slot receiver.

I'd love to see Denard Robinson, Devin Gardner or Tate Forcier run this finesse running play this fall.

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