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Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by goTitans.com, May 19, 2006.
She's a la-dy... whoah whoah whoah... she's a lady... (background music needed)
What game was that? The Texas vs Texas game?
I’m a little dismayed to see some of you NFL fans pondering cluelessly aloud about the option and the bone.
Geez. That sounded pretty pompous. Didn’t it? I’m sorry. I am by no means any authority of anything and I’m just about as clueless as the next guy on most things, but I do know a little bit about this, so please allow me to add a little and then maybe someone else can add something else and before long we can get a full picture.
The option, at least, as I understand it is the decision of a QB to keep or pitch. Generally that decision comes after a fake handoff to a running back between tackles – but not always. Traditionally, the decision comes when the QB is running parallel to his line of scrimmage and trying to make the corner and then cut upfield. The decision relies a lot on the bite of the end or corner. If they’re both converging on the QB, he can pitch out to a trailing HB and (at least in HS and college) lower his shoulder and take out the DE and hopefully the CB too, thus creating a clear lane for the HB. Or, instead of pitching to the trailing HB, he can do a head fake or shoulder fake and hope the CB bites on it and occupies himself with the HB and the DE stutters just enough to let the QB make his cut upfield.
The option has probably been around since the early 1900s but I first remember it being implemented as a bread and butter play of Bill Yoeman’s veer offense at the University of Houston, circa 1966 or 1967. Then, of course, it also became a staple of the wishbone-T as used by Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, etc…
By the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Nebraska Cornhuskers had perfected the option out of the I formation which, minus the option, was the offense John McKay made famous at USC in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Today, in college football, the option is used as a gimmick play rather than a bread and butter play. ESPN and their ilk of ignorant sports reporters have talked a lot about Texas using a simple option offense, but Texas really didn’t.
Texas ran the zone read which is a horse of a completely different color, but sometimes on very rare occasion, Texas did run a option out of the shotgun just as they did back when Chris Simms was the QB. It was basically the same scenario I described above only being the shotgun the QB was at more of an angle to the line of scrimmage than in the old style options and the “trailing HB” was sometimes even a WR a reverse.
Yep, you gotta be tricky to stay ahead in the game.
Now, as for the pro game, I can’t say I’ve ever watched it as religiously as I watch college football, but I have watched ten or twelve games a year for the last thirty-five years so I know a little bit about it.
The last time I saw an NFL team run the option was in about 1995 when Barry Switzer was coaching the Cowboys. It was for one play only and it looked like the Nebraska Cornhusker option out of the I formation version.
As for the wishbone… I’ve never ever seen the true wishbone in the NFL, but I often see a wishbone FORMATION as a variation of the three back power-I for short yardage situations. But I seriously doubt you’ll ever see an option out of that formation in the NFL.
The topic was brought up on Sirius' NFL "Moving the Chains" today. They pretty much bashed it. I understand why there would be skeptics of it's effectivness in the pro game. Question is, is Vince Young that good an athlete and tough enough to withstand the pounding defenses will undoubtedly try to put on him. If he's moving down the line, the defense is going to hit him, ball in his hands or not.
I don't really think the option could be that effective in the NFL. But I also think Norm Chow is pretty bright.
I'm thinking Norm Chow is probably installing a play or two to take advantage of VY's fleet feet, but I doubt they are true "option" plays, per se.
My thought is that Norm Chow will probably give VY something like a rollout pass with permission to tuck it and run if the CB drops back into pass coverage.
ya, that seems more like what they would do, they didnt run that many designed options at texas (definately more than anyone else) but a lot of times because of his inexperienced widouts he would have to take down and run it because they could not get open
How come no one remembers the option during the run and shoot days?
'Sorry, sirjesse. I didn't pay close attention to Jack Pardee's Oilers, nor any of the other NFL run and shoots at the time. (Who were the others? The Bills maybe? Tampa Bay?) All I really remember is that in the NFL, the run and shoot QBs got nailed on just about every play.
The only r & s I ever got to see up close was the one at the University of Houston that Jack Pardee originally installed and John Jenkins took over. Man, I hated that thing. My Longhorns were on the bottomside of some pretty lopsided scores before David McWilliams upgraded his secondary.
I don't recall the Cougars running the option out of it, but I do remember their little tailback, Witherspoon, gaining big chunks of yardage on draw plays. And I remember in 1991, Texas did a great job of covering the U of H receivers so David Klingler resorted to QB draws which burned my Horns for big gains.
Those about the only running plays I remember out of the U of H r&s. Seems like the rest of the time it was just pass, pass, pass.
So who was it who used to run the option out of it? I imagine it would've been pretty effective. I mean who'd expect it?
Good post. Texas ran the traditional option only occasionally with Vince. The zone read play was a much bigger part of the offense at Texas, and that is not the traditional run down the line, keep or pitch option. It involves a much quicker decision in the pocket on the part of the QB to either hand the ball off or keep it and run (thus the QB is not as likely to get smacked on that play) and it is not a play that gets strung out wide (thus all the talk of how fast NFL defenses are is not as critical).
My guess is that they really mean they will design plays that give Vince the option to run or pass on a given play based on the defense's reaction. I doubt they will run much of the tradiitonal option except perhaps on the goalline on occasion.
OK, some of the history is getting a little bent. The weakside option was an automatic audible on shortyardage and a trips formation. Basically, if the defense lines up in dime/man under coverage and the single WR on the weakside is split wide, there are 4 DL and a MLB vs 5 OL, a QB and a RB. Without a S playing in the box, the Offense should NEVER lose that battle as they has an EXTRA blocker...2 if you count that the OT will block down on the MLB or the S (if he's in the box) and the DE can take QB or HB...not both. The Oilers ran this play very successfully on shortyardage given the right defensive look. And that was with Moon and Cody running it. How about a Vince Young running it!
Defenses aren't stupid, they will either show zone (so they have an extra defender to the weakside vs a trips formation OR they will drop down a S into the box. But even then, they still are even vs the defense (5OL, 1 QB and 1RB vs 4 DL, 1 MLB, 1 extra zone CB and a dropped down S). And keep in mind, they have to be careful of a running play to the strong side (5OL, 3 WR's, 1 QB and 1RB vs 4 DL, 1 MLB, 2 CB). You can see the bind an option type play puts defenses in with a true running threat at QB out of a 4 WR set when the offense only needs 1-2 yards.
But this will not work unless Vince can throw the ball effectively. Teams are gonna either blitz him unmercilessly unless he can hurt them. That doesn't mean bombing it 50 yards, but he needs to be able to make defenses pay when they bring the house and he has 1 on 1 coverage across the field. Master the slant, quick out and fade....and that will be enough for now. More importantly will be giving him other options...like audibling to a HB screen or a WR screen.
Back in the day the Oilers and Atlanta Falcons were the dominant Run and Shoot teams with Detroit using it for a while. In every R n S offense, it's a staple play to combat a type of defense.
They key is designing a package that hurts teams now matter what they do...play dime and bring the house or play nickel (vs 4 wr) and play zone or some combo. Having Vince perfect this package will help us A LOT and can change the complexion of many games WHILE giving Young some valueable experience.
There are different types of option offenses. A typical option options off the DE (the OT takes the MLB and lets the DE go). The QB reads the DE...if the DE takes the QB he pitches it with the idea that he'll get yards before the S can come up. The triple option also has a FB take a dive in the A gap. The QB reads the DT to the playside...if the DT goes outside, he sticks the ball in the FB's gut up the middle. If he doesn't give it to the FB, he again reads the DE.
The run and shoot took this a step further in some packages. Another staple of the high school and college run and shoot offense had WR's run end around with backside action from the HB (misdirection). Some coaches added 2 options to this type of play. In one, the HB would go A gap to the right. The QB would fake it to him then reverse pivot back to the other side. The backside tackle would let the DE go but shove him in the direction of the HB and then look for the MLB. The Slot WR to the side the HB was running would cut back and run to the outside of the QB...becoming the new pitch man. In HS and college, this play sometimes goes for a TD when it gets pitched to the WR. Another play puts a WR in motion. When he's coming up to the QB the ball is snapped. The HB becomes a lead blocker and the WR becomes the new pitch man. This is especially effective against zone defenses (as the motion WR gives them an extra player).
Of course, the reason why most teams don't run the option in the NFL is 2 things. The DE's and OLB's are so fast vs most QB's, that they can slow play the QB and still get the pitch man. Second, there are more turnovers in an option offense and everyone knows the correlation to wins vs turnovers. Lastly, all NFL teams are taught to have the DE take the QB everytime. A free shot on your 100million player is a great thing for the defense. And how many teams have a fast QB who can run it AND could be risked injury wise? Not many - if any. But with the right package and only for shortyardage, you can really put a defense in a bind and that is exactly what the Titans should do with Young. But even with that, he has a lot to learn before he runs it effectively.
BTW, the QB didn't get hit on every play. If they did, no QB would have ever survived a season and that wasn't the case. In fact, the run and shoot offense is one of the most successful in any league's history. And if you look it up, the Oilers were almost always a top 5 offense, had a 1000 yard rusher no matter what his name, and were usually near the top in the league in time of possession. Most of the bad press for the run and shoot was due to the Oilers failing to win in the post-season. But you can hardly blame the offense for ONLY scoring 35 points or ONLY 27 points. In fact, the defenses choked vs the Bills, Broncos and against the Chiefs...they had a decimated OL (Hopkins as a rookie got abused by Derrick Thomas ) and no name WR's who had trouble getting open (even against LB's). I will happily debate the run and shoot offense with anyone because the stats don't lie. Statistically, it's the most effective offense ever.