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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Breaking down the Oklahoma State offense

...over at Dr Saturday. Check it out here, and feel free to ask questions either here or over there. (I am more likely to see it here, though.)


Brad said...

Posted this on another entry but probably better here.

Great Dr. Saturday article on OK. St offense.

As an NC State fan I watched 4 years of the "Scat" pass. It was Rivers' go to play and was really unstopable fo a first down. We ran it like 8-9 times in a row to come back against Ohio State and take the game into double overtime at thier place.

As far as the Ok St. offense, I really think that offense and Texas's are the type of spread offenses that could be successful in the pros. They don't have run first guys at QB but they can run it enough to cause defenses problems.

Chris said...

I tend to agree. Imagine the benefits to the run game were Steve Young to have been given rein to run these plays 5-6 times a game.

The common logic in the NFL though is that it's not worth the risk to the QB, and that might be right. (And in college a "decent" speed QB can still hit the D for 5-7 yards if it is wide open; in the NFL he still might get clocked for a short gain.)

But I agree that how OSU uses Zac Robinson and Texas uses Colt McCoy could be decent models for how a team might use a QB who can throw and run a bit. (Incidentally, I will be breaking down Texas's passing game on this site soon.)

brad said...

If you were to run it at the pro level you could line up in one back 3 WR in the gun and essentially run the same passing game as the patriots run.

All you would need to do is add zone read and speed option and tell the QB to give the ball to the RB unless he thought he could get 5+ yds before getting hit. Almost all the time he would give it to the RB, but the defense would still need to honor him a little.

You could also tell him to slide if he can. That would keep injuries down.

Speed sweeps to WR's (ala Wake Forrest) also would seem to be a good addition. If the rules let you get a running start why not take advantage of that?

Anyway, if you totally anounce that your QB will NEVER run it seems that you are giving away one of your options. Just by saying my QB MAY be a running threat you would seem to gain a great advantage at relatively little risk.

Anonymous said...

Hits on a QB running are less damaging than hits standing in the pocket. One, they usually know it is coming and two, they tend to be more glancing than a full tee off on the QB, like with a sack.

IIRC, option QBs are taught not to cut back to the middle out of their running alleys because that leads to the head on hits.

Anonymous said...

Hello I'm relatively new to this site and new to advanced football strategies that you all discuss on this site. However, in terms of the Ok. St. and Texas offense being useful in the pros, first it all can't be out of the 'gun as the defense has enough speed to pursue down the sidelines, instead wear them out with a good downhill running game with a formation just as or more deadlier than the 'gun, the Pistol Scheme. The Chiefs used the pistol offense a bit last season, also many of these 3 wide spread teams like Texas and OSU like using zone read, Nevada also used a zone read out of pistol and ended being 4th in the nation in rushing. So instead of using the gun, the pistol is a better option as you can still zone read, use option and pass, yet it allows for a downhill running game where you can dabble around with more blocking schemes as opposed to some pulling and zone that shotgun teams use.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear about the Texas passing game. They run their 3 step drop game out of the shotgun better than anyone out there right now.

Anonymous said...

NC State did some cool things with "scat." They sometimes released Y upfield on a seam route and ran scat with A off of Y's back hip. It created a nice, little crossing route against man coverage.

Hazz said...

Hey Chris, correct me if I'm wrong, but scat looks a lot like mesh. Obviously the main difference is that the receivers running the scat routes never cross, but other than that, it seems like a lot of the principles are the same. The main crease in the defense is often caused by using the swing/shoot routes to stretch out the flat defenders horizontally, thereby opening up room for the "scat" route receivers to post up the inside backers and move toward the sideline to catch the ball in the areas vacated by the outside backers.

I'd love to see a post on the history and evolution of the scat. Did Chow invent it as a variation of mesh?

Brad said...


Having watched all of the NC State games from Philip Rivers time multiple times(I have quite a few of them on tape) I think I can answer your question.

I never saw us run scat much while Chow was at NC State. He was only there 1 year.

I think the play evolved from Mesh as you have alluded to. Chow used to run a tag for Mesh called "Return" that had the guys start out like Mesh then break back out like scat.

Under subsequent OC's (Marty Galbraith Noel Mazzone) at NC State this developed into a play of its own and utlimately became Rivers' favorite and the back bone of the NC State passing game.

I think the main advantge of scat over mesh is how quickly the WR get to their spots that allows you to free release the backs because the QB can hit the WR or the Back on a hot pass.

Hazz said...


Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense.

Two of the main problems with mesh are (1) after it pops open it can take the QB a little too long to make the read and (2) if the mesh receiver has to angle deep to get away from the backers, the throw can become more difficult than a simple crossing route.

Scat eliminates these two problems by (1) not forcing the QB to wait so long to figure out who's going to pop open (b/c they never cross) and (2) allowing both scat receivers to post up their inside backer and then move to the outside instead of having to create an oblique angle to get open. In this way, scat is actually a lot like Y-stick. It's a quicker read, and the inside receivers are able to use their hands and bodies to create separation from the inside backers rather than just using their legs to angle themselves into the seam.

As you and Chris also pointed out, it's also really effective against blitzing teams b/c the hot reads are so quick and simple.

[End scat post ... begin ramble ...]

I'd love to see a post on how the BYU/AirRaid guys use tags in their offenses to make slight modifications to their base plays. I've watched Hatcher's DVD's and he talks about it a little bit. My questions: how often do they tag receivers to run different routes than the normal routes? Are all tags practiced throughout the off-season or do they make adjustments on a week-to-week basis? Do they ever make in-game adjustments to tag certain receivers, based on how a team is defending them during the game?

I know the AirRaid is a system that relies on hundreds and hundreds of reps of a few base plays, but how many changes do they make on the fly if a team they are facing starts doing something that is best defeated by a tag on one of their normal plays?