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Film Room: An Introduction to Drinkwitz’s Offense, Part Five

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Coach Drink will bring a Quick Passing game the likes of which has not been seen at Mizzou in years.

NCAA Football: Texas State at Appalachian State Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

Neither former Tiger offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Derek Dooley carried much of a quick passing package. Fades in the red zone, Hitches as part of the inside run constraint game, ocassional Slants on third and medium—these were really the extent of the quick game for JH and DD.

Coach Drinkwitz, on the other hand, carries a robust package of quick concepts, as we will see in today’s installment of Film Room.

Let’s take a look at the quick passing concepts that made up Appalachian State’s 2019 quick package.

Quick Out

As we saw in the last Film Room installment, the Quick Out route is also a part of Drinkwitz’s Mesh concept. It is difficult, therefore, to tell on any snap whether the route is part of a called quick play, or a facet of a Mesh play. In the above example it is clearly the former based on the route structure and the quarterback’s quick drop.

Fade/Out

As I mentioned last time, it’s impossible to know how a quarterback is taught to read any pass play. On this concept, however, it is common that it is the Out-runner’s job to beat the outside linebacker and/or safety while the quarterback looks at the corner. If the corner drops with the Fade the QB hits the Out. He takes the Fade if the CB stays low to cancel the Out.

Slants

The Slant/Out and Double Slant concepts are distinct, but I’m combining them under the heading Slants. Drink runs both. We’ll look first at Slant/Out.

Slant/Out

Slant/Out

The idea is to make the player responsible for the flat area wrong. If he widens, the window to the Slant opens up. If he settles under the Slant, the ball can go outside of him to the Out route.

Slant/Out

Double Slants

Again, the idea is to read the Flat player hitting the Slant that he fails to get under.

Double Slants to the right.

There are at least two ways coaches teach quarterbacks to read quick concepts. One is a trigger read on a particular defender. In the case of Double Slants, that player is the flat player. Another is to read windows, or open areas. The QB would look through the window to one of the Slants, and if it is closed, move to the next window.

In either case, the quarterback needs to be aware of what is sometimes called the danger player. The danger player is one who is not part of the initial read, but who can become a factor in the play.

In the below example, the Mike linebacker is the danger player. If the QB’s read takes him to the inside Slant, the quarterback needs to become aware of how aggressively the Mike is closing on the route. Quarterbacks should note the alignment of the danger player presnap—how close he is to the inside Slant—and then feel where he is moving when throwing.

Double Slants to the right. Danger player, Mike LB, in circle

The drop of the outside linebacker under the outside Slant sends the QB to the inside Slant. Watch how close the Mike comes to defending or intercepting the inside route. Nevertheless, the quarterback is able to thread the ball past him.

Double Slants. Mike is the danger player.

Here the outside linebacker rides the slot’s Slant down inside, opening the window for the outside Slant.

Spacing

I’m categorizing a number of plays under the category Spacing. I’m using Spacing here as a generic term for a quick route structure that puts a horizontal stretch on a defense.

Stick

Stick stretches the underneath coverage with several short routes, often Hitches. Wide trips sets put pressure on the strong side of the formation where a Mike linebacker who stays in the box will have a difficult time getting out to defend the inside Hitch.

Stick to the left

Quick Curl/Flat

This next snap is the same play, but the quarterback reads to the single receiver side which is a Quick Curl/Flat combination. The flat defender is the rush linebacker and the danger player is the Will.

Next is a similar play. This time the tight end runs a Stick route and the running back swings over top of it.

Spacing Twist

For lack of a better term, we’ll call this Spacing Twist. This play attempts to attack two underneath defenders with three receivers trying to settle into open space.

To the middle receiver.

Here are two other examples of this concept where the ball goes to the Quick Out.

Conclusion

The introduction of a hearty, diverse quick passing game will be one of the biggest and most noticeable departures from the previous Tiger regimes’ offenses. More than anything, a quick passing game should be efficient, and in the App St. games I watched Coach Drinkwitz’s was. If this continues with the Tigers, the addition of quicks will be most valuable.

In Film Room’s final installment of this offensive introduction we will look at Coach D’s bootleg passes and screen game.