In this series we are making educated guesses about how Derek Dooley will involve Kelly Bryant in the Tiger running game. We began with the cheapest option, increasing the frequency of QB read plays that are already in the playbook. In this installment we’ll look at more expensive options to keep the ball in Bryant’s hands.
Installing New Plays
QB Counter Trap
Quarterback Counter Trap is one of the classic ways to run the quarterback. The play most often uses the GH scheme we discussed last week, with the QB carrying the ball rather than the RB.
For my money, Brad Smith was one of the all-time great practitioners of QB Counter Trap. Let’s pause to relive my favorite example of the significant damage Smith wrought with this play. Here he breaks through the Cornhusker line during the 2003 breakthrough against Nebraska.
Kelly Bryant had great success running the play at Clemson. To wit:
Unofficially, the Counter Trap scheme accounted for almost 20% of the run plays Dooley called in 2018. So why not bring QB Counter Trap back? As a new play, QB Counter Trap would be relatively cheap as it introduces a new backfield action to an already familiar blocking scheme. For this reason I feel fairly confident that at some point this fall we’ll see Bryant running the QB Counter Trap.
Finally, let’s look at an expensive option, a play that would be new to Dooley’s offense and makes use of a blocking scheme seldom used last year: Inverted Veer, so named because rather than having the RB dive into the line and the QB attack the edge as in the traditional option play, the RB runs a wide sweep and the QB takes the inside track. The read man is the playside end man on the line (the EMOL we mentioned in the previous installment), and the QB makes a decision based on the EMOL’s reaction.
I would guess that Inverted Veer has been the most popular QB run play in college football since around 2010, the year Auburn rode Cam Newton’s legs to the national championship. That season Gus Malzahn was not shy about calling the play. And why would he have been?
Bryant is familiar with the play from his time at Clemson.
The popularity and success of the play with dual-threat quarterbacks suggest it would be a no-brainer for Dooley to install Inverted Veer for Bryant. It would be a no-brainer, that is, if not for the cost. The most common run scheme used for Inverted Veer is the Power scheme. Power, like Counter Trap, is part of the Gap scheme family we discussed last time. Whereas Counter Trap utilizes two pullers, the backside guard and tackle, Power only uses the backside guard.
Dooley ran Power last year, but very infrequently—less than twenty times total by my count—and not at all effectively. Here is an example from last year’s Kentucky game. The modest result was not atypical.
Committing to running the Power scheme more often and effectively, therefore, could be an expensive purchase.
To help keep the cost down, a possible compromise would be to employ a version of Inverted Veer that uses Inside Zone blocking rather than the Power scheme.
Here’s a clip of Newton running this variation of the play. You can see the Inside Zone blocking scheme particularly well in the tight shot.
Despite the cost, I think it’s very possible Dooley will employ some version of the Inverted Veer with Bryant. Personally, I would be psyched to see Kelly Bryant running a play I’ve not noticed the Tigers run since David Yost was dialing it up for James Franklin.
Now that is a perfectly blocked Inverted Veer. I could get used to seeing that all season long.