One of my favorite things about football is the game within the game. There are the physical battles in between the lines that players are a part of, but also strategic battles the coaches and analysts on the sidelines participate in. Their job is moving the chess pieces, using disguises, and working around what the opposition takes away.
Missouri has concepts in their playbook that are what you would call “staples.” They can be simple as the inside or outside zone, which Missouri ran ad nauseum in 2021. Or, in some cases, they can be somewhat intricate passing combinations that you see on a regular basis.
Today, I thought it’d be a good time to show what Missouri’s most frequently ran route combination over the past two years are: The Flood Variations.
Flood concepts are relatively simple passing combinations that send receivers towards a specific part of zone coverage. This is not unique to just Missouri, it’s actually run all over the country. There are also multiple different types of variations of concepts that allow you to attack at certain spots of the coverage. The point of the routes are to put defensive backs and linebackers in uncomfortable positions, cause conflict in the coverage and usually you’re “flooding” defenders in a certain spot of their zone coverage.
This is out of a 3x1 formation, but if you look at the three receiver side, you’ll notice the potential conflicts for the defense.
When you would run this, it really depends on what coverage the defense is in, but still can be ran on a variety of coverages. Your corner probably has a deep zone. That would leave him responsible for the “X” receiver who is on the go, but after that? You’re relying on the outside backer to cover the flat and the free safety on defense to get to the corner route (Z). It can be done, but it’s extremely difficult.
The point is, you’re creating conflict and forcing the defense to communicate well amongst each other. Which is all good and great to say in practice or watch it on film, but the execution of it when formations and personnel change is quite difficult. Most of the time when you see a player running scot-free, everyone’s wondering, “How did he get that open?”, and it’s usually because responsibilities got mixed up.
I’m choosing to highlight this specific flood variation for a couple different reasons. For starters, out of the few different types of flood concepts that Missouri ran, this one was ran the most this past season.
Lastly, Missouri under Eli Drinkwitz has been a “run first” team and they’ve actually been good at it. That’s the benefit of having two NFL caliber running backs in the past two seasons. This play has been married into the playbook though, and has become a nice counter for when teams had started stacking the box to try and beat Rountree or Badie. So, after a few outside zone calls, this is a nice pivot to catch the defense sleeping.
Let’s go Live
If you look closely, every single linebacker for Florida takes at least two false steps down towards the line of scrimmage and even just a stutter step is enough for Badie to have the edge on the nearest defender.
The intricacies of this play are what make it work well. The backside receiver in this case is Keke Chism who is coming across on a crossing route. He occupies those linebackers and the safety in the middle of the field. Tauskie Dove is at the bottom of the screen with the corner, and he runs a go route to occupy the deep zone. Barrett Banister with what I believe is an out route, and Badie into the flat.
Flood concepts are a very smart way to attack zone coverage, and Missouri will probably continue to run them more in 2022. What I’m most interested in seeing is what happens when you put a group of ultra dynamic players like say, Mookie Cooper and Luther Burden on one side, and ask them to run floods. How does that add to your offense? How does that stress their defense? Those are things that I’m sure are being worked out right now in spring practice but the wide receiving corp that Missouri should have going forward leads one to believe that these concepts could find some more explosion, in 2022.