Saturday’s game against Arkansas State was a bit uninspiring offensively, to say the least. Nevertheless, offensive coordinator Josh Henson was able to find ways to move the ball and put enough points on the board to come away with a hard-fought 27-20 victory.
Maty Mauk finds Wes Leftwich for 32 yard touchdown
While the receivers may be inexperienced, one thing the group doesn’t lack in is speed, and Wesley Leftwich may well be the fastest of the bunch. His straight-line speed combined with Mauk’s love of throwing it deep should continue to make for a nice combo. Here Leftwich runs a simple fade route, running past the corner with relative ease, eventually making a tough catch on a slightly inaccurate throw for a touchdown.
Due to a few issues, it never really felt like the passing game got into a good rhythm. An easy way to get any passing game into a rhythm is with quick screens to the receivers. To stop this play, the defense will eventually start shooting downhill on screens quicker, making an earlier tackle.
Maty Mauk finds Nate Brown for 11 yard touchdown
Once the defense starts doing this, the offense can take advantage by faking the screen then throwing it deep. In this highlight, the slot WR (Nate Brown) sells a block on the corner, ensuring he thinks a screen is coming. This allows Brown to slip past him and the safety to break wide open in the endzone.
While the offense struggled to get the running backs into a rhythm, Henson still found a way to get the ground game going; the QB Draw. Maty Mauk’s athleticism at the QB position offers him an advantage in the run game, and one he’s more than willing to exploit.
Mauk's draw play
Mauk draw play part two
<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Tonight's running game will be provided by Maty Mauk <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaukSpeed?src=hash">#MaukSpeed</a> <a href="http://t.co/k8EfmZ5fuB">pic.twitter.com/k8EfmZ5fuB</a></p>— Rock M Nation (@rockmnation) <a href="https://twitter.com/rockmnation/status/642882628773744640">September 13, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
A draw play will often consist of a run-pass read for the QB, usually on a quick route such as an out or a hitch. If the defender (usually a linebacker) can’t get to the receiver in time, the QB is to throw the ball quickly. If the defender is in good position to guard the route, the QB runs the ball. The offensive line sells pass blocking, but gets upfield to block for the draw. While it may sound like an easy way to get an ineligible man downfield penalty, because of the quickness in which the throw is made, the linemen will (should) not be far enough downfield to get flagged.
With Russell Hansbrough still out with an injury, the Tigers must become increasingly creative to move the ball downfield on a consistent basis. Plays like these can be staples of what will hopefully grow into an effective offense.