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Clemson Wide Receivers and Blocking: How the Tigers Beat Miami

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This week we are going to look at a running play ScElliot used to spring Artavis Scott free for a running touchdown on the goal line. I believe I have gifs figured out this time. But first, a well deserved shoutout to Charone Peake. He gets maligned a lot, particularly on his ability to get the deep ball, but the man can block. This is the second week his blocking has been instrumental on a long run. Clemson hasn't been extremely explosive lately, so the more of those we get the better. Watch his blocking on Gallman's 66 yard touchdown vs GT.

(Image via ACC Digital Network)

His block alone was the difference between ten yards and a touchdown, and look at this block. Peake got that CB out of the paint. That corner will hear about this in the weight room in March. Peake threw that man on his back seemingly effortlessly, then sprinted downfield and was in position to knock the safety trailing Gallman onto the ground. Instead he was the first guy in the end zone to celebrate with him. Now look at his blocking on Deshaun Watson's long run vs Miami. (This gif, as well as all proceeding ones, are from ESPN/Youtube user Tigerray)

Say what you want about Charone Peake as a receiver, but he is absolutely bodying cornerbacks when it comes to blocking and that is enough to keep you on the field. I take issue with anyone questioning his effort or toughness. He gets the pancake, then either goes and looks for another guy to block or just keeps on beating the corner down to the whistle. As an aside, he and that corner had gotten chippy the play before after the corner tried to tackle Peake, so this was very likely personal. The offensive line and ballcarriers deserve a lot of credit, but in the above gifs we can see what wide receivers blocking does. It turns ten yard gains into twenty, thirty, and in these cases sixty plus yard runs. Especially when Clemson is running to the single wide receiver side, where Peake has usually lined up, and where there are almost always less DBs, and where ScElliot have liked to run. Putting Peake here lets him get a DB out of the play while leaving the wide side of the field open for the threat of a screen to, say, Artavis Scott or Ray Ray McCloud. The play the offensive line and tight end are run blocking doesn't matter so long as they continue to block well. This look is extremely dangerous and the value of Peake's blocking makes it worth keeping him on the field in the eyes of the coaching staff.

The play we are going to look at in full also features a receiver in the run game, in this case the receiver is Artavis Scott. Artavis Scott has gotten a lot better as a deep to intermediate receiving threat, but he's still best at sweeps and screens. He's arguably the best player in the country on bubble screens. The play he scores on here is interesting, he's being used as the pitch man on a speed option.

Image via smartfootball.com

Image via smartfootball.com

Speed options work by reading a pitch man, either the defensive end or member of the secondary. Reading the defensive end is generally thought to lead to featuring the pitch more, with reading the secondary member increasing the odds the quarterback carries the ball. The variety of speed option ScElliot use here is pretty interesting.

I've drawn it up below, with the guy the quarterback is pitching off of circled in red and Artavis Scott shown as being where he lines up after motioning. The square represents the center, otherwise all offensive players are circles. Stars represent the defense.

The play starts with the offensive line running power. I don't think that the handoff is a read in this instance, but this play could absolutely be run as a triple option. The main reason I think that the power is a fake in this case is that the read key acts in a way that should be end in a handoff if a handoff is an option. In addition the running back cuts back behind the line of scrimmage, which you never should do on power, but absolutely will help slow down backside pursuit. Miami is in what is known as a TNT front, which means Hyatt has to move to cut the backside defensive tackle. The right tackle does a great job stalling the three technique and the right guard helps the center take the nose and backside linebacker out of the play. The fact that Fruhmorgen and Morris are getting reps and playing well on the goal line makes me feel a lot better about the offensive line's future. Everyone but the read key and the two safeties are blocked, with both receivers doing a great job faking fade routes before getting hands on their corners. The read key, for his part, rushes Watson like his life depends on it. Thanks to good play design, good execution and a bit of help from one safety running three steps the wrong way because he was following motion, Artavis Scott now has the ball in space with one man to beat. The pulling guard, Mac Lain, doesn't really find anyone to block, but Scott is so quick and tough that it doesn't matter, touchdown.