This is a short write up of a play I saw making the rounds on Twitter after the Oklahoma game. Some observers were confused about the delayed release of an OU offensive lineman on what appeared to be a passing play, but it turns out it’s part of the play design. As of now, I’ve only seen this run by Oklahoma, but it’s something to look out for in the weeks and years ahead. In essence this is an RPO, but it’s pretty unique in how heavily it emphasizes the pass relative to the run.
It’s shallow-screen/draw. They have run this for several years. Check out the 2017 B12 title game - Mayfield ran for a long one. To the right is “shallow screen” (block for WR on drag at the LOS, can block downfield). If Mike LB follows the screen/shallow it’s QB draw backside https://t.co/Or6dXSf9NP— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) September 2, 2019
In the clip above, four offensive lineman block the four defensive linemen while the left guard, who is unoccupied, gives a delayed release downfield. Three of the receivers run vertically to occupy the defense, while the slot receiver the middle linebacker is covering runs a drag route. The quarterback reads the middle linebacker; either the linebacker will run with the slot (even zone coverages break down to man coverage within your zone) and the QB will have space to run with a lineman lead blocking, or the slot receiver will be open on a drag route. The read happens quickly enough that the OL should only get downfield if the quarterback decides to run. If not, offenses are usually ok making the refs throw the flag.
drag screen + draw. drag creates space for QB to run to. pic.twitter.com/4KNsg3fHnh— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) December 28, 2017
Running this drag/draw play lets you boil a passing play down to a single read while setting your quarterback up to potentially carry the ball in space with a lead blocker. Just look at how far the OU lineman lead blocking are able to get up field in the clips above. While it’s not necessarily a play I expect Clemson to run much in the near future, it is a play that will appeal to teams with good running quarterbacks who struggle to make complex reads.