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Clinic Talk: 2016 FAU Owls Offense

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With Travis Trickett taking over the Owls offensive play calling, expect to see Outside Zone as a staple of the FAU offense.

Miami Hurricane Football Game Images, Week Two: Miami @ FAU
The ‘Canes look to stop the Owls rushing attack

In 2015, the Owls flashed a variety of formations, motions, and personnel packages at the Hurricanes for early success, but eventually were steamrolled by the ‘Canes. With Offensive Coordinator Brian Wright fired in December, the Owls hired Samford’s Travis Trickett. However, Coach Trickett uses many of the same formations and personnel groups as Coach Wright.

Trickett, the son of Seminoles Offensive Line Coach Rick Trickett, worked his way up from the bottom of the coaching ranks, starting as a student assistant before landing the OC position at Samford and now FAU.

Travis’ father Rick employs a zone blocking scheme with the ‘Noles and it looks as if Travis will follow in Rick’s footsteps. At Samford, the Bulldogs used many 10 and 20 personnel looks from a no huddle but not hurry up offense. The Bulldogs ran inside zone read, outside zone, and split zone. While we’ve previously discussed inside zone (IZ) in regards to Coach Richt’s offense, Outside Zone (OZ) will be discussed here.

When an offensive coordinator decides that he/she will be a predominantly zone blocking team, many people think that means there’s no pulling at all which isn’t quite the full story. While inside zone has no pulling, a case can be made for split zone’s h-back or fullback “wham” blocks to be labeled a form of pull, and outside zone has different pulling situations when players are uncovered and the need to outnumber the defense at the point of attack becomes key. Blocking schemes like pin-pull are used often in OZ schemes.

Queen set from 20 personnel was a popular look for Samford in 2015

Coach Trickett employed a 20 personnel queen set quite often in 2015, as did FAU’s old OC Coach Wright. Coaches like this set because they can use the majority of their playbook from it and it’s a nearly balanced look.

There are two different ways a lineman fullback/h-back or tight end can block the edge on OZ to make it look like separate plays. If the player can “reach” the most outside box defender and get outside of him and turn him back inside- the back can break outside. If the player cannot reach and gets ‘crossed’ (when the defender crosses over his face) the player must “bow and arrow” which means to turn and pivot the defender and allow the back to cut underneath the blocker. You can see Samford’s RB and HB outrun the defenders and the jet WR does as well, causing the blockers to literally turn around and look for someone to block as the play picks up 5 and a 1st down.

Now, that’s more classic OZ where the backside guard will skip-pull to get ahead of any backside penetration and cut it off so the play can be ran. Below, we look at pin-pull. Pin-pull was a staple of the Colts offense with the Manning/James combo from the late 90’s through mid 2000’s. Here we will see a base of the DE, but the Guard and Center will pull to get an advantage at the point of attack.

As a viewer at home, there’s a simple way to know the difference between IZ and OZ. On inside zone, the QB will flip his hips and stand at an angle to the RB, so he can easily attack the 3 technique. When running the outside zone, the QB (as seen above) stands parallel to the line of scrimmage and the back comes across to get the ball.