The Hurricanes dropped a game in which they were drastic favorites to an average UVA program for many reasons. One is the kicking game, which has flawed Miami all season, was poor again. Another reason was how undisciplined and flat the ‘Canes looked a week after their big comeback win over Florida State. The third reason was the play design in the passing concepts which forced Miami quarterbacks into a ‘throw deep or run’ mode against Mendenhall’s base 3-4.
Today’s film review is strictly going to focus on the passing concepts and the missing components of those concepts in Richt’s scheme. I’m using the R4 series created by Darin Slack and Dub Maddox as my reference material. The books “From Helmet to Headset” and “Adapt or Die” are the materials I’m referencing as (Helmet) or (Adapt).
The Richt Scheme: 3 Go Routes + OTB
On this Perry interception, the Hurricanes ran three go routes and kept seven in for protection. I love using six in protection and hell, sometimes seven if you’re that desperate to throw. My colleague Sean Davidson (Twitter) would say leave five in to protect and have a swing route to the back as the check down. If they rush seven they can’t cover the swing. That’s his constant advice to me over the past ten years since we’ve been coaching colleagues, and before that he spent three years as a college quarterback.
When the offense sees this rush, I’m not really sure why the slot chose to run vertical into a defender that’s playing 10-12 off of him. That leverage alone, plus the blitz from the cornerback, reads ‘sit down in space’ to me. Just replace the blitzer’s original placement and there should be a hole in coverage.
On the outside, the wide receivers are also getting big cushions. It’s 2nd and 10 which means around midfield you have this play, plus two more plays to pick up a first down. Both outside receivers could hitch or run comebacks. Instead they push vertical into cornerbacks that are 10 yards off of them at the snap of the football.
The H-Back, Brevin Jordan, runs an OTB route right into two short drop linebackers who can easily pick him up and sit on him. This uber talented mismatch nightmare is the OTB check down? Why not get him out in space where a slower UVA linebacker has to cover him, or a smaller defensive back?
What this leads to is the need for seven man protection as this is a deep drop that requires a lot of time in the pocket. It also leads to a ‘throw deep or run’ scheme which doesn’t benefit Perry at all. Perry isn’t Malik Rosier, he’s a strong armed pocket quarterback that can look off safeties and read a defense- it’s time to scheme around that or at least scheme for him.
The R4 Scheme
The R4 was created by quarterback guru and former Central Florida Knights passer Darin Slack (Twitter) and Jenks (Oklahoma) High School offensive coordinator Dub Maddox (Twitter). Slack now runs the NFA Quarterback Academy which has camps and clinics all over the world to teach this R4 system. Maddox wrote this article that was sent to me and I read once a week to stay grounded. The R4 system has rhythm, read, and rush routes built into their scheme.
Rhythm routes happen on the last step of the quarterback’s drop (Helmet 37). In the R4, the longest pass drop for a quarterback in the shotgun takes 2.6 seconds (Adapt 25-28) as part of the read concept.
The read routes take longer to develop as the receiver decelerates and breaks in or out on the field. The QB will hitch in their drop to give a receiver running a speed out or dig time to break in or out and find empty space (Helmet 39). These also include drags, curls, and comebacks where the receiver would be reading an option in the coverage.
The Rush routes are throws the QB can make if they feels immediate pressure. These are slants, hitches, shallow crosses and bubbles. They’re the “hot” route we hear about so often on broadcasts (Helmet 41-42). A running back swing constitutes a bubble.
As you can see in my image above, Slack and Maddox of the R4 system would have used a play design more like the one above. It gives Perry or Rosier (Perry, por favor) two rhythm routes, a read route (which is open once the blitzer comes) and a rush route (which gives him that hot read). Now Perry can throw a nice, easy, catchable ball and route versus three “go routes” which cause a chuck it or run it QB mentality.
WWDD? What Would Dottavio Do?
Besides consume 50 beers to survive another Miami loss to Virginia (Al Golden is sweating profusely somewhere while taking a shot); the image above is the method I use for my play calling. It’s mostly the Air Raid mentality of finding space and beating any coverage or defensive back technique.
The outside receivers run option routes. The route is a vertical press, but if they have soft coverage they will run comebacks. The comeback HAS to be ran at the top of the screen to keep the cornerback away from the one step slant route that the slot runs. On the bottom of the screen he could run a hitch, but in spacing rules, if that outside linebacker hard drops into a curl-flat he could break into the window.
The running back swings to replace the dig route. Any crossing route should have a running back swing to that side, or the Tight End replace him on some sort of arrow or flat route. Think about this- who in that image above can cover the running back with regards to that defensive alignment?
Mark Richt and N’Kosi Perry (or God willing, Rosier) need to learn how to give their quarterback rhythm, read and rush on every passing concept in order to keep the quarterback from having to throw deep on every play or take off running. That’s not a smart offense, that’s what your little cousin does in Madden hoping to catch a jump ball on 4th and 22.