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Rhett Lashlee needs to let D’Eriq King loose

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King’s legs need to be a bigger part of the offense moving forward

NCAA Football: Miami at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

D’Eriq King is a special quarterback that can be deadly with both his throwing ability and his ability to run the football. The dual-threat QB thrown 56 touchdowns, ran in 30 more, and even caught three TD passes early on in his career. Through four games under Rhett Lashlee, King’s yards per attempt are down two yards from 2017 and a yard and a half from 2018. King is completing more balls for a better YPA under Lashlee than Holgorsen.

In four games at Miami, King has ran for only 241 yards and two touchdowns in four games. Compare that to his stats at Houston in four games last season. A year ago under Dana Holgorsen in his version of the Air Raid, King ran for 312 yards and six touchdowns against Oklahoma, Prairie View A&M, Washington State and Tulane. King has also thrown six touchdowns with two interceptions much like he did at Houston in 2019.

In Miami’s scheme, King has had the ability to read the back side defensive end on inside zone read. However, I haven’t seen much variety from Lashlee with regards to King and using his ability to run outside of that concept. I would love to see the three concepts below for King against Pitt and beyond.


Pass-Run Options

We’v all heard of Run-Pass Options or RPO’s. They’re a household name in 2020 and are part of the football announcer malapropisms as “he called his own number,” “that’s a dive play,” and “zone read” for every form of option play. But what many may not realize is there is a category of mixed runs and passes that are pass-run options or PRO’s.

The PRO can come in many shapes and sizes, but there are three that I really love: swing-draw, stick-draw, and swing-dart. All three have a pass read first, and then a QB run read second. Hence why they’re pass-run and not run-pass options.

1- Swing-draw

Mark Richt utilized Swing-Draw well with Malik Rosier back during the glory run of 2017. Rosier is going to read the inside linebacker (circled) closest to the RB. If the linebacker runs to cover the RB’s swing route, Rosier will run the draw. If the LB sits or drops, Rosier throws the swing. It’s a 1-read PRO.

2- Stick- QB Draw

The diagram above and GIF below are from the play Horns Down that West Virginia ran with Will Grier to upset Texas. However, the idea of a Stick-QB Draw PRO works the same. The Q will read the M (Mike LB in red). If that LB covers the stick, the QB will run draw away from him. If that LB blitzes, or plays the run in anyway, the QB will throw the stick. It’s simple, but effective.

3- Swing-Dart (see more re Dart below)

Swing dart is a great PRO to get King and Cam Harris involved together in an option type concept. The play works with the offensive tackle wrapping- which could be a great fit for a slim OT like Jarid Williams. The QB looks to the RB for the swing first, if the read player (above, the end “E” in blue) runs with the RB, the QB keeps and follows the wrapping RT. If the DE “squeezes” (runs with the OT and plays the QB) the QB throws the swing.


Dart

Dart, the actual concept, is a great way to get the QB involved in the run game, too. The QB once again reads the end (The “E” in blue). If the End “squeezes” (plays down on the RB) the QB will run. If the End sits or attacks the QB, the QB hands-off to the RB. It’s an identical read to inside zone read so you can work the same drill for both with the QB.

Dart Keep

Dart Keep is another variation to get the QB running. The right tackle is still pulling to wrap into the b-gap, however, the QB no longer reads the D-End. Now the back gets an automatic fake because the QB has “called his own number” (yup, I did it) and will keep behind the wrapping tackle.


Power Read

Ah, power read (aka inverted veer). People have been writing about power read for almost a decade (maybe it has been a decade?!). Much like on the traditional power run, the play side tackle and guard double team the 3-tech (DT on the outside shoulder of the guard). The center blocks back on the 1-tech (NT), and the back side tackle does a gap-hinge to secure the inside b-gap.

The play side defensive end is the read (E in blue). If he stays outside with the running back, the QB pulls and runs inside behind the pulling back side guard. If the DE “squeezes” down and plays the QB or inside run, the QB gives to the RB who gets outside as fast as he can. It’s a flipped read from inside zone read.

Rhett Lashlee was at Auburn with Gus Malzahn when they drew this puppy up for Cam Newton on their way to a BCS National Championship victory. Below, you can watch Andy Dalton chop it up with power read back in his TCU days.


Summary

Pitt is going to give Miami the perfect look for most of these concepts. I really like running power read, dart (and its variations) and the stick and swing draw concepts against a 4-2-5 look. Pat Narduzzi will give that very same look against Miami. His DB’s will play match quarters and he will dare Miami to beat him deep, but he’ll also dare King to run. Will Lashlee dial up a game plan to take advantage of King’s legs? We’ll find out.