New Grantland: Post/Wheel and the Latest Wrinkles in Holgorsen’s West Virginia Offense

It’s now up:

It worked. The receiver outside of Austin, J.D. Woods, ran a post while Austin ran a wheel up the sideline. The post-wheel route combination is one of the oldest in football, but it has increasingly become one of Geno Smith’s favorites. A big reason is that the routes aren’t static; although one receiver runs a post and another a wheel, each receiver has freedom to adjust his route by curling in between zone defenders or changing the angle of the post route. In this way, Holgorsen’s Air Raid offense has taken on shades of the old run-and-shoot, a pass-first attack known for receivers’ adjusting their routes and whose influence is still felt in the NFL. On this play against Maryland, no adjustments are necessary. The defense is confused by the post and fake touch pass and leaves AustinĀ wide open in the end zone.

Read the whole thing.

  • AeroAg2012

    One thing I saw this weekend in addition to this game that I thought was genius was the “Double Play-Action Pass” from the Shotgun drawn up by Kliff Kingsbury. I have always said that the problem with play action from the shotgun is that it doesn’t draw the safeties or linebackers up for the same amount of time to let receivers get a few steps of separation.

    With an offense that integrates jet hand-offs, WVU-esque jet passes to the H-receiver, and crossing backs out of the two-back shotgun, this wrinkle had great success on at least two different plays on Saturday in a 58-10 drubbing of Arkansas.

    Watch the game film here:

  • smartfootball

    What does “double play-action pass” mean? Where they fake a jet sweep and a traditional play-action pass? If so I agree that’s a good play, though I’ve seen teams do that for over a decade, including Holgorsen when he was at Houston (but other guys too). It’s a good play.

  • AeroAg2012

    That’s correct. I have definitely seen it before, but I suppose I just thought that it was a really good strategy given the context of the game, where A&M averaged something like 6.8 YPC on inside runs by the backs and had also shown a jet pass to H-Receiver Thomas Johnson earlier in that game and against South Carolina State the previous week.

  • Thought the same thing on how you described the curl/flat evolution from a traditional ‘All Curl’ concept into a curl/wheel to the backside. That was after the curl/flat evolved from the frontside read. The tight end went to weak side, from his release, to force a declarative rotation and accelerate the read to backside as BYU seemed to see this develop into wider pass windows. It went from a frontside control read where a good strong safety could maybe cover the two control depth routes, to a backside control read as Lavell Edwards team changed it so less clutter could occur, to this field flipping play on the back of a control concept(something their Specials did in play selection as well, tendency breaking).That comment by me came from your hook and lateral/lateral thread(those wacky air raid types).

    Nice of you take the wheel/post as concept into focus, for better reasons. Because it helps to show how this takes a standard hi-lo read, that is simple, and has teams squeeze hi to rally low, and suddenly attacks on levels high so split field coverages get a haymaker to the jaw. The safety rotation on a hi-low or flood can kill it, now run at post at the middle, better stay put up there….
    So the Holgorsen play is to do it every play, until those field flip plays are routine, and last week’s game was perhaps its high point. Take standard concepts, add one mismatch/stress factor, and run it until the thing is nearly automatic.

    This also hurts safeties who try and play between two deep routes and drive on one or the other(dual routes do that often). Hard to play between two routes going different directions. So wing/combo work gets stressed. Dual posts, yeah it could go, post/wheel, you are left with leaving either one open enough you have to drive through a receiver’s body to get it, and that guy is going away from you.
    Dana has evolved from control passing, to control bombing. Lamonica would have loved it.

  • John Sanders

    I saw the post-wheel with doubles to either side against Texas yesterday. Texas left the wheel wide open and Geno hit him for a nice gain on the right. Then on the next play or soon after came a wrinkle. They went to it again on the same side with trips but the outside receiver stayed back facing the QB. A defensive back who could have covered the wheel was watching for the long lateral and Geno hit the wheel again.

    After Baylor/WVA game and the Texas/OSU game I was expecting a 110 point game with WVA/Texas. But with the former games on Tape for Manny Diaz and Joe DeForest to study I see that I couldn’t quite count on it.