Vanderbilt’s complete offensive line shift (including the center) to unbalanced

Ole Miss defeated Vanderbilt 39-35 in a wild game last night, as the Rebels came back twice in the second half and, in coach Hugh Freeze’s words, “stole one.” In the final minutes of the game, after Ole Miss had taken a 32-28 lead, Vanderbilt converted a fourth and 18 to Jordan Matthews, only for Ole Miss runningback Jeff Scott to hit a 75 yard run:

The interesting thing about Ole Miss’s final touchdown was it was a hand-off on the Inverted Veer, a play which is one of Ole Miss’s staple run plays under Freeze. But the most unique wrinkle in a very entertaining and hard fought game came from Vanderbilt’s brain trust of head coach James Franklin, offensive coordinator Jon Donovan and offensive line coach Herb Hand: Before one play, Vandy shifted its entire offensive line, including the center so that its left tackle ended up snapping the ball. See the gif below (courtesy of SBNation):


Vanderbilt was able to do this because four of its starting offensive linemen have started games at center in their careers, and — if a team has that kind of personnel — it looks like a great way to catch a defense off balance as the offense shifts to an unbalanced set. It didn’t work to great success last night, however, partially because Ole Miss blitzed the corner off the backside edge (it’s unclear if that had already been called or was a built-in adjustment to unbalanced), and — as the gif shows — Ole Miss’s young defense reacted well to it.

Vandy didn’t go back to it last evening but it’s something teams must prepare for and I’d expect to see it again this season. More importantly, if both Vandy and Ole Miss — two young teams — play like they did last night, they’ll have plenty to cheer about.

  • GmanS05

    I don’t remember if it was last season or the one before, but I remember an NFL team doing something similar. If I remember correctly it was 3rd or 4th and 1 and they motioned one man individually, then another, then had the entire line shift over 1 spot, then ran (I think a QB sneak) right into the teeth of the defense.

    I’m not sure, but it may have been the Falcons against the Giants.

  • brian piercy

    I haven’t seen anything like since HS. Certainly seems like a good way to overwhelm one side of a defense, but once you’ve seen it on film, at least you know how to prepare.

  • Mr.Murder

    Tried to use a similar look for an EP two point try. Center becomes tackle, run to overload side(extra double teams), when they start selling out and blitzing the short side let the shotgun center run eligible route.

  • CoachFord

    Vandy did not need to shift to it, they should have lined up in it, snapped the ball and gone