Normally, we like to try to use Wednesdays as a transition between games and be moving into previews and stories about the upcoming weekend. This morning, though, another .gif of the Kerryon Johnson touchdown play that Bobby Barkley dubbed the "Sean Dive" was on Twitter, and that just made me decide to break down the play even more.
Unfortunately, I don't have WarRoom Eagle's ability to cut up and add graphics to video for great .gifs. Plus, I don't have the time to do it for this. So, we're just going to look at the highlight in multiple forms and talk about it.
Here's the highlight from the official Auburn Tigers YouTube highlight video:
That doesn't give the full view of the field for the whole play, but you do see the main things and how it unfolded.
1) The Sean White Pitch, aka "The Sean Dive." Sean White steps up into the pocket when he's pressured and then starts to step to the outside. I can't tell if he slips, trips over Alex Kozan's feet, or if Kozan's left leg actually steps on his foot/ankle. Either way, he stumbles as he's falling down. He knows the pitch man is there, so he does everything he can to get the ball out before any part of him is down. That's great body control and awareness.
It's also very dangerous and could have backfired horribly. Thankfully, there was no defender there to bat the ball down or pick off the pitch. Also, thankfully, Kerryon Johnson was paying attention and makes the snag.
2) The Spin Cycle. That video doesn't do it justice. All you see is him spin around. Fortunately, there are lower level views available that show his footwork. It's unreal.
That .gif shows the spin and plant. What makes it so effective is the way he contorts his lower body, plants his feet, and then turns. His feet were already set to take off in the other direction. That's impressive enough by itself. What makes it even more fun is when you see the effect it had on the Arkansas State defense.
Kerryon Johnson's spin move made an entire defense look silly. Seriously, this looks like something from a cartoon. pic.twitter.com/zaFJfhPeYp— Justin King (@JustinKing) September 11, 2016
He breaks the initial tackle but then sees that virtually the entire Arkansas State D is there to cut him off. Seriously, I see 7 people rush into this frame. There's one on the ground from the first tackle. That's 8 out of 11 players, and the DBs are starting to rush up as soon as makes the spin. The original tweet is right, it is cartoonish in the way he jukes out an entire defense.
3) The Blocks. The pitch and the spin by themselves are an incredible play by two very talented players. However, it wasn't over, yet. The rest of the team, seeing Kerryon reverse field with the entire defense pursuing him, sets up the rest.
It begins at about the 24-second mark in the above video where you see Will Hastings make a key block that allows him to get to the far sideline. The video then cuts from the low angle to the end zone camera, where you find Sean White now in the lead. White, the QB, could have held back after his diving pitch. Instead, he gets up and leads the charge himself. He doesn't actually make contact with a defender, but just by being there he throws off a charging stAte player who maybe could have tripped Kerron up.
Sean White isn't alone. Tony Stevens and Ryan Davis are also blocking, as well. Davis throws the final key block on #21. Without that, the stAte defender surely forces Johnson out of bounds just shy. It's still a highlight run, but not near as fun and impressive as a touchdown. Johnson, who has already shown his ability to hurdle defenders in the past, does so again, and then makes the final dive for the pylon.
4) A Highlight For the Ages. Each individual element would make this a great play. The pitch and spin by themselves are amazing. The blocks show a team that is together and knows their roles well even on busted plays. Kerryon Johnson shows his athleticism and speed throughout the play. It was a lot of fun to watch, it's a lot of fun to re-watch, and it'll definitely go down as one of the highlight plays of the season.
And it was still overshadowed by this.
Want to have even more fun? Let's break down the years of the players I've mentioned, above...
Sean White - Sophomore
Kerryon Johnson - Sophomore
Will Hastings - Sophomore
Tony Stevens - Senior
Ryan Davis - Sophomore
Kyle Davis - Freshman
This team is young, and it is talented. If the offensive line puts things together consistently against every team, they could be very dangerous.