While reading through the comments on the Bo Nix article, I had a fun idea to help us get through these last few days until football season kicks off. Every single one of us likes to think we could design a few cool packages for the offense and create some plays out of them. Whether you were sitting in your 4th grade classroom doodling to pass the time, drawing something on a napkin at lunch with your buddies, or maybe it came to you in a dream one night, we’ve all had Jimmy Neutron BRAIN-BLASTS! where an awesome idea came to you. So I figured, why not get everyone to share their hair-brained ideas? Let’s build a community playbook.
Here’s the (very loose) guidelines:
- Describe the formation. Whether you can do it in words, or you want to find a way to draw it and post a picture, help us understand where the players are positioned. Make sure it’s a legal formation, too.
- Tell us who’s playing. These ideas are for this year’s offense. Let us know who you’ve got in your formation. We’ll assume the OL is just the regular starting OL unless stated otherwise.
- Call some plays. Show us why you’re a genius and give us a few plays to run! Who knows, maybe other commenters will tell us how they’d align their defense against your offense.
Simple enough, right? I’ll give it a try.
Alright, so bear with me for a second, because there’s a lot going on. Obviously you see the QB taking the snap, and next to/behind him is a running back. Out left of the formation is a lone receiver. We want the corner to have to be very aware of the receiver and perhaps require help from the safety.
On the right side, there are three receivers. Furthest out is your split end, a guy that can take the top on the defense if you chuck it deep. Four to five yards off the line of scrimmage is another receiver who will come in motion on most plays in this formation. Next to/in front of him is where it gets tricky. Also on the line of scrimmage, you have a receiver who can block. This is because he’s technically an ineligible receiver. As you may know, if a player is lined up on the line of scrimmage but is not the furthest player outside the formation (among the players on the LOS), he is ineligible, or “covered up”. This is commonly used in trick play formations, because it allows the offense to create an eligible receiver out of a player/position which usually is ineligible. In this formation, the left tackle position is an eligible receiver since he is not covered up by anyone to his left on the line.
The quarterback is still Bo Nix here. We’ll say the running back is Boobie Whitlow, since the running back isn’t doing anything special on this play. Having your starter there helps keep the defense from knowing what’s up.
As the motion man, we’ll use Shaun Shivers, although he, Anthony Schwartz, or Eli Stove all fit here. Again, the key is to use whoever is your usual motion man in this spot.
Of the remaining three receivers, let’s go from right to left. I’ll go with Anthony Schwartz, Shedrick Jackson, and then Seth Williams on the left side of the formation. I know technically Seth Williams isn’t the split end in this offense, but I’m the offense coordinator here. I want Seth. Shedrick Jackson earned a good deal of playing time last season for his blocking prowess, so to me he makes sense as the covered up receiver that can block (just not downfield). You could also put your favorite H-back here and I wouldn’t complain, although only if other formations in the offense utilize the H-back split out wide.
Lastly, the left tackle. This is where you have to move quickly. My understanding of the rules is than anyone numbered 50-79 is automatically ineligible, so you wouldn’t be able to put an offensive lineman there and just hope he can catch. However, if you put any skill position guys there, you aren’t going to trick anyone into thinking he’s a lineman. This is where Gus having a “sixth lineman” wear #90 becomes useful. It wasn’t as common in the Chip Lindsey era, but Gus used several guys in this fashion over the years, including Braden Smith and Shon Coleman before they became starters. Bailey Sharp has been discussed as the next lineman up if anyone gets hurt this year, but I want Andy Burcham to get to call a Brodarius Hamm touchdown in his first game. So BroHamm it is!
There’s a few things you can run here. You probably don’t want to run this formation multiple times in the same game, as the defense might catch on, but it’s one of those formations that you put on tape for future opponents to see. If you run the same play 2-3 times, the opponent notices the “trick formation” and expects you to run the “trick play” out of it. That’s when you pull the sheet out from under them.
The primary play out of this formation is a throwback pass to the Hamm. Shivers comes in motion in front of the Nix and a handoff is faked. So long as the defense bites, Hamm can chip block a defender and be eligible for a pass. Williams will run off the corner away from the play, and Shivers coming in motion (and not attempting to cut upfield quickly) should pull the nickel or linebacker into the backfield and past Hamm.
The trick is getting this play set up. If a defender snuffs it out and sticks with Hamm, he’s probably not going to be able to make a play. So we can start with actually handing the ball off to Shivers from this formation on an end around. You can also use Boobie to run a few different plays out of this set, including lining him up more even with the quarterback and running a buck sweep to the right. With Shedrick Jackson already sitting in the slot, you can use him as an extra blocker to go with the pulling guards.
There’s obviously more you can do with this formation, but as mentioned, you don’t want to run it too often at the risk of blowing the surprise of the uncovered left tackle.
What do y’all think? What are your formations you’ve always wanted to see run?