Texas A&M Football: 5 wrinkles to help the Aggies’ struggling offense

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Texas A&M football
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Running the ball out of an empty set

There is a theme here, putting athletic people in space and letting them do their thing. Putting five wide receivers on the field creates plenty of space. This stretches defenses out, and the stacked wide receiver corps could put five guys out there who were threats to score. This year, A&M may not have 5 great wideouts, but there is enough talent to make defenses have to respect it. Running a few pass plays out of empty can open up the field, which is what we want.

Offenses like to count the “box,” or the area between the tackles and plus or minus about seven yards from the line of scrimmage. There are five defenders there, the same as the number of offensive linemen. This means we should run the ball. Simple numbers mean that everyone is accounted for. We run a quarterback draw. The quarterback can pick his gap, go away from a linebacker, and be in open space pretty quickly.

Draw the defense in

The line acts like they are protecting for a pass, which triggers the defense to look for a pass. It can be based on a route combination (if the first read isn’t open, tuck it and go). The center, or whomever is not blocking somebody, goes up to the linebacker to block him and spring the quarterback. The quarterback must take a few steps as if he is getting ready to throw the ball, to further the fake.

The pass protection spreads out the defensive line, and lets the quarterback make more choices as to where he is going to run. It makes the linebacker back up some, and makes the defensive secondary respect the possible routes being run. It’s a playcall that is especially deadly on third down, when the defense expects a pass.

These plays are usually staples of spread offenses, but I think they could be especially useful in getting a young quarterback warmed up into the game. They feature a focus on one or two players, and can help someone like Kellen Mond to narrow his focus, and make one choice.

Next: ULL Preview, players to watch and predictions

Once players start playing football instead of thinking, they can move faster and more efficiently. At IMG Academy, there is little doubt Mond ran something similar to every single one of these. A&M may block them differently than I have diagrammed here, but the ideas are the same, and the goal is to get athletes in space where they can most damage a defense.