_FANframes: Play Action Pass Scheme Against Oklahoma

K-State had a successful night running the football against Oklahoma, gaining 213 yards on the ground against the Sooners. One of the staples of Bill Snyder’s offense has always been to utilize play action passing off of the running game, especially when the running game has success like it did last Saturday. While Klein wasn’t able to get over the top of OU’s defense for a huge gain off of run action, twice on K-State’s final scoring drive Klein hooked up with tight end Travis Tannahill for big first down gains. However, this was a scheme the Wildcats utilized 5 times during the game, but only one other time were they able to get another double digit gain. Still, the scheme was effective, leading to 46 yards through the air on 4 completions in 5 attempts.

K-State had retaken the lead and after holding Oklahoma to a 3 and out on defense, Klein and the offense started from their own 23 yard line. Instead of protecting a narrow 17-13 lead by coming out running the football, the Cats quickly attacked with play action pass. Set in a 2 back pistol backfield, a tight end and receiver to the top of the formation, and a single receiver to the bottom, K-State caught Oklahoma in the perfect defense for a big play. The route scheme (purple arrows) attacked the wide side of the field with a deep fade by the top receiver and two flat routes by the tight end and the full back who aligned in the backfield opposite of the tight end. As they did most of the night, OU would be matched up in man coverage and this route scheme combined with play action put considerable pressure on the strong safety (red arrow). OU’s safeties were big parts of their run defense, filling hard even when aligned 10 yards off of the ball like in this frame, and the combination of run action and the distance to cover to the tight end leads to an easy throw and catch.


The run action in the backfield really holds the safeties and the linebackers fly to the line of scrimmage. Also take note of the offensive line action, they all turn and run toward the bottom of the screen, selling stretch zone blocking action. As was pointed out in the broadcast, OU’s linebackers often read through the offensive line and pulling linemen, so strong run action like this really helped sell the play. The safety (red arrow) is already beat.

By the time Klein releases the ball, Tannahill already has the angle on the safety. Also notice that the action by Wilson leads naturally to an extra flat route option for Klein had the safety read the play and gotten out in coverage on Tannahill. The backfield movement from Wilson also helps sell the run action because one of our zone read schemes utilizes the full back on the backside outside linebacker, like this nice Sams run from the Miami game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGQgbzh8pww&feature=player_detailpage#t=2849s

The only thing left is Tannahill’s hurdle attempt on the sideline, but that was already after a big gain down the sideline and a 21 yard reception.

7 plays later, K-State would run the same play from the same formation (something you don’t see often in the same drive from Snyder) for another nice gain and first down, on the play before Hubert’s big run gave the Wildcats an 11 point cushion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KcYjXDGJ0k&feature=player_detailpage&list=UL6KcYjXDGJ0k#t=2828

However, the beauty of Snyder’s offense is taking a scheme concept like this one and utilizing it in different ways. K-State ran the same scheme twice in the first half and once more on the final drive to run out the clock. The first time K-State ran the scheme it was from a completely different formation and personnel grouping, this time from a 3 wide receiver (2 to the top of the formation), 1 tight end (bottom), and 1 back formation. Here, Thompson will motion to the backfield to the fullback spot filled by Wilson in the previous two examples.


Even though the route will now be run by an inside receiver from a twins set instead of a tight end, the concept is essentially the same; a vertical, short out route, and a flat route by the fullback. Again, notice the Sooners lock on in man, and again a safety is put in a bind by run action and the distance he has to cover. The two receivers have removed a linebacker, but he bites up on the run action, eliminating the threat of a flat defender for the throw.

Once again Klein and Hubert execute run action and the offensive line sells stretch zone blocking. The safety is 8 yards off the receiver.

As the ball is thrown, Lockett is wide open and makes the catch before advancing for a first down. Again, notice K-State has an additional flat route option in addition to a tight end down the middle of the field from this formation.

Granted, two times the concept didn’t lead to big gains, though one was more due to a poor throw from Klein. In the 2nd quarter, K-State ran the play with twins receivers and two backs, but Klein made the throw slightly behind Wilson leading only to a 1 yard gain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH2bTwDuq78&feature=player_detailpage#t=2657s

Then, on K-State’s final drive to run out the clock, K-State ran the same personnel as the throw to Lockett above, but this time Oklahoma defended the play well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KcYjXDGJ0k&feature=player_detailpage&list=UL6KcYjXDGJ0k#t=3581s

Notice the major difference in the final two is that we didn’t catch OU in an advantageous alignment for the route. On both, OU had a defender up near the line of scrimmage on the inside receiver, making separation on the out route much more difficult. That coverage made it much more difficult to run the route combination and OU reacted well to the flat route from the fullback spot, so the plays were unsuccessful.

Discuss it on the message board: http://goemaw.com/forum/index.php?topic=23007.0

One thought on “_FANframes: Play Action Pass Scheme Against Oklahoma”

  1. Is it fair to say that Klein’s throw on that very last play was his worst of the game? He would have simply fallen down and killed 40 seconds, but he tried to make something happened and it was not good.

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