"Trick" plays and the RR spread (where did they go?)

Submitted by uniqenam on June 17th, 2010 at 9:28 AM

So somehting that has been nagging at me for the past two years that I need your guys' opinion on is RR's lack of trick plays in the spread.  I know that LC was known for his conservative play, but it seemed like after a bunch of 4-yard rushes he would suddenly pull out a reverse, flea flicker, or even a more vanilla end around.  Is it just me, or does Rich Rodriguez not really use trick plays very often?  It seems as if he's actually playing the more conservative brand of football, by staying strictly within his spread philosophy and not using any gimmicky plays or anything of that sort.  Thoughts?



June 17th, 2010 at 9:30 AM ^

He's been limited because the offense hasn't learned the entire playbook yet.  When you have a team full of underclassmen it's hard to pull trick plays out because, odds are, all hell will break loose. 

TMS-Mr. Ace

June 17th, 2010 at 9:33 AM ^

With both Denard and Tate having a year of experience now I expect both of them to be on the field for some more trickeration this year.  Reverse flea flicker against UConn...you heard it here first.


June 17th, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

I've seen so many people talk about how we NEED to have two QB's on the field that you'd swear it was impossible to have success without two!

Two QB's is NOT a trick play. It allows for odd formations, but it's not like they can both throw the ball at once. The defense is going to be keyed up witching for cross field lateral passes and down field shots to a QB as WR. These are not tricks.

Tricks are when players that are NOT QB's do QB things, or the ball is effectively hidden. Not when a player with good athletic skill enters at a position that's not the one that he NORMALLY plays at.

Captain Obvious

June 17th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

Having 2 QBs on the field allow for more effective trick plays.  If you pitch the ball to your TB and he passes it, that's a trick play.  If you screen pass/lateral the ball to a WR and he passes it, that's a trick play.  If your TB/WR is Denard Robinson, these plays just got a whole lot more effective.  I'm not necessarily advocating such plays but the logic is sound.


June 17th, 2010 at 10:50 AM ^

 If your TB/WR is Denard Robinson

Uh... That's what I JUST said. Exactly. If your non-QB player makes a QB play, it's a trick play. If DR lines up at Wide, then he is NOT a QB on that play.

As I said, having 2 QB's is not a trick play. And I hate it when people say it is. Having a QB with the skill set to play other positions line up at other positions and then knowing he should be a little more effective throwing the ball than your OTHER guys at those positions does allow for trick plays.

Captain Obvious

June 17th, 2010 at 11:29 AM ^

No one is saying that Tate and Denard lining up in the backfield, Tate taking the snap and handing off to Denard up the middle is a trick play.  I did not say that lining up Denard in the slot and passing to him is a trick play.

What I did say is that if Tate and Denard are on the field together, it may MAKE EXISTING TRICK PLAYS MORE EFFECTIVE.  A QB pitch to a TB who then throws downfield to a receiver is a trick play.  If Denard is the TB for this trick play it might work better because HE HAS THE SKILL SET TO MAKE DOWNFIELD PASSES BETTER THAN A TRADITIONAL TB.

Hope this helps.

Foote Fetish

June 17th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

I think the beef Blaze has is with the word "trick."  If Denard is on the field and he's not behind center, the defense will expect shenanigans from Denard - throwing, laterals, etc.  A trick is only a trick if the other team is not expecting it.

I propose that instead saying a Denard/Tate play is a "trick" play, we just call it an "inherently awesome" play or "100% Fool Proof" play.

That way, all of us MGoPosters can play nice and rejoice in the beauty that is our two-headed monster QB.

TMS-Mr. Ace

June 17th, 2010 at 11:31 AM ^

I don't want it all the time, but maybe on series a game we have both Tate and Denard on the field.  Have Denard running all over the place so the defense has to pay attention.  I think it will open up the regular offense and when the defense finally loses focus on Denard, throw in a trick play. 

Again, we don't need a trick play every game(although I wouldn't be opposed). But when we have the athletes at QB that we do, why not take full advantage if we can?


June 17th, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

I imagine that some defenses in preparing for us will have one defensive package for when Tate is on the field, and another defensive package for when Denard is on the field.  Having a series where they both take the field at once could really cause such a team some severe headaches.


June 17th, 2010 at 9:35 AM ^

The bread-and-butter play of Rodriguez's offense (read option) is already somewhat of a trick play.  I don't think that you see many trick plays on top of that from a spread offense in general.


June 17th, 2010 at 9:36 AM ^

i heard something about concocting a play called the "annexation of puerto rico". very high risk, but comes with great reward if properly executed.


June 17th, 2010 at 9:48 AM ^

there is also a play that was talked about in the spring where the QB gets the ball in the shotgun then runs towards the line of scrimmage as if its a draw and then tosses the ball out to the flat.  Not sure if it is a trick play but there is some deception in it, I expected to see it at the spring game is was talked about so much.


June 17th, 2010 at 9:52 AM ^

Not a fan of the play where the ball is snapped and the lineman stay in their stance. RR has ran it twice that i know of both in 2008, utah and minn


June 17th, 2010 at 10:05 AM ^

Wrong. Denard is so fast that he can create a temporary discontinuity in the time/space continuum, giving him the ability to occupy the same space as Tate, only shifted in phase so that there is no Earth-eating singularity created.


June 17th, 2010 at 10:46 AM ^

I love the WR screens on 3rd and 9 when we were losing last year. It reminds me of the FB dive plays my high school would run on 3rd and long. I am continuing to have patience for RR's system however, I do miss the deep ball off the playaction. If we win 8 games next year, I will no longer complain about the 15 WR screens per game. I know, I know, its a text book spread play- so does our opposition.

Sextus Empiricus

June 17th, 2010 at 11:00 AM ^

We talked about it quite a bit during the season and in UFRs galore.  MCalibur had this diary on play selection.  The scrape exchange was being undone and redone throughout the season.  Not really a trick play but tricky nonetheless.

03 Blue 07

June 17th, 2010 at 12:07 PM ^

I just watched the video linked at MVictors. Those formations are incredible. It is difficult to see who has the ball most of the time- they appear to have the option of snapping it deep to the halfback/qb, or a short snap to the upman/qb (not sure who is termed the qb in that offense) on every play, and everyone runs their fakes out so well, it had to be incredibly confusing for the defense.

In all honesty, I think that offense, if executed that well, would still work. The biggest problem would be the perceived lack of a passing threat, but I think you can see how it would work and could work to pass as well, as the video shows. It is like a Ga Tech or Air Force offense, but more intricate, more well-executed, and incredibly precise. I would love to see a team bring it back. Due to the multitude of options on every play and the execution, it seems like a conceptual analog to the spread option, honestly. Obviously, offenses evolved over time, like the wishbone and other option based offenses, but it seems that in 2010, we've mostly evolved so far that bringing it back to the offense run by that 1948 team could be effective. Cyclical and all that.


June 17th, 2010 at 11:50 AM ^

Maybe the reason is because Rich Rodriguez;'s choice of quarterbacks the last two years has been A. Redshirt Freshman or B. True Freshman. None had played a down at the college level before. Steven Threet/Nick Sheridan and Tate Forcier/Denard Robinson had enough difficulty handling the shotgun snap from center, let alone making timed reads on the read option play and all of it's offshoots and derivatives running and passing. This is first required for this offense to even work.  I think Rodriguez did run a few slot reverses last year, but we'll probably see more "trick plays" in 2010 and 2011 once the quarterbacks are comfortable back there. 

Actually, I don't even want to see a trick play as much as a QB draw play  by Denard Robinson that works perfectly going 80 yards for a touchdown to the tune of snapped clipboards and smashed headsets.