You learn a lot watching a game a second time. You learn even more watching a handful of plays over and over. Here is the first batch from the BYU game. More to follow.
This was the first offensive play of the game for the Huskies. The Dawgs come out in 12 personnel (one back, two TEs) under center, with Hunter Bryant in-line on the right and Otton in a wing position on the left. The play appears to be something like a pin and pull zone run to the left, except none of the OL are blocking down (the pin part). I am not really sure what I would call this, so call it an outside zone with RG Jaxson Kirkland pulling.
Notice the good vertical displacement that the left side of the OL achieves. Trey Adams and Luke Wattenberg blast their targets off the line of scrimmage and completely out of the intended path of RB Sean McGrew. McGrew sees the crease, plants and slices upfield efficiently, meeting with no resistance until he is nine yards upfield. He then does a nice job lowering his shoulder and finishing the run for an extra two yards.
This was a good play all around and turned out to foreshadow what would be a major theme for the Huskies' offense for the rest of the day: ownership of the line of scrimmage.
Lack of Effort Play
A couple plays later the Huskies are in a 2nd and 4 situation and they again have 12 personnel, this time aligning in a 2x2 formation, with Otton and Bryant in the slots. The play call is a double screen, with the left side of the formation setting up a WR screen and the right side a swing screen to McGrew.
Eason immediately throws to the swing screen to the wide side of the field, putting the ball on the money to McGrew in stride. The play has the potential to go for a nice gain, except that WR Aaron Fuller completely whiffs on his block, showing what looks to me like an alarming lack of effort and physicality. So instead of a sure gain, with the potential for a decent chunk play if McGrew can make one guy miss in space, McGrew gets smacked by a crashing cornerback, losing three yards and taking a big hit in the process.
Fuller had a nice game catching the ball and that long punt return TD, but these kinds of plays are what makes people who watch carefully criticize his play at times.
Enjoy Skinny While He is Here
Skinny Eason is playing lights out and we should all try to get the maximum enjoyment out of every game he plays in the Purple and Gold, because he is destined to be a very high NFL draft pick next Spring. Plays like this next one are why the NFL scouts are going to be drooling over him, whether Todd McShay wants to admit it or not.
The Huskies are in 12 personnel again, but this time align in an empty formation on 3rd and 6 from the BYU 17 yard line. The Cougars only rush three and drop eight into coverage. Eason appears to be looking first to Otton up the seam, but doesn't like what he sees. He also considers throwing the Bryant on the cross, but BYU has shallow zone defenders lurking. With the pocket collapsing, because of Wattenberg being put on skates by the nose tackle, Eason bails to his left and spots Richard Newton alone in the back left corner of the endzone. Without setting his feet, Eason guns the ball while on the move to his left from the 28 yard line to 7-8 yards deep in the endzone, where it hits Newton on the hands on his outside shoulder.
Without Eason's awareness, arm strength, and ability to be that accurate on the move, this play probably results in an incompletion or a sack. But he has all of those things, in spades, so it is a touchdown. And a cornerstone of his pre-draft highlight reel.
A Rough One for the LBs
On BYU's intial offensive possession it is 1st and 10 on the Husky 40 yard line. BYU is in 11 personnel, lined up in a Pistol Wing formation. They run what looks like an inside zone to the left. Husky OLB Joe Tryon is sealed off by the BYU left tackle and is totally neutralized.
Washington LB Kyler Manu attacks the B-gap, which happens to be exactly where the play is headed. That's good. Unfortunately he flies right by the play, with an assist from the BYU center who gets a little piece of him (arguably in the form of an illegal block in the back). That's bad.
To make matters worse, LB Brandon Wellington is a little slow to get moving in the direction of the play. A climbing BYU OL gets his hands on Welly and just nudges him enough that Wellington can't get over to clean up after Manu's whiff.
Add in some less than perfect tackling at the end of the play and BYU has a nice 14 yard gain on a run that probably should have been bottled up for a minimal gain, if not a tackle-for-loss.
Check Downs Can be Sexy
It's 1st and 10 from the BYU 28 yard line and we've got some kind of downfield play action thing dialed up. I can't tell what the concept was without seeing the all-22 film. But the important thing here is that Eason surveys the situation briefly, doesn't like what he sees, and gets the ball out to McGrew on the check-down in a very timely fashion.
The ball hits McGrew right in the mitts, he secures the catch, turns upfield, and lowers his shoulder to finish the play for a tidy little 11 yard gain. The beauty of this is that the downfield shot wasn't available, but good execution by Eason and McGrew turned this into a very successful play anyway.