UCLA Football: Implementing the pass with the option

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Theo Howard /
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Implementing the pass with the option (cont.)

The pass and run can live in the option together. Above is an abbreviated look at Oregon at USC in 2012, Kelly’s last season as the head of the Ducks.

Oregon and Mariota start the game creating space. USC knows that the Ducks are going to run, so Kelly comes out attacking with several quick passes which immediately moves the ball down field in the first drive of the game.

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Notice how defenders start to dedicate too many players to the run. Mariota sees this and locks to the next level for an open receiver on multiple occasions, which have plenty of room when a DL or LB commit to a run stop near the line of scrimmage. Either way, on those plays, if the defender is set in their zone, the ball carrier has room to move past the line of scrimmage. Oregon is able to find different ways to exploit the defense.

On the second drive, defenders appear to be a bit more committed to sticking with receivers, giving more room for the Oregon ball carriers to run once they get past the line of scrimmage. Though they are quickly met by the defense, it is not after the Ducks obtain several yards after contact.

Once the USC defense is on their heels, Oregon continues attacking with the run, intermittently adding a passing attack. Oregon ended that game with 23 passing attempts for 304 yards while they ran it 60 times for 426 yards, scoring on 9 pf 14 of their drives on their way to a 62-51 victory.

Though the pass game is not front and center, it his just as important to the offense as they look to get down the field in a hurry.

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Kelly has his plan and it will take time, but if everyone buys into it and trusts the process, the Bruins will be able to go as fast and efficiently as that Oregon team, though in time. I do not believe UCLA’s first year with Kelly will be as successful as his fourth with Oregon, but there is hope.