For the 2nd week in a row, 11 personnel includes a fun 2QB play. This time Speight was technically playing WR. Speight is a triple threat QB RB WR! I think we’ve proven those plays won’t work with Speight and DTR (zero for two is definitely a conclusive sample size, right?). Now picture a full time 2 QB offense with DTR and Khalil Tate interchangeably playing RB (sorry couldn’t resist).
As the running game gave way to passing, 11 personnel became the full-time go-to group. 100% of 2nd half possessions were with 11 personnel. It’s unusual for this team, this year, to vary their personnel so little for so long. Even in game plans that were limited to two personnel groups, they still interleaved them through the entire game. They didn’t seem to have much prepared in the way of 13 passing or alternative groups for more dedicated passing (The USC game had a lot of interesting but failed play-action misdirection passing from 12 and 13). It’s possible the offensive staff planned for a run-heavy game and got caught flat-footed with limited breadth in their passing game menu.
RB Alignment and Receiver Formations
The companion to streamlined 11 personnel was streamlined RB alignment (hybrid or next alignment 73% of the time). This game was really boring to log, but at least it went quickly.
Since they passed so much this week, it was a worthwhile game to take a look at how the receivers were lined up. They threw a lot of exotic formations against the wall and literally none of it was any good. I think Spread (2×1, typically with an O-line attached TE) has been the best performing WR formation all year, we’ll take a look in the offseason.
There was a single play with 4 receivers split wide to the left and a 5th receiver on the other side with an empty backfield. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. The routes had the 3 WRs and the TE all run straight and deep while the RB just turned around. They seemed to be looking for a botched secondary hand-off against a zone defense, but Stanford was playing man. Chip is out there still work-shopping.
Eight of the eleven OZRs this week came paired with Trips WR formation. Chip is not shy about running OZRs interchangeably away from or towards the strong WR side of the formation. This week they were better running away from WRs five times (8.6 YPP and 60% successful) than towards all those Trips WRs six times (5.5 YPP and 33% successful). Even though it performs a little worse, all that left/right ambiguity mitigates the other dead giveaway run tells such as TE heavy Personnel, Pistol, or Tackle-Over alignment.