Louisville football is under new leadership and fans are due to see a much different scheme than we’ve seen recently on both sides of the ball. Scott Satterfield runs a “zone” offense that relies on a zone blocking scheme to run the ball. Bryan Brown utilizes an unorthodox 3-4 scheme that isn’t a 2-gap front like usual.
I decided it would be good to give a bit of an explainer on some of the things we might see from the team this year. If the players can execute, we could see the immediate improvement that some have been expecting.
This play is the basic outside zone run to the left. Satterfield has mentioned a few times that they only have two run plays with outside and inside zone and he’s not joking. This specific play is one that I think we will see a lot this year. It’s an overload formation with both receivers and the tight end to the left side. Mekhi Becton and Caleb Chandler are the better blocking duo and the offense will be “left-handed” in my opinion.
Inside zone is a pretty straightforward play design. The “zone” aspect of zone blocking pretty much just means blocking the person in your zone. It takes some mental skill because you have to know when to double team a player and when to leave that block to move to the next player. You can see on this play that the center initially helps on a block and then tries to chase down the backside linebacker.
Both of these plays show the importance of Marshon Ford in this offense. He will be a lead blocker that is responsible for the block at the second level. It’s a wrinkle in the scheme that I love. Some zone blocking teams don’t always do well with that but the h-back in this scheme seems to really help with it.
Here’s a run that adds in the “orbit” motion behind it. It has the same look as an option run that I’ve posted below. All of the eye candy with this offense is key as it keeps the defense off balance.
Louisville will still run the option like they did with Lamar Jackson but it won’t be the read option but the old school triple option. Here, the slot receiver (Tutu Atwell) goes in “orbit” motion behind the backfield and becomes the pitch man on the option. The running back (Javian Hawkins) is the dive man and can get the hand off if the read is right. I expect to see this play pretty often this year with Atwell’s speed and quickness. He has been mentioned all summer as a key player in the offense and we will see him doing things like this a lot.
They will also run the triple option out of a diamond backfield that I call the “pistol-bone”. Two running backs lineup behind the quarterback who is in the pistol and the h-back is also in the backfield. I also expect them to run the option with just two backs and no h-back. The triple option is very hard to defend when you’ve prepared for it. Imagine what it’s like to play a team that can just throw it at you out of nowhere.
PLAY ACTION PASSES
We will see plenty of play action passes with the new offense and plenty of them will be used to take shots down the field. It will be more important to see these types of short throws, in my opinion. You can see how the play action pulls the linebackers up and creates a ton of open space for the slant routes on both sides of the field. Jawon Pass has said the offense is just “A or B” and Frank Ponce said the same thing on the All Access show that aired on the ACC Network. You can see what they mean right here. It’s an easy read and he goes to his top receiver.
This play could probably fit into a category on it’s on of all of the things the offense does shown in one play. There’s play action to the back up the middle as well as the orbit motion by the outside receiver on the field side. This is my favorite play that I watched out of all of them from App State last year.
The tight end is key on this play as he runs the seam and forces the safety to at least respect him. Then you have a run off route that acts as a natural pick on the safety. The quarterback just has to make sure the safety has stayed in the middle of the field and then make the throw. This is a perfect throw but I don’t doubt that Jawon Pass could make the same throw.
A lot of things in this offense are built off of other plays. This play looks like a speed option play that is in the playbook but they sneak the reverse into it and the slot receiver gets a ton of room to work with to the outside.
I spent a good amount of time looking for a specific defensive call that I really love but I could only find this play against a RPO. I think it still gets the point across, though.
On this call, the defensive line slants aggressively to the left with the Will (C.J. Avery) replacing the defensive end with a blitz. The Card (Rodjay Burns) comes down on a blitz also. The part of the design I love is that the Mike (Dorian Etheridge) loops in behind the Will. I talked about the goal of these run fits being to create a sort of wall where backs don’t have a clear avenue to run. This design does just that.
This same play was also in the #W2W4 that I linked above but it’s such a good example of how the scheme works if executed properly. The line slants right with the right defensive end (Tabarius Peterson) getting up field to contain as well as drawing the pulling blocker (the tight end on this play). The Will loops around into the void he leaves and the strong safety (Russ Yeast) comes down into the void left by the line stunting left. The Dog (Nick Okeke) also gets up the field to contain an outside run. The defense at App executed these plays so well and that’s why they had such a good run defense even with their undersized line. UofL has to do the same.
I really liked this blitz because it has a two defensive linemen twisting to cause some confusion. My favorite thing, though, is the Mike linebacker blitzing up the middle to occupy blockers. This is a simple five man pressure that allows for one-one-one blocking and it results in both edge players getting to the QB. Peterson and Okeke are both long guys that can bend the edge like we see the App guys do here.