Starting this week the film team here at FTRS is going to delve into the new offense and defense, outlining what to watch for and expect from a schematic standpoint this year. Starting off, we’ll explore the offense, exploring the formations, roles and responsibilities of the Patenaude system. Much of this will be based on film from the spring game, but film from Temple was also taken into account, especially when exploring the role of the Tight End in this system. We won’t be exploring much of the playbook today, as we first have to understand each formation’s schematic purpose, and each players role in achieving that purpose. This post will be broken down by personnel grouping/formation and roles will be discussed therein. It won’t be a comprehensive list of everything this offense may do, bit it will cover a few key topics. First, the base formation:
11 Personnel - Base (1RB, 1TE, 3WR)
The base formation of this offense is not dissimilar to that of many pistol-based spreads throughout college football. Two WRs to one side, a TE and a WR to the other with a RB riding sidecar with the QB. This formation is versatile, allowing for a wide array of passing and running concepts. The variance in personnel allows the team to probe the defense with a variety of matchups to find an advantage. The tight end can line up inline, at the H-back position, or in the slot as needed. The H-back TE positioning was used frequently at Temple, as it facilitates TE motion in the run game. TEs were often used to block for power running plays at Temple. Presumed starting TE Tyler Davis is a former Wide Receiver who was often used in the slot at UConn. He will likely be used in a similar capacity here, and the bruising lead plays through the middle will likely not manifest during the first season under Patenaude.
The offense can even go to into 5-wide from this personnel set, as everyone learned the first play of the spring game. The 5-wide asset allows a wide assortment of route concepts and matchup problems, and also spreads out the defense for QB runs.
20 Personnel (2RB, 0TE, 3WR)
This is a formation that didn’t get a lot of usage at Temple, but will definitely be used frequently at Tech. It was one of the most commonly used formations during the spring game, and it makes sense. The Jackets are currently lacking on the Tight End depth chart, but are flush with talent at RB.
The 20 personnel set really opens up the run game. By having a RB on each side of the QB, this set disguises the direction of any runs and even make it more questionable as to whether a standard down play will be a run or a pass. When one RB is lined up beside the QB, the side he is on will tip the direction of any run play by the RB. In addition, when the RB is lined up on the weak side, he would be running to the strong side, which tips a more likely run play. If he is on the strong side, it’s more likely going to be a pass. With 2 RBs in the backfield, none of this is tipped to the defense.
This formation also adds a lead blocker to outside zone runs(Common run plays will be discussed later this week) and the team can also run triple options out of this formation. It’s important to note that neither RB is the fullback in this situation, they are both halfbacks. There has been a lot of talk about the fullback position since Collins was hired, but this offense does not use one in any way. The Temple roster had some players listed at FB(It was only year 2 of Patenaude as OC) but they were used as halfbacks. Lead blocking duties on the interior were consistently handled by Tight Ends in motion from the H-back position. Watching temple film, I only ever saw Tight Ends line up in the H-back slot, though some other spread offense will put a RB or WR or hybrid in that spot.
Coach Collins has made a point to go after all purpose backs in the 2020 recruiting class, and this formation will allow them to either line up next to the Qb as was mentioned above, or go to the slot for a 4 wide look that helps to spread out the defense. When the defense is this thin, the offense can play matchups if the back gets matched up with a linebacker. The middle is also more open to the run, and if the team commits to running the QB it can be deadly. This is what UNC did to the Ted Roof defenses a few years ago. Patenaude has stated that he wants to run the QB here, which makes a lot of sense. Expect to see him spread out the defense and run the ball with both the RB and the QB. The idea of someone like Tobias Oliver running up the middle against a thinned out defense is pretty great.
12 Personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR)
This is not a formation I expect to see much if at all this year, but Temple’s roster the past couple of seasons was flush with talent at the TE position. Many of these Tight Ends were talented blockers, so bringing them in and using them as versatile road graders who could go in motion and lead block was a solid plan. As Tech builds up its talent at the TE position, this formation could sneak into the game plan more and more. Or it may have just been a result of Temple having an excess of TE talent on the roster when Patenaude arrived.
In this formation, one or both the Tight Ends is often be in the H-back position, or at least it was that way at Temple. In the spring game, 2 inline tight ends were used in what was essentially a goal line package. Having TEs at the H-back position, however, will facilitate TE motion. There is a lot of a power running in this formation, with the TE often leading the way.
59 Days to Kickoff
I realize most of this article was about the roles and responsibilities of the Tight End in various formations, but that’s really what is in question here. This week we will also go over common plays in both the run and pass game in separate articles. I’m going to talk a little bit about slot WR vs Outside WR in the pass plays article. If you have questions about another position’s roles and responsibilities, leave a comment and I’ll answer your question.