Have you been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about DJ Monroe's package this offseason?
We here at the BC won't judge you, we're understanding that way. In fact, we'll even offer you a little nudge to give definition to your mental imagery. If you want to understand what's gonna make DJ the big man on campus, the best place to start is with Boise State's very own horizontal threat, Jeremy Avery. Although Jeremy doesn't quite have DJ's legs and Monroe doesn't have Avery's hands they both do a pretty good job of stretching out the opposition when called upon to do so. Boise State did design a special set of looks just to accentuate Avery's obvious assets. And even though everything is happening behind closed doors this summer, we have a pretty good idea about what Harsin might be doing now that he has his hands on a physical freak like Monroe.
The first thing to realize is that this isn't a running back role. DJ will probably run some from traditional alignments this year but it will not be his primary function. Monroe's speed is going to be utilized to pressure the perimeter. These specialized plays will always tweak that outside pressure by offering (and delivering) simultaneous constraining pressure to the other side of the play. You will see this theme over an over again as we go through the Avery series.
This role is one we have seen DJ in before, the difference is that now the backside of this play will require legitimate attention from the defense. Below you will see the Jet Sweep diagrammed and packaged with an Inside Zone Running play.
Well thanks for nothing, Scott... that's exactly the same shit we've been packing for years under Davis. Deep breaths, people. The thing to pay attention to here is the pressure on the unblocked defensive end. As we talked about previously, Harsin loves to put the Kawika mindfuck on the defensive end and this is another means to that End. If Harsin notices that he has a crashing defensive end then he knows that he can work the sweep to Monroe and cause a very fast moving problem for the force and alley players. If the defensive end is aggressively getting upfield then the cutback on an inside zone (recall that Harsin emphasizes the cutback on the Inside Zone) should be wide open on this play because the Jet action is so fast, it's doesn't give the end the chance to defend both.
If a defensive end's athleticism is causing problems on the Jet Sweep, another option is to work the end around (some of the innuendo is not my fault). It doesn't advertise itself with pre-snap motion as the Jet Sweep does and it has a wide arc that would allow a guy like Monroe to outrun the end in space.
The flip side is that it doesn't get the same influence on the linebacks and it doesn't hit the alley as quickly, but if the defense is overplaying the running back here, the end around will cause them serious problems.
You know it, you love it… the good old fashioned screen play out of the backfield. DJ is probably not going to be as polished on protections as Fozzy
woz is but he will offer an important deterrent to the pass rush when he's in the game as an offset back in a spread set. Monroe's threat out of the backfield on a slow developing screen is very real and will make a defense think twice about blitzing. That means more time for the QB, and that's good no matter how you get it. In the Spring Game we got a little taste of how Harsin likes to screen, and just like the other plays in this series he loves to package in constraint to his screens plays. In our effort to get to more football talk and less paragraphs, we're going to try something new. What follows in an audio/video breakdown from Yours Truly and it's a format I'm excited about as we move forward. You may want to fullscreen the video.
In time, perhaps my girlfriend will learn to appreciate hearing me talk shop to my computer.
Another favored instrument of fear for Harsin is the triangle alignment from his wide receivers.
Harsin uses this to force the defense to spread out and make an easy decision to run on the box numbers or work the field. He's also been known to use a diamond bunch in the same vein. The unique thing here is that Harsin will sprint Monroe out right before the snap to force the defense to rotate or chase him at the last moment. If they do rotate or chase, then he's gonna have something backside waiting for them… if they don't then he's gonna throw a quick screen to DJ and get Monroe and two blockers working for an easy 8 to 80 yard gain (assuming Monroe can catch the ball). Like most of Harsin's ideas, the triangle bunch is a modular piece that can be mixed and matched with all sorts of backside concepts. We'll take a look at the triangle from the Spring Game:
And here's some more triangle related shenanigans from Boise State:
One of my favorite special packages from Boise State last year was a borrow from the Fly offense. The Fly offense features split backs who align deeper than the shotgun quarterback and it gives the offense all types of motion and option theats.
Like all of their specialized additions, Boise State just installed a few plays from this offense but then ran them from a lot of different formations. The thing is with Boise State, if you see one specialized play on film you never know if there's another one in the series waiting for you. See a couple flavors of option on film and you're wondering if there's a play action off of it. Sorry for the schizophrenic audio on this next clip.
If you've got the brain cells to spare, Smart Football has an excellent piece on the speed option which would be good extended reading.
It's the sport of kings. Better than diamond rings. Football. If you get that reference then I rain a thousand horrifying bathtub flashes from Goldie Hawn upon you. That's right, every time someone starts talking a lot about Wildcats, Goldie Hawn shows up in my brain and splashes around… you always remember the first movie boobs you see the strongest. Well actually, if we are fully disclosing here... "Just One of the Guys" was the firstest and "Wildcats" was the worstest. Both probably retarded my development in ways I'd not like to contemplate further. Moving on.
If Jesus's are to be believed (and they are), we will run two different versions of the Wildcat this year: one aimed at interior exploitation with a power runner (who would you choose?) and one aimed at perimeter exploitation with a speedster (maybe Hales gets some run too). Both versions will definitely exploit Kawika's and both will include plenty of misdirection. Below you see an example of the speedy flavor designed to horizontally suplex the defense.
Forget what you know about the "Wildhorn", and remember the basic premise of the Wildcat: the offense gets an extra blocker. Harsin takes that nougat of info, layers in some peanuts & caramel, then covers the defense in chocolate and sends you home satisfied. Greg Davis takes a shit in your hand and snickers.
On that note, I will summarize my overall feelings about Monroe via video… Mike Reno says it so much better than I ever could. Just one more week. Enjoy.