November 18, 2013

Review: Jimbo Fisher puts new look, Whitfield on film

Though 2013 has been the most explosive offensive season in a long while for the Seminoles, the efficiency and production have not been because of anything new. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has largely been calling the same game, offering his quarterback the same options as he did last season.

But in a 59-3 rout of Syracuse Saturday afternoon, Fisher put both a new wrinkle and a new weapon on film for future opponents to consider. First, let's take a look at the new wrinkle.

Freeman screen

When picturing the "Wild and Free" personnel package on the field, the formation we all think of is a two-back shotgun set. The fruit of a James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman I-formation was put on display on the second play from scrimmage.

Facing a second and long situation, Fisher calls for a dual tailback I-formation with receivers lined up to the quarterback's left.

Pre-snap, Freeman motions to the right and lines up wide as the third wide receiver.

Fisher is counting on a play action fake to work as the left side of the offensive line slides along with what looks to be an outside zone call for Wilder. Winston sells the fake while right tackle Bobby Hart and right guard Tre Jackson take off for the right-hand sideline.

The numbers advantage is in place as the Orange defense bites on the run fake and Freeman is in position for a big play.

Moving forward, this particular personnel package and pre-snap alignment can be used in a few ways. Freeman can be the decoy for a Wilder run, the Seminoles can call the play they did yesterday or Winston can be given a run/pass option based upon simple pre-snap counting.

Kermit the Threat

Interestingly enough, the Levonte Whitfield run was the product of another two-tailback personnel grouping. Freeman was in the huddle along with Whitfield, and eventually Freeman was called upon to lead block for his segment mate.

The play here is a simple perimeter toss with power principles. Instead of a guard pulling across the formation, Hart fires out wide while tight end Nick O'Leary down-blocks the rush end. Hart joins Freeman and Kelvin Benjamin as perimeter blockers for the speedy Whitfield, who makes a plus play into a game-changer by cutting across the field in the blink of an eye.

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