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Theoretical Football

Theoretical football is the notion that American football is an exceedingly complex sport that requires a branch of learning. Its goal is to accentuate the cerebral, academic, and quantifiable aspects of American football. - Denauld William Brown

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Defending The Best Offensive Minds Topic: Chris Petersen Head Football Coach Boise State University
By Denauld William Brown

This is a continued series on how to read and defend offensive formations pre-snap. We will discuss the pre-snap formations run by Boise State University Head Football Coach Chris Petersen. We are taking a detailed look at some of the formations that has lead Chris Petersen to be one of the most successful football coaches in the college game. We will also give an in-depth look at some of these formations intent that defines this master architect.

Next Topic: Kliff Kingsbury Head Football Coach Texas Tech University

Pro Number of running backs: 1 Number of receivers: 3 Number of Tight ends: 1 Formation Type: Female Formation demeanor: Pass

Boise State has had much success over the last 8 years out witting their opponent with a controlled game plan that includes savvy formation sequences and clock controlling shifts and motions. A team that shifts and moves around like Boise State has a plan to control the pace of the game, the clock, and to make defenses adjust constantly. Chris Petersen is an impressive offensive mind and his formations reflect Boises success. This formation is what is called a 4 Strong formation. 4 strong meaning that 4 out of 5 possible offensive eligible players are on one side of the center as the other. A few questions need to be asked

when evaluating and pre-snap between the #2 or F receiver in shifting offense. First, how does it this case, and the R or near back effect the defense when it comes to is created so that a particular adjustments? Secondly how does player can occupy that space the look and feel of the offense between the F and the R change when it comes to a shifting usually post snap. In this case the and motion plan during the course Y splits the difference between of game? A good offense that is the F and the R back pre-snap. balanced will likely be balanced in The Y almost forces the R to multiple categories like motion both shift away because there are too left to right and right to left. The many bodies that occupy that same applies to shifting. A Boise space, especially when their is a TE call sequence may simply call for a on the line of scrimmage. That shift or a motion at the time the limits the amount of play calls an play was made in order to maintain offensive coordinator has on his a totally balanced X approach. This call sheet for this specific formation. particular 4 strong formation has If a shift did not occur than a run multiple things going on. Notice the play away from the F could be F outside of the hash. Space anticipated.

Pro Number of running backs: 2 Number of receivers: 3 Number of Tight ends: 0 Formation Type: Male Formation demeanor: Run

Motion to the boundary is want to see something specific in interesting in this formation. This what the defense does? However pistol formation with an offset back that approach might in fact minimize reeks of a run play because of the what shifting and motion really Y being on the line of scrimmage. means to a Boise State philosophy. These formation assessments are The expectation of scoring must be not about guessing plays but rather very high for Chris Petersen given anticipating what will not happen. the amount of patience it takes to The motion by the R back creates execute such a detailed and a 2x2 formation but now purposeful game plan. A scoring fundamentally creates the illusion of expectation could also be tied to the a balanced offensive set. This is a reality that Chris Petersen is always drastic change from a 2 back pistol one or two plays ahead of the formation to a 2x2 formation that defense. A question that can be still has heavy run implication. The asked is why does the R back step X is also on the line of scrimmage to motion X towards the F rather so that also increase the chances of than step to motion away from the this being a run play. When teams F? motion there is a sense that they

Pro Unbalanced Number of running backs: 2 Number of receivers: 3 Number of Tight ends: 0 Formation Type: Male Formation demeanor: Run

On several occasions we have discussed question that can be asked is why would unbalanced formations. Unbalanced a defensive coach cover an ineligible formations are all about re-centering the offensive player? The motion by the F formation. The F confirms that the new puts him in direct alignment behind the center is the guard to the side of the Y. new center. This conclusion almost What does the term new center really guarantees that this play will not only be mean? The focal point of a one back a run but a run to the offenses left. Boise formation is the back when he is State aligns into many unbalanced featured deep in the backfield. The Y formations along with shifting and has now become the widest offensive motion. This type of game plan is the lineman. The Y can now be considered reason why they win. How can their own the new tackle, the tackle now the defense benefit from this type of offense. new guard and the guard now the From a practice stand point their defense new center. The advantage of doing has likely adjusted to every type of this by Chris Petersen is increasing the unbalanced formation possible illusion of the Y still being a passing X threat. Most defensive coaches are unwilling to not cover an offensive player regardless of eligibility? A