A Breakdown: The Passing Game vs. Bowling Green

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This is my completely amateur attempt to take a closer look at the Virginia Tech passing game against Bowling Green.  In advance, let me say that I in no way, shape or form am any kind of an expert on the X’s and O’s of football.  I have a basic understanding, at least I like to think so.  However, I’m not a football coach, and moreover, I don’t know the Virginia Tech offense.  I don’t know for sure what routes Tech’s receivers are supposed to run against certain coverages, and I don’t know exactly how much freedom they have to change their routes on the fly.

That never stopped me before, however, and I think the passing game is interesting, so I decided to break down every passing play of the Bowling Green game, possession by possession.  This is a long article, and it includes a lot of videos, so get ready.

We’re going to be talking about inside/outside leverage a lot in this article.  For the record, inside leverage means the cornerback is lined up inside of the wide receiver.  Outside leverage means he’s lined up outside of the wide receiver.  Head up means he is lined up directly in front of the wide receiver.

First Possession

First play: On the first passing play of the first possession, you can clearly see the corner defending Dyrell Roberts (top of the screen) is playing about 8 yards off the line of scrimmage, and he is lined up slightly to the inside of Roberts.  When a defender is playing that far off of a receiver, with inside leverage, to me it seems that a quick out would be the proper route for Roberts to run.  However, Roberts ran a slant, probably because he saw that the linebackers were showing blitz.  Thomas apparently agreed with me.  He thought Roberts would run the quick out against inside leverage, and that’s where he threw the ball – exactly where Roberts would have been had he run a quick out.

Second play: The second passing play of the drive was doomed from the start.  A bad snap threw off the timing, so it’s tough to tell what the play would have looked like.  However, once the Tech receiver at the top went in motion, Bowling