Film Review: Northwestern Sequencing Down G
Down G is a play that once featured heavily in a lot of prostyle offenses, only to go out of vogue in the modern spread era. But as teams have begun incorporating more TEs back into the formation, and have felt the need to implement more gap schemes back into the zone dominant offenses, Down G has been a play that has allowed them to get there.
I've previously written about Down G, and how it acts as zone on the backside, and guard kick out on the front side. It is essentially a frontside version of pin and pull, and many will even run it that way if the Center is also uncovered and free to pull.
Against Michigan State in the opening game of the season, Northwestern to get outside the Spartan defensive ends setting the edge. With a mismatch also on the interior of the OL, Northwestern started dabbling in Down G to utilize the DE's momentum upfield and out, and pin the defensive front inside. From their TE-Wing look, they were also able to sequence the play with a vertical play action pass attack. Let's take a look.
Northwestern comes out in a 3x1 formation with a TE-Wing combination. The 3x1 aspect of this sequencing is very intentional for how it benefits the PAP component for two primary reasons:
- With your TE-Wing your primary targets in the progression, you want them matched up against safeties and preferably LBs. In order to get that match up, 3x1 is is better because the CB is outside on the wide WR
- You want the safeties involved in the run fit. This will likely naturally occur on the basis of the TE-Wing alignment. A lot of teams that run Down G like to run it from 2x2 TE-Wing to attack the CB in the run fit. But CBs will often naturally stay more at depth, thus minimizing the PAP component of the sequencing.
Here’s the TE-Wing Down G scheme they sequenced the pop pass off. Wing on the BOSS block off the LOS, TE on the down block. pic.twitter.com/EQHbwqQV0h— Space Coyote (@SpaceCoyoteBDS) February 8, 2022
- Setting a hard edge and squeezing out the frontside hole. If MSU wants to do this, it means having the Ni attack hard, especially given the Wing is arcing to him.
- Scrapping fast over the top with the LBs. Because the play doesn't really provide a great cutback option, if the LBs can get over top of the seal blocks, they can limit the plays impact.
- Filling from a secondary position (safety/CB) that isn't accounted for in the blocking scheme.