Ash to Shipley Touchdown

After watching the game a few times, the touchdown pass from David Ash to Jordan Shipley kept jumping out at me. Texas came out in a 2 x 2 set just inside the 20. To the field side Texas lined up Marquis Goodwin at the Z, MJ McFarland at the Y (I think...hard to tell). To the boundary side, Shipley lined up at the H and Mike Davis at the X. Malcolm Brown lined up in the backfield. Texas was in the shotgun.



Both outside receivers run a quick hitch. And, to the field side, McFarland runs a Flag. That would indicate a basic smash play. What makes this play a little different is that's not what happens to the boundary side. Shipley ends up running a post against the 2 high safety look (appears to be a cover 4 shell, but I can't be sure without seeing the entire field).


In a 2 x 2 set, a typical smash play will have mirrored routes to both sides unless it's a packaged play (ie. Cover 2 beater one side and Cover 3 beater another). So, watching this play, my expectation was that Shipley would run a flag route as well to the back corner. Of course, he didn't. He faked to the corner, and then ran the post. That piqued my curiosity, so I went back and dug up Chris Petersen's old playbook from Boise. Sure enough, there it was:


Formation is different in the sense that the QB is under center, but the concept remains the same. It's the play to the top right. Double Smash H-Read. One side of the field is a traditional smash play. On the other side, the slot receiver reads defensive leverage and either runs a flag or a post. Interestingly, the play is specifically intended for the red zone, it would appear.



With all this said, the link to the highlights is here. It's worth re-watching live (Youtube link is higher res than the GIF) and just keeping an eye on the weak side of the field (Shipley/Davis). Two encouraging things pop up as it relates to David Ash:

1. Mike Davis is open, but Ash realizes there is a bigger play to be made down field.

2. Much has been made of the lack of accuracy on this throw. I think that's overstated. Ash throws this ball 25 yards on a rope that's into a spot where the receiver can make a play. No reason to nitpick.

Nothing earth shattering with any of this. Interesting play to me. I'm not a coach, so the volume of data I've seen is relatively small. Typically, though, the slot receiver, or tight end is working a seam read in some kind of a verticals package. I thought the implementation of a seam read on a smash play was unique, and obviously effective.

*Edit: Should have included this the first time. GIF image now above. A little grainy, but still a good, quick resource for the purpose of this post.

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