Anatomy Of A Touchdown
In rewatching the William & Mary game this evening, I was really impressed with the scoring play that concluded the first half and wanted to break it down piece-by-piece for you. It highlights the emphasis on the effective downfield blocking that will be a staple of offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz’s system.
It’s second and three from the W&M 16 with 0:20 on the clock. Cherry is lined up wide at the top of the screen; Stephen Louis is lined up below him in the slot.
When the ball is snapped, Cherry retreats a couple of steps behind the line of scrimmage to receive the pass. Louis, left guard Garrett Bradbury and center Joe Scelfo all move downfield to engage defenders.
Finley leads Cherry just enough with the pass to give him a head of steam in the right direction. Louis cuts his man low to take him out of the play.
Here’s the key block: Bradbury engages linebacker Josh Dulaney and moves him just enough to create a running lane for Cherry. Is it holding? Yeah, probably. Bradbury has his arm outside and wrapped around Dulaney a good bit. The ref either doesn’t see it or chooses not to call holding on this particular play. Whether you call it good fortune or savvy football, State benefits and Cherry advances downfield.
The final block comes courtesy of transfer center Joe Scelfo, already proving his worth as an addition to the roster. He too cuts his man downfield, safety Corey Parker, and while he doesn’t take Parker to the ground, it’s enough to take him out of this play.
From there, Cherry’s speed takes care of the rest. Paydirt:
Here is that whole play at 1/3rd speed:
We saw a variety of plays on Thursday night that featured great downfield and perimeter blocking, but what I loved about this one was the involvement of the offensive linemen downfield, particularly Scelfo. To get into position, he has to sprint 10 yards right after the snap to ensure he gets to the safety before Cherry arrives. If Cherry outruns him to the spot, Scelfo can’t do his job effectively. If Cherry slows up waiting for Scelfo’s block, the other safety might have enough time to make a play. It all has to work as one choreographed series of actions, and all four players do their part well and in sync with one another.
Plays like this hearken back to the days of Torry Holt when he was at his best. I would love to have seen him in Drinkwitz’s offense.