Now on More than Window Dressing: Why Oregon uses Motion

In my latest post for, I’ve broken down a couple of plays in the Rose Bowl, and tried to tie them together with the philosophy behind using motion and shifting in football.

This post was actually put up on FishDuck Tuesday, but I almost forgot to link to it from my own site as well.

The impetus behind this article was repeatedly hearing Kirk Herbstreit use the phrase window dressing when speaking about the different motions that Oregon uses in their offense. As I say in the post, I’m not picking on him, since there’s really not a lot of time in between plays to go into detail. All that said, generalizations bother me more than they should, so I wanted to use a couple of examples from the game to explain why Oregon uses motion they way they do, as well as talk about why all offenses do it.

I’ve drawn up the first play of the game using for the diagrams like the one below, and try to go into a little more detail about the thought process at the beginning of the game compared to the end of the game


It’s the first play in the game, so right now, the only thing the Ducks know about Florida State’s defense is what they’ve seen on film. Both teams have had nearly a month to prepare and add new things to the game plan, so while it’s unlikely that they’ll see something completely different from the Seminole defense, it’s very possible that Charles Kelly, the FSU defensive coordinator, has thrown in a few new wrinkles in the practices leading up to this game.


Here is the first play of the game. In the post, I go into why Scott Frost and Mark Helfrich use the motion they do, and what they learn from it.

So we’ve established that one reason the offense will put a man in motion is to gain information, another more immediate reason is to force the defense to move with the man in motion, and hopefully show some weak spots. In the next few shots from the game we’ll go through exactly what happens from a defensive perspective that allows the TE to get so wide open.

You can read the whole thing here.

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Matt McGloin vs Terrell Pryor: Avoiding Sacks with a “Pocket Passer”

While simultaneously watching the Raiders-Cowboys game and recovering from a post-Thanksgiving food coma, I was reminded of the importance of decision-making ability at the quarterback position when it comes to minimizing sacks and other negative plays.


Here you have young Matt McGloin going against a determined Cowboy defense, and consistently getting rid of the football on time, and helped by offensive coordinator Greg Olson calling a lot of misdirection runs, screens, and boot passes (McGloin was not sacked at all, while Tony Romo was sacked twice for a loss of 17 yards). » Read more