• Attention: Register today to view CanesInSight Ad-Free for 7 days.

Flexible Formation - Outside of Conventional Wisdom

LuCane

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
13,813
Another thread made me remember how I wanted to talk about this subject leading into the season. Many people think of Jeff Thomas as a slot man because of his size and attributes. No doubt, he can give us good value there almost immediately and I imagine we'll see him used as such. No problem. However, if you look at what's going on in the NFL and how guys whose styles match Jeff Thomas are being used, here's more along the lines of what I've been hoping for from Richt and crew:

Formation.jpg

Ahmmon Richards
Chris Herndon
Braxton Berrios (or other guy with short area quickness)
Jeff Thomas
Mark Walton

With this skill position combination, here are just some of the formations you can shift into from a no-huddle or fast-paced approach:

3WR, 1TE (inline)
Broken I-Form with Herndon in backfield
4WR (as seen above, which we saw a lot last year with Njoku in slot)
5WR (with Walton motion'd out)
Walton and Jeff Thomas flanking QB in the 'Gun
etc.

Sure, the same lineup can be used with Mullins or Cager at flanker and Jeff Thomas in place of Berrios. It may be what we see earlier in the season. However, I think kicking a guy like Jeff Thomas outside could be even more fruitful and allow more interesting route combinations. Most of all, like in the play above where Tyreek Hill is placed out wide and sent on a go route, you end up with optimal 1-on-1 match ups.

In the picture above, Hill's explosive speed ended up in man coverage with no ability to provide safety help and scored a long TD. I hope to see Thomas provide the same. For what it's worth, for those of you who will say we need an OL to do this, the above play was a relatively quick drop and release.

Let's also not forget what this does for Ahmmon Richards, who at Split End on the other side of the field, offers a "pick your poison" scenario for the defense. If opponents have the ignorance to leave their "best corner" (a guy like T. Mcfadden for FSU) man'd up on Richards to the field side, they're in deep trouble, I think. If they more likely shade a Field Safety over the top of Richards, you're probably playing 3 vs 3 or 3 vs 4 on the other side of the field (depending on underneath coverages).

Either way, I think our most dynamic flanker this season can be a guy like Jeff Thomas, once he proves himself, and I hope we experiment with it to optimize our attack.
 

rok

Great Poster
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
20,180
I understand why folks are excited about Cager, but Thomas has to be the favorite to emerge as WR2 eventually, if not sooner.

X: Richards / Cager / Njoku

Z: Thomas / Mullins / Harris

Y: Berrios / Dallas / Harley

H: Herndon / Irving / Langham
 

jmccomber5

Senior
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
5,833
Another thread made me remember how I wanted to talk about this subject leading into the season. Many people think of Jeff Thomas as a slot man because of his size and attributes. No doubt, he can give us good value there almost immediately and I imagine we'll see him used as such. No problem. However, if you look at what's going on in the NFL and how guys whose styles match Jeff Thomas are being used, here's more along the lines of what I've been hoping for from Richt and crew:

View attachment 47766

Ahmmon Richards
Chris Herndon
Braxton Berrios (or other guy with short area quickness)
Jeff Thomas
Mark Walton

With this skill position combination, here are just some of the formations you can shift into from a no-huddle or fast-paced approach:

3WR, 1TE (inline)
Broken I-Form with Herndon in backfield
4WR (as seen above, which we saw a lot last year with Njoku in slot)
5WR (with Walton motion'd out)
Walton and Jeff Thomas flanking QB in the 'Gun
etc.

Sure, the same lineup can be used with Mullins or Cager at flanker and Jeff Thomas in place of Berrios. It may be what we see earlier in the season. However, I think kicking a guy like Jeff Thomas outside could be even more fruitful and allow more interesting route combinations. Most of all, like in the play above where Tyreek Hill is placed out wide and sent on a go route, you end up with optimal 1-on-1 match ups.

In the picture above, Hill's explosive speed ended up in man coverage with no ability to provide safety help and scored a long TD. I hope to see Thomas provide the same. For what it's worth, for those of you who will say we need an OL to do this, the above play was a relatively quick drop and release.

Let's also not forget what this does for Ahmmon Richards, who at Split End on the other side of the field, offers a "pick your poison" scenario for the defense. If opponents have the ignorance to leave their "best corner" (a guy like T. Mcfadden for FSU) man'd up on Richards to the field side, they're in deep trouble, I think. If they more likely shade a Field Safety over the top of Richards, you're probably playing 3 vs 3 or 3 vs 4 on the other side of the field (depending on underneath coverages).

Either way, I think our most dynamic flanker this season can be a guy like Jeff Thomas, once he proves himself, and I hope we experiment with it to optimize our attack.

Lu, this is what I was alluding to in my post saying that I think we can use Thomas like Hill. The Chiefs are not an offensive juggernaut, but they utilized their pieces to influence coverage and field leverage. Hill out wide, in the slot or even in the backfield made defenses cheat their coverage depending on the lineup. Kelce also had a field day because of this, especially when they flexed him away from Hill and Maclin and he had 1 on 1 with a safety or smaller corner. Hill changed their offense even though they had Alex Smith at QB and their best RB was hurt. I think it just proves that if you get creative with your personnel groupings AND where they line up, you can dictate to a defense despite lacking certain pieces. I personally want to keep the speed on the outside and put the bigger targets in the middle of the field to give easy targets to our QB. Then again, the thought of Thomas and Harley running seam go's makes me a happy man!
 

LuCane

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
13,813
I think it just proves that if you get creative with your personnel groupings AND where they line up, you can dictate to a defense despite lacking certain pieces. I personally want to keep the speed on the outside and put the bigger targets in the middle of the field to give easy targets to our QB. Then again, the thought of Thomas and Harley running seam go's makes me a happy man!

Couldn't agree more on the bolded portion. If we're all being honest, I think we did a poor job understanding what our players did best until about halfway through last season. Since people have said the staff needed time, I guess it's fair and we give a pass.

I harped on using Berrios outside since Fall camp. He was successful there in a practice environment, but defenders seemed glued to him in the same spots in games. He didn't have the strength, length or could instill long-speed fear. That's just one example. It wasn't until about midway through UNC that we began to really utilize Njoku in the middle of the field.

Anyway, I trust Richt and crew have a far better understanding of what the players can and can't do now, so I'm excited to see what they have in mind for personnel groupings.

As to Jeff Thomas up the seam, CAN'T WAIT.
 

MizCane

Senior
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
3,909
I love it all. First off, I am born and bred KC. I made the comment last year that I see a lot of similarities in Richt and Andy Reid. Both are highly successful coaches that players love playing for. Have both won at a high level but are still seeking that Title as the Head Honcho.

I could see us running a very similary system to what Reid is running in KC. I think overall, UM has better pieces at the WR positions especially since we let Maclin go. He was on the decline and didn't produce much last year but goes to show, if you have a weapon like Hill, you just need some average pieces and a good game plan to score points. Kelce is top 2 TE but Herndon is no slouch.

Very excited to see what we can do this year on O. I just hope we are a little patient being that the QB will be very green. I think itll click eventually. Hopefully that starts @FSU and we go on a terror!!
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Messages
4,347
I don't think we attacked the middle of the field enough last year considering we had the best tight end in the country.

I'd like to see Herndon and even the slot guys get used more to split the defense right down the middle. If we can make the middle of the field a threat and make defenses consistently worry about it, Richards and Thomas are going to eat on the outside.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

The Franchise

The Best EVER
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
43,492
Thomas's unique skills should change everything for us if Rick doesn't turtle up in fear of mistakes. Many pundits view Surtain as the number 1 CB in the 2018 class. Thomas twisted him up left him flat footed and standing still and humiliated him for a score. He can do the same for us.
 

jmccomber5

Senior
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
5,833
Thomas's unique skills should change everything for us if Rick doesn't turtle up in fear of mistakes. Many pundits view Surtain as the number 1 CB in the 2018 class. Thomas twisted him up left him flat footed and standing still and humiliated him for a score. He can do the same for us.

This is my fear as well. But that's why I think a guy like Thomas can so valuable. He doesn't have to run deep digs, outs or double moves to be effective. Stops, slants, bubbles and goes can make him dangerous enough. Richt just needs to find the best match up for him on the field. He has to adjust to what he has now.
 

The Franchise

The Best EVER
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
43,492
Thomas's unique skills should change everything for us if Rick doesn't turtle up in fear of mistakes. Many pundits view Surtain as the number 1 CB in the 2018 class. Thomas twisted him up left him flat footed and standing still and humiliated him for a score. He can do the same for us.

This is my fear as well. But that's why I think a guy like Thomas can so valuable. He doesn't have to run deep digs, outs or double moves to be effective. Stops, slants, bubbles and goes can make him dangerous enough. Richt just needs to find the best match up for him on the field. He has to adjust to what he has now.

We can also motion him into a threat in the run game like Pitt did with their dynamic little WR last year. That deception and misdirection opens up a ton for your run and throw game.
 

ben

Senior
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Messages
4,342
Is Jeff Thomas going to redshirt now that we have Mike Smith at fullback?
 

rok

Great Poster
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
20,180
Thomas's unique skills should change everything for us if Rick doesn't turtle up in fear of mistakes. Many pundits view Surtain as the number 1 CB in the 2018 class. Thomas twisted him up left him flat footed and standing still and humiliated him for a score. He can do the same for us.

This is my fear as well. But that's why I think a guy like Thomas can so valuable. He doesn't have to run deep digs, outs or double moves to be effective. Stops, slants, bubbles and goes can make him dangerous enough. Richt just needs to find the best match up for him on the field. He has to adjust to what he has now.

We can also motion him into a threat in the run game like Pitt did with their dynamic little WR last year. That deception and misdirection opens up a ton for your run and throw game.

b8614af16bf47f2a5997a0cc767477e1.gif
 

jw410

Senior
Joined
Dec 24, 2011
Messages
8,932
I understand why folks are excited about Cager, but Thomas has to be the favorite to emerge as WR2 eventually, if not sooner.

X: Richards / Cager / Njoku

Z: Thomas / Mullins / Harris

Y: Berrios / Dallas / Harley

H: Herndon / Irving / Langham

Seriously who can stop that line up
 

DaveK0341

Recruit
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
40
I think Coach Richt was a little rusty last year with his play calling. He sure seemed to knock a lot of it off towards the end of the season. I think we'll see a more dynamic offense this year! He is the "master of mismatch!"
 

rok

Great Poster
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
20,180
I think Coach Richt was a little rusty last year with his play calling. He sure seemed to knock a lot of it off towards the end of the season. I think we'll see a more dynamic offense this year! He is the "master of mismatch!"

Some WR motion would go a long way toward creating those mismatches but we saw none of that in 2016.

Maybe they didn't want to get Coley injured with all that extra running.

I'll believe that Richt is going to open up the playbook when I see it.
 
Last edited:

The Franchise

The Best EVER
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
43,492
I think Coach Richt was a little rusty last year with his play calling. He sure seemed to knock a lot of it off towards the end of the season. I think we'll see a more dynamic offense this year! He is the "master of mismatch!"

The only mismatch he mastered last year was the one where he was on the short end.

He had an interesting explanation for his struggles last year, and it coincides with what I pointed out a few times on here last year. He said that he had to learn a new language because they changed all the language from his time at UGA. He was trying to learn the language to dial up the plays during the heat of the action and it slowed him down. He did look like he was bogged down in thought at times last year. He said he has it down pat now, so that should help.
 

LuCane

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
13,813
He was trying to learn the language to dial up the plays during the heat of the action and it slowed him down. He did look like he was bogged down in thought at times last year. He said he has it down pat now, so that should help.

We were 106th (of 128) in the nation last year in plays/game.
 

The Franchise

The Best EVER
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
43,492
He was trying to learn the language to dial up the plays during the heat of the action and it slowed him down. He did look like he was bogged down in thought at times last year. He said he has it down pat now, so that should help.

We were 106th (of 128) in the nation last year in plays/game.

That jives with the confused look I saw on his face all year and with him admitting to being uncomfortable with the language to even get the plays in.
 

CAT5Coming

Redshirt Freshman
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Messages
517
I think Coach Richt was a little rusty last year with his play calling. He sure seemed to knock a lot of it off towards the end of the season. I think we'll see a more dynamic offense this year! He is the "master of mismatch!"

Some WR motion would go a long way toward creating those mismatches but we saw none of that in 2016.

Maybe they didn't want to get Coley injured with all that extra running.

I'll believe that Richt is going to open up the playbook when I see it.

He's just been waiting for the Bethune Cookman game. JK - But I do expect a big leap in CMR's comfort as a play caller this season, he's gonna be ready to leverage the mismatches that he missed last season.
 

daddacane

Senior
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,576
I understand why folks are excited about Cager, but Thomas has to be the favorite to emerge as WR2 eventually, if not sooner.

X: Richards / Cager / Njoku

Z: Thomas / Mullins / Harris

Y: Berrios / Dallas / Harley

H: Herndon / Irving / Langham

Seriously who can stop that line up

I can only see FSU with two All Americas in the d-backfield having the goods to slow it down...
 

rsa coral gables

Absolute Pingudo
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
2,958
if richt can call plays like he did at fsu and early on at UGA, we would have improved 100% from 2 years ago and much better than last year.


i still have nightmares seeing yearby throwing that frozen ball in the snow. that was james "acere" coley's fourth and final nail in the coffin.
 
Top