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DUMB FOOTBALL: QB POWER

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DUMB FOOTBALL, FOR SMART PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE THE TIME DUMB-SMART PEOPLE WHO WATCH TOO MUCH FOOTBALL DO

Mississippi State v Texas A&M
LOOKING OH SO POWERFUL
Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Play: QB Power

Who runs it: Video game Cam Newton, that’s who.

It’s the money play for a reason. Otherwise, they legally can’t put it in the video title or description. Youtube has never lied to anyone! Ever!

Where you should know it from: The Grandaddy himself. Bill Snyder’s been running this at Kansas State since your great-grandfather was mining coal with Charles Bronson in a dress. Grandaddy was wearing short-pants; Bronson, the dress. Not making this up at all, which should explain a few things about Charles Bronson.

Other places sighted: In the current Clemson offense, probably this fall at Arkansas under Chad Morris, sometimes with Tom Herman at Ohio State, sometimes with Tom Herman at current-day Texas. In single-wing offenses run before the dawn of time or the forward-pass. The horseshoe crab of run plays that will simply not improve or die because it does not need to do either to work.

What it basically does in as much basic English as we can use: Runs the QB out of the shotgun with a big-ass guard blocking in front of him.

That’s about as basic as it can get here. QB Power uses similar blocking to God’s Play, a.k.a. “Power” run with a standard-type running back carrying the ball. Power blocking takes a guard from the opposite side of the play, and then pulls him to the other side where the play will run. If there is another guy (like a running back or an H-back or whatever) in the backfield or lurking? He’ll probably block through that hole or in the neighborhood, too.

Note: There are SO many ways to do this. But that’s generally what you’re looking for here.

How will I know if it’s Power and not just another QB run? Watching live? You might not. On replay: Look for the guard pulling and running around the center’s ass as fast as his widdle tree trunks will take him. In addition to becoming 3% smarter about football looking for the play, you will also see one of football’s best comedies: Squatty-ass guards breathing hard and trying to run fast.*

*Guards can still run faster than you so do not make this joke with them unless you know them personally and have for like, five or six years at least. They’re sensitive, powerful fireplugs.

Where you, a football idiot who watches a lot of games but doesn’t ever bust down film or really focus on hardcore football nerd-ery, probably knows it from: Tim Tebow, mostly. The real Cam Newton ran a variation of it at Auburn that was pretty much the prettiest version. This was because Cam Newton could play pretty, and Tim Tebow absolutely could not. Video game Cam Newton, as seen above, dominates this play.

Tajh Boyd wasn’t bad at it, either. He got real good at it when a receiver in motion through the backfield, and his guard Tyler Shatley erases Ryan Shazier on the play.

Outscores the entire Ohio State offense on one play. Truly remarkable work by QB Power here. Shouts out to every analyst who still busts out the Madden marker on live TV, you make the internet’s work so much easier sometimes.

Who loves this play more than their own children: Dan Mullen, who ran the hell out of it at Florida and at Mississippi State.

He liked it so much that QB Power is kind of a running gag for anyone watching a Dan Mullen offense. If the play did not work like stealing when run right, being this obvious in play-calling would be a problem. Fortunately, with the right players and good execution, it is exactly like stealing — and that is before factoring in all the things an offense can do off this one play later.

(Hint: Rhymes with “mump-ass”.)

Why it works, in short: Simple math, mostly. By running the QB — a big spread offense staple that gives very serious migraines to defensive coordinators — an offense can get one more person in the imaginary box surrounding the line of scrimmage than the defense has. If everyone blocks out then the QB should have an instant, clean lane to run through for cheap yardage.

Combine it with Power blocking changing the numbers on one side of the play in a hurry, run it ten times or so, and stuff will inevitably shake loose.

The solution for a defense is to bring a safety down to support the run. This is bad for defenses! Safeties are the emergency savings account for a defense. If they miss, then the next defender to meet the QB will be the back wall of the stadium behind the endzone, or maybe an unfortunate cameraperson drilled to the ground by a very excited QB.

Alternately, and this is probably the most important part: The safety at least has to worry about the QB run, and begins hesitating while looking for it. A hesitating safety can become a safety with a wide receiver running open behind them very quickly.

Pulling the guard on what looks like a run block alone can begin to discombobulate a defense badly because pulling a guard IS THE BEST PLAY-ACTION FAKE THAT EXISTS, per people much smarter than we are about football.

Why run it at the goal line? Because in a spread offense, it can be one of the most effective run plays in tight space. The defense still has to respect the receivers, and a QB who runs it well can often bully or juke another crucial yard or two out of a defender.

What can you do off it? Ohhhhhhhhh so much evil. Offenses combine it with a “read” play with the running back, or a sweep option to the running back, or maybe even combo it with a run-pass option. Once the defense is wiggling a little before the snap looking for the run, the number of variations run on it can be very, very mean indeed.

“Rhymes with mump-ass”. As in “Jump pass.”

Why everyone doesn’t run this obviously awesome play all the time and win every game with ease: Because it exposes the QB to a lot of hits. Because it requires a team having a QB who can run, and an offensive line capable of bullying people around with power blocking. Because a lot of coaches would rather just give it to the running back, who carries the ball into traffic all the time as their job, than hand it to the QB, who might not.

Because your team doesn’t do the Bill Snyder thing where he takes a tight end and transforms him into a whole-milk-drinking single-wing monster from the 1930s in a matter of sixteen spring practices.