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Charting the Spring Game - Useful, and Also Totally Useless

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It's a very time-consuming process using ESPN3 because it's so hard to rewind and there's no slow motion, but I've finished charting the first half of last night's spring game. There are some useful things to take away from it, like individual performances and picking up on some play-calling tendencies. But what quickly became apparent was that the game was basically set up like a Pro Bowl. The defense never strayed from a 4-3 and played either cover 2 or cover 1. There was no blitzing, the offense never had more than three WRs on the field, and only a handful of formations showed up in the chart. With only about 40 players on either side, the coaches obviously wanted to limit exposure to injuries and make sure proper depth was available.

This puts a damper on the big stats that B.J. Daniels and Dontavia Bogan racked up because there's no way a defense would ever be this vanilla in a real game. On the other hand, strong plays by Demetris Murray, Ryne Giddins, and Patrick Hampton still stand out.

When reading the chart, the first number is the down, distance, and line of scrimmage. The second number is the formation (# of WRs, # of TEs, # of RBs) with any special comments noted, like shotgun or a twins receiver grouping. The result of the play is next, and comments follow.

Now, here's the play-by-play chart for the first half. 


1-10-BUL30 / 2-1-2 offset I / Eppes to Landi deep left for 57 yards

- 8 in the box. Play-action fake, both receivers went deep, everyone else faked or blocked. Landi beat Bryant and Lejiste was caught looking in the backfield, but recovered to make the tackle. Bryant hurt himself diving after Landi after getting beat.


1-10-USF13 / 3-1-1 / Murray off left guard for 3 yards

- Lejiste moved down to put 8 in the box (Joseph shading right to cover slot receiver).


2-7-USF10 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Murray off left guard for 1 yard

- Zone read handoff, nowhere to go. Murray ran into the back of Powe. Hampton knocked over Popek and Murray couldn't cut back because he would have tripped over him.


3-6-USF9 / 3-1-1 / Eppes incomplete pass, thrown away

- Eppes rolled right, no one picked up Giddins (Murray had to chip him to keep Eppes from being sacked immediately). Giddins chased Eppes to the sideline where he threw the ball away.


4-6-USF9 / FG / Schwartz 26-yard field goal is GOOD.




1-10-USF30 / 2-1-2 offset I / Plancher up the middle for 4 yards



2-6-USF34 / 2-2-1? (camera) / Daniels to Bogan left side for 14 yards

- Quick flare pass to Bogan, Washington was playing off in coverage. Bogan made a move to pick up a few extra yards.


1-10-USF48 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Plancher up the middle for 6 yards

- Zone read handoff. Garvin did well getting to the second level and getting Plancher some running room.


2-4-BUL46 / 3-1-1 / Plancher up the middle for 4 yards

- Not much blocking, Plancher did most of the work himself.


1-10-BUL42 / 2-1-2 offset I / Plancher off left guard for 7 yards

- Kelly with a nice seal block to get Plancher to the linebackers.


2-3-BUL35 / 2-1-2 twins / Daniels "sacked" for -6 yards

- Play-action rollout, Marshall beat the block from Kelly. Think Daniels would have gotten away if it was a real game.


3-9-BUL41 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels incomplete for Love on right side

- Cover-2 from defense. Daniels hit Love in the sideline seam but Raymond laid a hit on Love at the sideline and knocked the ball loose. Daniels appeared to lock in on Love right away, giving Raymond time to get over and make the play.


4-9-BUL41 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels incomplete for Love over middle

- Daniels threw low to avoid getting picked. Raymond came over the top of Love to help break the pass up.




1-10-BUL41 / 2-1-2 offset I / Murray off right tackle for -2 yards

- Sager beat Popek inside and made the tackle in the backfield.


2-12-BUL39 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi up middle for 5 yards

- Zone read handoff. Snap was high and may have prevented handoff to Murray. Ketchel let Giddins rush up the field and Landi ran underneath him.


3-7-BUL44 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi to Murray right side for 8 yards

- Another high snap. Murray flared out to the right and Lanaris allowed Murray to pick up the first down (could have been more aggressive defending the sticks).


1-10-USF48 / 3-1-1 / Landi incomplete short left for Richardson

- Corners played off, Landi spun right and threw left for Richardson, who ran the curl on a mini-smash combo, but the throw bounced in.


2-10-USF48 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi pass incomplete left side for Hornes

- Pass deflected by Giddins, fell incomplete.


3-10-USF48 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi scrambles right for 1 yard

- Giddins around the right corner on a speed rush flushed Landi out and forced him to scramble. Good tackle by Wideman at the right sideline.


4-9-USF47 / Punt / Brockhaus-Kann punt for 29 yards, fair catch

- All punts were fair caught or dead where they stopped rolling. No returns allowed.




1-10-USF17 / 2-1-2 offset I / Battles left guard for no gain

- Battles tried to bounce inside but Lanaris and Williams filled the gap.


2-10-USF17 / 2-1-2 twins / No play - PENALTY, offside, 5 yards

- Hard count from Daniels draws defensive line offside.


2-5-USF22 / 2-1-2 twins / Battles right side for 1 yard

- Strong play from Raymond to help Bedford in run support.


3-4-USF23 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels to Bogan left side for 77 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

- Bogan went outside the corner, who tried to jump a shorter route. Raymond took a very bad angle to the ball and Bogan had an easy touchdown. Looked like both defenders may have expected a harder, shorter throw.


PAT / FG / Bonani extra point is GOOD.




1-10-BUL30 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Miller off right guard for 3 yards

- Lead draw, Popek pulled to the right side.


2-7-BUL33 / 3-1-1 / Miller off right tackle for 7 yards, PENALTY - holding, 10 yards.

- Miller made an inside move to pick up yardage, but erased by a hold on Edwards.


2-14-BUL26 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Eppes sacked for -2 yards

- Eppes looked slow in his reads and didn't get to Miller in time to avoid the rush. Hampton was the first man in, followed by Wilkinson. Eppes eluded a few tacklers but was sacked by Lattimore and Grissom.


3-16-BUL24 / 3-1-1 / Eppes scrambles right for 8 yards

- No one open downfield. Eppes stepped up closer to the pressure and was forced to run.


4-8-BUL32 / Punt / Proia punts 39 yards to USF 29, downed.

- Not much hang time or distance but a good roll.




1-10-USF29 / 3-1-1 / Daniels incomplete right side for Lamar

- Daniels escaped the pocket and rolled right. Bad decision to throw the ball, Joseph dropped an interception at midfield. Daniels may have just run with it in a real game.


2-10-USF29 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels up the middle for 11 yards

- Zone read. Daniels surprised everyone by running with the ball. Play blown dead as the safeties moved in. It would have gained about the same in a real game.


1-10-USF40 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Lamar around left end for 7 yards

- Quick reverse for Lamar, the slot right receiver. Lamar was chased backward but escaped around the wide side for positive yardage. Daniels with a flag football block to help spring him.


2-2-USF48 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels incomplete short right for Lamar

- Flare pass for Lamar, throw was short and wide right.


3-2-USF48 / 2-1-2 offset I / Plancher around left end for 3 yards

- Plancher bounced the run outside to pick up the first down. Play was designed to go up the middle but would not have worked for a first down.


1-10-BUL49 / 2-1-2 offset I / Daniels incomplete short middle for Love

- Love motioned towards the formation and ran a short curl. Daniels' throw was too low.


2-10-BUL49 / 2-2-1 / Daniels short right to Lamar for 6 yards

- Lamar stepped right at the snap for a quick pass into the flat.


3-4-BUL43 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels to Lamar short left for 8 yards

- Slot out against the outside linebacker (probably would have been a different defense in a regular game).


1-10-BUL35 / 2-1-2 offset I / Daniels incomplete deep right for Love

- Love beat Baker deep with the cover 1 safety arriving late, but the pass was overthrown.


2-10-BUL35 / 3-1-1 / Daniels short left to Marc for 22 yards, PENALTY - offensive pass interference, 15 yards.

- Hawkins pushed off on his defender, which was the reason Marc was able to run after the catch.


2-25-50 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels screen left to Plancher for 23 yards

- OH MY GOD A SCREEN PASS. Plancher had an escort up the left sideline and bounced out of a tackle at the 30 to pick up extra yards.


3-1-BUL26 / 2-2-1 / Plancher left tackle for 2 yard

- Either McCaskill or McClain disrupted the play up the middle so Plancher bounced it outside for a first down.


1-10-BUL25 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels deep right to Bogan for 25 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

- Daniels with a shoulder pump, Baker bit on the post, and Bogan beat him easily to the corner on a double move.




Bulls 3, South Florida 14



1-10-BUL30 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi pass incomplete over the middle for Richardson

- Landi rolled left, threw across his body a little, ball was not perfect but catchable. Richardson dropped it.


2-10-BUL30 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi over the middle to Hopkins for 7 yards, PENALTY - unnecessary roughness, 15 yards added to play.

- Short drag route, Hopkins backtracked to try and get up the field. Giddins was injured on the play after a head-to-head collision. Penalty was on Kayvon Webster for leading with the helmet.


1-10-USF48 / 2-1-2 offset I / Miller up the middle for 2 yards

- Thompson fought off his block to stand up Miller at the line of scrimmage.


2-8-USF46 / 2-1-2 offset I / Landi incomplete deep right for Richardson, PENALTY - defensive holding, 10 yards, automatic first down.

- Wideman held Richardson after getting beat on a double move, although the throw was too far out of bounds.


1-10-USF36 / ??? / TIMEOUT

- Looked like confusion with personnel. Landi called a timeout at the line of scrimmage.


1-10-USF36 / 3-1-1 shotgun? / Landi screen to Miller for -2 yards

- Thompson recovered quickly and Miller cut back to the middle instead of following blockers to the left.


2-12-USF38 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Miller left side for 5 yards

- Zone read handoff. Forte got up the field and Miller ran underneath him.


3-7-USF33 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi scrambles up the middle for 4 yards

- Good open-field tackle by Lattimore.


4-3-USF29 / FG / Schwartz 46-yard field goal is GOOD.

- No rushes allowed on field goals, but Schwartz had plenty of distance.




1-10-USF30 / ??? (camera) / Battles left side for no gain.

- Probably a zone read handoff. Marshall read the play and kept his gap. Slowed Battles down enough to let Hill make the tackle.


2-10-USF30 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels short right to Battles for 6 yards

- Daniels dumped it off in the right flat


3-4-USF36 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels "sacked" for -7 yards

- Bedford made an inside move to get to Daniels. Play was whistled dead. Daniels was spinning away and might have escaped in a real game.


4-12-USF28 / Punt / Brockhaus-Kann punt for 40 yards, no return

- Ball hit at BUL40 and rolled forward. Not much hang time.




1-10-BUL30 / 2-1-2 offset I / Eppes incomplete deep right for Landi

- Eppes barely got it away, may have pushed the ball too far out. Landi couldn't get a foot inbounds after catching it. Landi also pushed off a little on Wideman to get separation, but no call.


2-10-BUL30 / 2-1-2 offset I / Eppes over the middle to Landi for 5 yards

- Landi motioned towards the formation and ran a short curl. Tackled immediately.


3-5-BUL35 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Eppes incomplete over the middle for Virgin

- Virgin lined up at tight end. Throw a little high and hard, bounced off his hands and into the air.


4-5-BUL35 / Punt / Pullaro punt for 65 yards, touchback

- Best punt of the night by far - ball carried nearly 50 yards in the air and rolled into end zone.




1-10-USF20 / 2-1-2 offset I / Plancher right side for 5 yards

- Baker overpursued a little and Plancher got a couple of extra yards.


2-5-USF25 / 2-1-2 I twins / Daniels to Bogan short left for 10 yards

- Bogan sat down in the cover 2 seam and Daniels hit him in the numbers. Bogan almost spun away from Baker to get extra yards.


1-10-USF35 / 3-1-1 / Daniels incomplete left side for Lamar

- Play-fake, rollout right and throw back to Lamar on the left. Lamar was wide open at BUL45 but dropped the pass. Turned upfield before he had the ball. Would have been a 25-30 yard gain.


2-10-USF35 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels screen middle to Lamar for 6 yards

- Pass was a little low but Lamar pulled it in. Not a lot of room after the catch.


3-4-USF41 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels short right to Lamar for 9 yards

- Lamar ran a short out and waited at the sticks as Daniels scrambled out of the pocket.


1-10-50 / 2-1-2 / Daniels incomplete deep middle

- Play-action fake. Looked like miscommunication, Daniels threw deep but no one ran a deep route.


2-10-50 / 2-1-2 offset I / Plancher right tackle for 2 yards

- Genus might have missed a block.


3-8-BUL48 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels incomplete right side for Hawkins

- Don't think Hawkins was the intended receiver but he jumped up and dropped the pass at the 30. Alcin was also open further downfield behind Hawkins and would have probably scored a touchdown.


4-8-BUL48 / Punt / Brockhaus-Kann punt for 38 yards, no return

- Good hang time on the punt. Fair catch by Hopkins




1-10-BUL10 / 3-1-1 /  Landi sacked for -7 yards

- Hampton ended up 1-on-1 against a tight end and beat him easily.


2-17-BUL3 / 2-1-2 offset I twins / Murray left side for 21 yards

- Nowhere to go up the middle, but Murray bounced outside and caught Webster shading towards the middle. Cut inside on Jenkins to gain a few extra yards.


1-10-BUL24 / 2-1-2 offset I twins / Murray up the middle for 3 yards

- Stopped at the line but Murray pushed the pile for a couple of yards. Might have been the same play called as the one before.


2-7-BUL27 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi incomplete right side for Griffin

- Hampton blew up the pocket with a quick inside move on Edwards and forced Landi to scramble right. Griffin was tracking towards the right sideline on a cross and made a diving attempt to catch the pass.


3-7-BUL27 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi complete short right to Griffin for 17 yards

- Griffin with a short curl to the first-down line, then spun away from Webster for extra yards. Stepped out of bounds trying to cut back towards the middle.


1-10-BUL44 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi incomplete short left for Hornes

- Hurried the throw as Sager hit him just after he let the ball go. Throw was high and outside.


2-10-BUL44 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi scrambles left for 9 yards

- Hampton got in again on Popek. Landi rolled away and ran up the left sideline. Held the ball out at the sideline to try and get the first down.


3-1-USF47 / 3-1-1 / Landi runs up the middle for -2 yards

- Broken play, looked like Landi was going to hand off to Murray but he ran the other direction.


4-2-USF48 / 2-1-2 offset I / Murray up the middle for 2 yards

- Murray ran into a lineman in the backfield, but stepped back and ran around him to get the first down.


1-10-USF46 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi incomplete deep middle for Virgin

- Not a great decision by Landi, thrown into double coverage. Defenders collided and Virgin almost made the catch anyway.


2-10-USF46 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi complete deep middle to Richardson for 36 yards

- Landi rolled right, Popek wiped out Wilkinson who was chasing Landi. Landi cut back to the left and found Richardson down the middle seam.


1-10-USF10 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi incomplete short left for Griffin

- Bryant jumped the route and dropped an interception. He would have returned it for a touchdown.


2-10-USF10 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Landi complete short right to Hornes for 7 yards

- Flare right to Hornes, who broke a tackle at the 5 (Spires didn't wrap up) and gained a couple extra yards.


3-3-USF3 / 3-1-1 / Murray off left guard for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

- Murray got low and broke a tackle to get to the goal line.


PAT / FG / Schwartz extra point is GOOD.




1-10-USF30 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels scrambles left for 8 yards. PENALTY, sideline interference - 15 yards added to play.

- Hill shed his block and forced Daniels out of the pocket. Scrambled right, then cut back to the left and ran up the left sideline. Not sure what caused the penalty, maybe someone expecting the play to be blown dead when Daniels was scrambling.


1-10-BUL48 / 3-1-1 shotgun / Daniels scrambles right for no gain

- Bedford got past Bass and forced Daniels to run. Play was blown dead when Daniels crossed the line of scrimmage.




Bulls 13, South Florida 14