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Charting the USF Offense: Stony Brook

This takes too long to do every game, but here’s what we found on a deeper dive from Saturday.

NCAA Football: Stony Brook at South Florida Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

With the amount of hue and cry about the USF offense vs. Stony Brook, much of it understandable, I went back and watched the entire game and charted every offensive play. I had partial information on five plays due to ESPN not showing the play in full. Those plays were:

First play of the game (good job WWL), a D’Ernest Johnson rush for 6 yards.
A 1-yard run for Johnson.
A 1-yard run by Darius Tice.
A 15-yard scramble by Quinton Flowers.
A no gain bubble screen (??) to Temi Alaka.

Here’s what I found:

When Mitchell Wilcox is lined up in the backfield: 21 plays. 19 rushes, 28 total yards. 1 of 2 passing, 4 yards.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 10 targets, 4 receptions, 15 yards, 1 TD. A lot of the misses were bad throws. Some of them were still catchable bad throws.

Running backs Darius Tice & D’Ernest Johnson: O targets.

Screens: 2 total attempted. Both to Tyre McCants. One completed for 9 yards.
Note: Jeremi Hall was an illegal man downfield on the completed screen. I know this gets called rarely, but could/should have been here.

Total rushes: 49
Total passes: 32

Three-and-outs: 5. One in red zone for a field goal.

Plays by personnel grouping:

10 (4 WR’s, 1 RB): 29 plays, 109 yards.

11 (3 WR’s, 1 RB, 1 TE): 23 plays, 115 yards.

“11.5” (3 WR’s, 1 RB, Wilcox in backfield): 12 plays, 17 yards.

12 (2 WR’s, 1 RB, 2 TE): 2 plays, 20 yards.

“12.5” (2 WR’s, 1 RB, 1 TE, Wilcox in backfield): 9 plays, 15 yards.

Wilcox was the only non-RB to lineup in the backfield all day.

There were a couple plays where a WR would motion next to the tight end in the box. In those cases I still counted them as a WR.


For-sure blitzes by Stony Brook: 8
Note: 5 or more defenders moving towards the backfield on the snap, or on a delay coming from the secondary. If it was close, I called it no blitz.

Deep coverage on USF WR’s allowing easy underneath throws: basically every play.

Things I saw:

I don’t want to deep-analyze O-line play-to-play for two reasons: it’s really tough to do from the TV angle, and you don’t know what protection or blocking scheme was called. But I think it’s fair to say the unit struggled a lot more than you’d like with an FCS team. At times they just got whipped, which will happen occasionally, but not this much. When there was an obvious breakdown, it seemed to come from the right side more than the left. The plainly obvious blocks missed came from the Cam Ruff/Marcus Norman side of the line more often.

There was only one really obvious “WUT” play, and that was a Temi Alaka and Quinton Flowers miscommunication in the red zone. One of them screwed up as Flowers threw it well behind Alaka, who was still running his route. It was also a “check with me,” so someone blew the sideline play change.

When USF does go “check with me” and D’Ernest Johnson is on the field, he relays the protection/blocking scheme to the offensive line, not Flowers.

Quinton straight up missed a lot of throws and meshpoints. He admitted as much after the game. SBU’s plan was clearly to make USF dink-and-dunk, and force him to complete throws toward the sidelines. It’s the model for other schools as to how to slow USF down.

How much of his struggle is the new scheme, we just don’t know.

Empty sets: zero
Middle screens: zero
Running back screens: zero
9 route bombs to a WR with man coverage off play-action: zero
Trick plays: zero

This isn’t criticism. I mention this because there’s lots and lots of stuff that’s still available, but USF hasn’t put on film yet. They did open it up ever-so-slightly in the second half, but it was clearly not the Gulf Coast Offense of old. SBU was trying to force everything under their deep shell, which was often Cover 2.

So what we saw clearly wasn’t working. The question is: what will? And will the coaching staff put it in before conference play?