After watching the first half of the Wake Forest @ Boston College game – I watched only the first half because it’s in the middle of the night over here in Germany, and it wasn’t a game to stay up for longer than I already did (til about 3:20am). I was about to write how poorly Tanner Price ran the option and how bad his “basketball-style chest-pass” pitches were. So I analysef what he really did on that second fumble, and, to be honest, at least on that play I can’t see any poor mechanics or anything like that, just a poor decision to pitch the ball despite already being tackled:
OK, here’s the video of the fumble (it’s a short highlight video but it should start right at that play – if not go to 0:16 of the video)
Now let’s go back an look at it step by step
Here’s the offensive formation and the defensive lineup just at the snap:
The defense is in a classical 4-3 Pro lineup, nothing fancy here:
Weakside End in a 5 technique
Weakside Tackle shade weak
Strongside Tackle in a 3 technique
Strongside End in a 6 technique
Mike over the strongside A-Gap about 5 yrds deep
Sam on the LOS outside the TE
Will outside weakside tackle about 3-4 yrds deep
on the next picture you can see the blocking scheme:
both guards pull to the strongside like it’s a trap play
weakside guard blocking the strongside DT and
strongside guard block the strongside DE
TE blocks Sam
Center blocks down on the weakside DT
strongside tackle goes upfield to block Mike
weakside tackle blocks the weakside DE to the inside?
the next picture just one step of the RB farther and still in the mesh-phase we can already see the drama evolving:
the weakside tackle looses his block on the weakside DE to the inside, which might have given the QB the read to pull the ball, but simultaniously the center who blocks the weakside DT to the left cannot maintain full contact in his block which allows the DT to get some backfield penetration and as we will see the ability to move to the outside. The inside receiver running past the weakside OLB clearly shows us that the offense wants to option off the OLB.
The next picture (about 2 more steps taken by the RB, and the QB having pulled the ball) it looks as if the decision to pull the ball out of the RBs pocket was the right one.
Maybe it was. But we can already see the problem with the Center’s block being just directed outside without preventing the penetration… so the DT actually is already able to force the QB from his downhill attack to a more lateral movement as the next picture clearly shows.
This should have actually been the right moment for the pitch, but here the pitch-man still wasn’t in the perfect pitch-relation to the QB – still 5 yards behind the QB and not far enough to the outside. Where we also see, that the Center already completely lost his block…
the DT is agile enough to reach out to the QB and getting a hold of him with his outstretched outside arm… this is now the moment where the QB should have “eaten” the ball an accept the tackle. Especially because it wasn’t even the “option man” who got him. The weakside OLB is still unblocked, even though it looks as if he’s to play the QB and force the pitch. Question to the defense here: who was responsible for the pitch-man? – since if the pitch had been on target this could have gone a long way. But back to the fumble: QB never pitch the ball over such a long distance while being tackled.