In a crucial, late-game situation, the TCU Horned Frogs caught the Texas Tech Red Raiders off guard by pulling out a play they hadn’t shown all year.
The Frogs had just scored a touchdown to grab a one-point lead. With the shootout looking like it could come down to who had the ball last though, coach Gary Patterson decided to go for two. Quarterback Trevone Boykin ran up to the line trying to communicate with the offensive front when suddenly, the ball was snapped. Tail back Kyle Hicks fielded the snap, who then pitched it on a reverse to Shaun Nixon. After receiving the pitch, Nixon pulled back and fired to Boykin, who had sneakily found his way to the corner of the end zone amidst the Red Raider’s confusion. The Frogs earned their two-point conversion, and eventually escaped Lubbock with a 55-52 win.
One can imagine just how meticulously the TCU coaching staff installed, and rehearsed this play. Such trickeration was a smart idea on their part, as it gave them a go-to play for a critical need-to-score situation. As with any gadget play though, the execution must be perfect in order to produce the optimal effect. Essentially, the quarterback becomes a motion man while the tail back becomes the new quarterback. The Z receiver runs off his man on a crossing route, trying to clear out the corner of the end zone. The quarterback fakes like he is trying to communicate with his lineman and then delays his movement before slipping to the end zone.
Surprisingly enough, this play was not created by the Horned Frogs. In fact, it has shown up sporadically in all levels of football. One of the first teams to use it was the Clemson Tigers. Interestingly enough, they were also looking for a two point conversion. The Tigers brought out this play in a conference game against Georgia Tech in 2012. Take a look at the similarities.
As we have mentioned before, once someone successfully uses something, others are bound to copy it. Good coaches don’t always have to devise new concepts or plays; rather, they just have to constantly be on the lookout for ideas. And if they do directly copy something, who cares? That’s that nature of the game. Sometimes football isn’t about being inventive, it’s about observing what everyone else is doing.