With the clock ticking down late in the fourth quarter, the Texas Tech Red Raiders came up to the line in a formation you don’t see every day. Running back Justin Stockton rushed in motion across the formation, catching the attention of a confused Texas defense. Mahomes took the snap and Stockton rushed to the sideline off of a handoff. Or so it seemed, because seconds later, receiver Jakeem Grant is rushing down the opposite sideline approaching the end zone…with the ball tightly held in his right arm.
So what just happened?
As you can see, Grant hid behind the lineman so that when he received the handoff, the defense couldn’t see him over the bigger bodies. The misdirection drew the defense to Stockton; Grant, who had the ball the whole time, waited for the defense to go the other way and then took off.
Like many recognizable plays, ‘hide the midget’ has quite the history. Many credit its creation to the trio of Doc Holliday, Marty Galbraith and Noel Mazzone, all on North Carolina State’s offensive staff in the early 2000’s. Others credit the play to offensive genius Gus Malzahn, the current head coach at Auburn. Malzahn brought this play everywhere he went.
He used it at Arkansas.
He then used it at Arkansas State:
and then, of course, at Auburn:
The play has spread all over college football with many teams successfully replicating it. Its probability of success is high when used correctly. It doesn’t always work though. If a team sniffs it out, it can be easily defended. Mostly because the lineman aren’t actually blocking. The ball carrier is helpless if a defender catches on.
Here the ball carrier gets swallowed just as he gets the ball.
Creative football is one of the most entertaining things to watch as an offensive enthusiast. Plays like this not only make games more interesting, but they also show how impactful they can be in tight situations.