ON HOW OGLESBY WILL LINE UP AS THE 'B-BACK': "He’ll line up all over the place. When we went to the Pony backfield last year, he was the other guy that was in the shotgun. Your B-back could be one of those two guys. Whether he lines up there or lines up in the I-formation (as a more traditional fullback) or if we decide to empty the backfield out, he could line up at a wide receiver spot because of his hands. Put him in motion, a lot of things."
When I read that three weeks ago I got overly excited. This may actually be the year when we start moving our playmakers around to better suit their strengths. Josh Oglesby is brawny has experience carrying the rock out of a hand-on-ground-stance, yet is athletic with dependable hands. Those characteristics read like the ingredients for a fine B-back. Let's take a look at some of the difference ways he can attack a defense.
Defeating Big Fronts
The Fullback Trap is an effective way to gash a loaded box. The defense above is lined up in 5-2 with the strong safety or backer walked up outside the defensive end. Six blockers versus eight defenders, this play should have no chance of succeeding, right? Wrong. Here are the blocking assignments. The left guard is going to block down on the nose tackle and double team with the center. After a good push one will release off of the nose tackle and pick up the Will backer. The right tackle is going to bust his ass and wall off the Mike backer, while the left tackle cuts off the defensive tackle over his head. The left guard is going to pull around behind the center and "trap" the unblocked defensive tackle on the strong side. A trap is most effective when said defensive tackle runs upfield because he's unblocked and then thud he has no idea what hit him. The play is designed for the fullback to run through the hole created between the center/guard and the pulling guard otherwise known as the A-gap. The tailback is going to fake the sweep, pitch, something outside, etc freezing the contain man (either strongside defensive end or safety) for a moment while the tight end handles whomever comes inside. The Fullback Trap is a quick hitter and because of such will not be blocked perfectly. Therefore, most of the time it requires an athletic fullback to make a man miss. Check out Jarrett Ferguson below.
The only difference between Ferguson's execution and how the play is diagrammed above is he cuts back to the crease on the backside. When you have an agile offensive line that can pull and make blocks on backers (as we [hopefully] do this year) it's a thing of beauty.
In the Passing Game
Nod your head if you remember watching this scenario unfold over the last couple of years. Tyrod takes the snap, drops back in the pocket, looks left to pass, receivers are covered, looks right, dances around, tries to find an outlet, can't, scrambles, something bad is about to happen, and, tackled. So, how does having another versatile back behind or flanking the quarterback help to turn nothing into something?
Let's assume we're in a three receiver two back shotgun formation. In this case we've replaced the tight end with the B-back. This is very likely to happen in 2010 because of our lack of depth at tight end and our abundance of talent at running back. First of all the B-back provides the quarterback with another check down option. It's unpredictable from what part of the field a mobile quarterback, like Tyrod, will throw the ball from. He may instinctively reverse field to his left when a sprint or boot to the right breaks down. Having both sides of the flats occupied ensures Tyrod will always have a high percentage receiving option in his line of vision no matter where he scrambles. Second, there's another blocker in the backfield to help protect the passer. While it's true the tight end has been traded for him, we've put the B-back a better position to block pass rushers about to reach the quarterback. The vantage point behind the line of scrimmage makes it easier to see and pick off corner blitzers and impede any wash coming through line.
The Belly Series
The Belly Series is a group of plays ran out of a two back set that are predicated on a successful inside rushing strike. As you might have already guessed, the base play is the Belly play which is nothing more than a hand off to the fullback ran through the A-gap into the belly of the defense. The quarterback and tailback continue moving play side after the hand off to threaten an outside attack. Once the defense over commits to stop the inside run the quarterback will fake the hand off to the fullback where he can keep the ball or pitch outside to the tailback—the Belly Option. Any number of plays can be designed off this inside-outside scheme.
The Belly Series isn't anything sexy, new or complicated, but when you have the personnel it is effective. It involves all three playmakers in the backfield, it's a small package, easy to integrate into an offense and it's philosophy is adaptable into modern formations and plays.
Keep 'Em Guessing
I've given a few detailed examples of how Josh Oglesby at B-back will help diversify the offense and help us better attack opposing defenses. The truth is I could have rambled on 20+ more different ways. The key, if you haven't noticed already, is versatility. The more unique positions that we can put Oglesby, and for that matter any other playmakers on offense, in the harder it will be to game plan for and stop us.
*B-back and Fullback are used interchangeably in this post