Since its debut this spring, most of us have been intrigued by the Pistol formation. Personally, I'm still haunted by JMU using it as a vessel for their option and power run game during their last trip to Blacksburg. As demonstrated by the Dukes in 2010, it's an extremely effective "modern" formation for many tried and true offensive plays and philosophies.
In Saturday's scrimmage Michael Holmes broke a little counter run out of it for a 60+ yard score. Let's break it down.
LT3 is lined up between center Andrew Miller and Michael Holmes. Dyrell is going to start moving across the formation before the ball is snapped.
Holmes takes a little counter step. At this point, it's extremely hard for the majority of defenders to key where the ball is going. This is more a benefit of the play than the formation. Logan could give the ball to Roberts on the sweep, hand it off to Holmes, or keep it himself.
The threat of Dyrell getting the ball on the sweep is going to hold the backside end (Tyrel Wilson) for an extra second, and prevent him from crashing down the line and making the play.
In the previous frame you can see Nick Becton pull around play side. He smothers Derek DiNardo, the edge is sealed tight.
Zack McCray gets some nice penetration, but he can't get back down the line of scrimmage to make the tackle. He may have been able to make the play if it was a slower developing run out of the shotgun.
Two things remain to be seen. Will the Pistol have focus and be integrated into the overall gameplan next season, or will it be something we use once or twice a game, a gimmick. Will the current offensive coaches be capable teachers. That is to say, are they familiar and knowledgable enough with it to teach all the finer points that make it so hard to defend.