Many of you have asked how the Hokie version of the pistol works. Here is a breakdown of one of their basic plays, the Trap Veer.
Tight end lines up on the line of scrimmage, and flexes back to the wing back. When the tight end sets, the flanker (right side) flexes up to a set position. Once the flanker is set, the Z back (slot receiver) rocket motion (curved motion with the aiming point being 2 yards behind where the tailback lines up. The quarterback gets the snap when the Z hits the hash mark in his motion.
SE: Option Stalk/Go Route
Z: Rocket Sweep Fake/Flat-Go
FL: Option Stalk/Backside Post Route
TE "Y": Pulls playside. If the option man goes inside, he goes outside and attempts to hook with playside linebacker. If the option man (playside defensive end) goes upfield, the Y turns inside him and kicks out the weakside backer.
LT: Combo with left guard on playside DT, roll off to middle backer
LG: Combo with left tackle on playside DT. Get head to the play side (most important block on the play).
C: Depending on line call, can pull and lead up inside the DE to the playside, or scoop the backside linebacker.
RG: Scoop the backside defensive tackle.
RT: Scoop the backside defensive end.
RB: Takes a belly step left, then dives inside of the option man (play side defensive end.)
QB: Reads the option man (DE.) If the end crashes inside, QB keeps and goes outside. If the DE stays wide and moves upfield, QB gives to the TB.
This is a magnificently simple play that you can build a wide variety of counters to. Without changing any of the pre- or post-snap motion, you can trap the defensive end and use the running back as a lead blocker to make it a power lead play. You can have the center pull and get outside the end to turn the play into a quarterback sweep. It can become an easy play action pass by having the tight end pull but instead of blocking, leak out to the flat, just like the Hokies did on the first team offense's first play on Saturday. You can run play action and max protect by having the Y seal the defensive end and running go and backside post routes from your set receivers. And, you have the option of a rocket or jet sweep off the action.
What Nevada's running above isn't an exact match to what I expect the Hokies to run, but the fundamentals are similar. Nevada uses their slot man as the pulling blocker. When the playside defensive end dives inside, both the blocker and the quarterback read it. The receiver, now lead blocker goes outside the end and turns upfield, and the quarterback fakes the dive and runs outside the end.
We saw more of the counter options, and off tackle runs from this formation/pre-snap action on Saturday. However, once Logan Thomas starts with live contact against Georgia Tech, I would imagine that this will be a bread and butter play for the big quarterback.