The New Wildcat

Gophergrandpa

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Our new version of the “single wing,” power Wildcat places two running backs in the backfield and Tanner split out wide as a receiver. Neither of the RBs appears to be a threat to throw; a running play is telegraphed; both backs head in the same direction (no counter play); and Tanner is pretty much a wasted body. This Wildcat seems to place very little stress on the defense in terms of “guessing” the play or being punished for immediately converging on one side of the field. Instead, it places 10.5 defenders in the box against a predictable run.

I don’t know the x’s and o’s, but if the OC thinks that a two back formation presents a threat that should stress a defense, why not as our “wildcat” put Tanner under center with Trey and Bryce in the backfield, and a real receiver out wide? No wasted bodies; there is a threat of a run by either Trey or Bryce; the running threat could be a counter, punishing over-pursuit; and there remains a real threat that Tanner pulls the ball and goes down field to a real receiver.

The new uni-dimensional Wildcat we are running seems inferior, in terms of the “stress” it places on the defense, to a two-RBs-Tanner-under-center set with CAB or Wright or Jackson split out wide (preserving two TEs, one of whom could release). If we don’t want to use a two back set with Tanner under center, which presents several options for the defense to consider, why would we use uni-dimensional, highly-predictable two RB Wildcat (with Tanner wasted on the outside) instead? … unless we really are going to have Trey Potts throw to Tanner???
 
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tmvander

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Our new version of the “single wing,” power Wildcat places two running backs in the backfield and Tanner split out wide as a receiver. Neither of the RBs appears to be a threat to throw; a running play is telegraphed; both backs head in the same direction (no counter play); and Tanner is pretty much a wasted body. This Wildcat seems to place very little stress on the defense in terms of “guessing” the play or being punished for immediately converging on one side of the field. Instead, it places 10.5 defenders in the box against a predictable run.

I don’t know the x’s and o’s, but if the OC thinks that a two back formation presents a threat that should stress a defense, why not as our “wildcat” put Tanner under center with Trey and Bryce in the backfield, and a real receiver out wide? No wasted bodies; there is a threat of a run by either Trey or Bryce; the running threat could be a counter, punishing over-pursuit; and there remains a real threat that Tanner pulls the ball and goes down field to a real receiver.

The new uni-dimensional Wildcat we are running seems inferior, in terms of the “stress” it places on the defense, to a two-RBs-Tanner-under-center set with CAB or Wright or Jackson split out wide (preserving two TEs, one of whom could release). If we don’t want to use a two back set with Tanner under center, which presents several options for the defense to consider, why would we use uni-dimensional, highly-predictable two RB Wildcat (with Tanner wasted on the outside) instead?
I don't think it's meant as a way to fool or stress a defense. It's a way to gain 2 yards, no more, no less.

Having Morgan and a receiver in takes away one blocker from up front.

I'm not a fan of the wildcat either and curse it out whenever we don't pick up those 2 yards, but over the years I think it's worked more than it hasn't.
 

Taji34

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I mean, Seth Green wasn't a "passing threat" for a long time because he never passed it in the wildcats. ~95% of our Wildcat with him was him keeping the ball and punching up the middle. I don't think he threw a single pass the whole first year we ran that wildcat. He also got snuffed on the run too from time to time.

I don't think this wildcat is any more or less predictable, other than the assumption that they will never have Trey attempt a pass since he doesn't have QB experience.

If anything, the strategy is to make the other team expect a run up the middle, because we did that with Seth Green. Every single one of the insanely few passes he threw out of the wildcat were wide open BECAUSE the DL expected a run and stacked the box.
 


btowngopher

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I don't think it's meant as a way to fool or stress a defense. It's a way to gain 2 yards, no more, no less.

Having Morgan and a receiver in takes away one blocker from up front.

I'm not a fan of the wildcat either and curse it out whenever we don't pick up those 2 yards, but over the years I think it's worked more than it hasn't.
I agree, which is why I hate when they run it on like first and 10 at times. The odds of getting less than four yards is pretty high, and the odds of a big play are pretty low.
 



2nd Degree Gopher

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I mean, Seth Green wasn't a "passing threat" for a long time because he never passed it in the wildcats. ~95% of our Wildcat with him was him keeping the ball and punching up the middle. I don't think he threw a single pass the whole first year we ran that wildcat. He also got snuffed on the run too from time to time.

I don't think this wildcat is any more or less predictable, other than the assumption that they will never have Trey attempt a pass since he doesn't have QB experience.

If anything, the strategy is to make the other team expect a run up the middle, because we did that with Seth Green. Every single one of the insanely few passes he threw out of the wildcat were wide open BECAUSE the DL expected a run and stacked the box.
Teams knew that Seth had been a QB. That created the threat that he would pass, even if he didn't right away. That's part of the reason it was a successful running play at first and that success lead teams to eventually cheat more to play the run and opened up the pass. At least that's how I recall it.
 

noamfromm

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I mean, Seth Green wasn't a "passing threat" for a long time because he never passed it in the wildcats. ~95% of our Wildcat with him was him keeping the ball and punching up the middle. I don't think he threw a single pass the whole first year we ran that wildcat. He also got snuffed on the run too from time to time.

I don't think this wildcat is any more or less predictable, other than the assumption that they will never have Trey attempt a pass since he doesn't have QB experience.

If anything, the strategy is to make the other team expect a run up the middle, because we did that with Seth Green. Every single one of the insanely few passes he threw out of the wildcat were wide open BECAUSE the DL expected a run and stacked the box.
If '18 was the first year I remember him throwing at TD to Tyler Johnson against Miami
 

Taji34

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If '18 was the first year I remember him throwing at TD to Tyler Johnson against Miami
You may be right, I couldn't recall and couldn't be bothered to try to dig into it online.
 



highwayman

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I guess it’s so predictable you should stop watching. Nothing good will come of it.
 

CWCWCW

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4th quarter. 2:46 left in game. 4th and 2 at Iowa 39. Iowa up 21 to 20. Here comes the Wildcat. Potts looks to run outside and the db cheats. A soft toss completion to Tanner Morgan goes to the Iowa 16 yard line. After a few plays to chew clock, Trickett nails 31 yard field goal. With no timeouts left, Iowa has 37 seconds. They get to the Minnesota 39 but Nubin ices game with interception.

See? Keep the Wildcat!
 

MplsGopher_fan

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I don’t know the x’s and o’s, but if the OC thinks that a two back formation presents a threat that should stress a defense, why not as our “wildcat” put Tanner under center with Trey and Bryce in the backfield, and a real receiver out wide?
If the QB is under center is it really a "wildcat"? If so, we sure ran a heck of a lot of wildcat when Mason was here and Maroney & Barber were in the backfield!
 

Gophergrandpa

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If the QB is under center is it really a "wildcat"? If so, we sure ran a heck of a lot of wildcat when Mason was here and Maroney & Barber were in the backfield!
That why I put in quotes. A Wildcat substitute. If as the commenters say, the point of the Wildcat is a pure power play, aiming to get 2-3 certain yards—based on overpowering the defense at the point of attack—and get the defensive match up we want (because Morgan is on the field), then OK. But somehow it seems like it could be more …
 



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Totally. OSU saw two backs and no qb in the backfield and just crashed the line. Scrap it.
 

UpAndUnder43

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That why I put in quotes. A Wildcat substitute. If as the commenters say, the point of the Wildcat is a pure power play, aiming to get 2-3 certain yards—based on overpowering the defense at the point of attack—and get the defensive match up we want (because Morgan is on the field), then OK. But somehow it seems like it could be more …
No matter your formation you're blocking more guys than you have available blockers. The reason Morgan is on the field has been explained.

If the Gophers huddle with Morgan, the defense puts in players to defend the type of personnel the Gophers huddle. When Morgan goes out wide and the defense is in Nickel, they don't have their preferred personnel to stop a wildcat. So the Gophers, while being outnumbered, are better equipped to block a smaller, pass rushing/defending unit than if you are on the 1 yard line and send in the jumbos, so the defense counters with an extra DT and takes out a CB, for example.
 


MaxyJR1

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Morgan is on the field so they don't know its a wildcat. Then they don't have the correct personnel to defend a big package. So we can gain the necessary 2 yards.
Ding Ding Ding. They don't substitute for it, so the defense can't substitute without running the chance of getting 12 on the field. It's strategy.

They also use the straight "I" formation this year in place of the wildcat at times because they don't have Green.

Potts will likely pass in a big situation at some point this year.
 

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Shouldn't they run Morgan in motion occasionally too so they have to cover the possible pitch to the QB?
 

MplsGopher_fan

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That why I put in quotes. A Wildcat substitute. If as the commenters say, the point of the Wildcat is a pure power play, aiming to get 2-3 certain yards—based on overpowering the defense at the point of attack—and get the defensive match up we want (because Morgan is on the field), then OK. But somehow it seems like it could be more …
And you can put "apple" in quotes when referring to an orange.... Just say "no wildcat" - don't bother designing a traditional play and then calling it "wildcat in quotes". You're overthinking this one. QB behind center = no wildcat. Someone else behind center = wildcat. Simple as that.
 

MplsGopher_fan

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I am anti-wildcat but if we're going to scrap every play that doesn't work great its going to be a challenging season as we will run out of plays.
A little over the top, aren't ya? There are differences in why plays don't work. Maybe more reps are needed, maybe a backup is in, etc. This one clearly didn't work because the defense can easily stop it. THOSE are the plays we should remove.
 

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Shouldn't they run Morgan in motion occasionally too so they have to cover the possible pitch to the QB?
If I saw 2 Gopher RBs in the backfield on a wildcat play, I would love it if they pitched it to Morgan for him to be the ball carrier, if I was the other team's D coordinator.

But no, they want him out wide so his defender is removed from the action. That's his only value. If he comes in motion, he brings another potential tackler into the mix - exactly what you don't want.
 

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Morgan is on the field so they don't know its a wildcat. Then they don't have the correct personnel to defend a big package. So we can gain the necessary 2 yards.
The only time we are in a two back set is in Wildcat, so it defeats the purpose of that "surprise" element of leaving Morgan in.
M-OH didn't even cover Morgan, instead the defender "assigned" to him split the difference and as soon as he read run he was flying to the ball.
 

MplsGopher_fan

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M-OH didn't even cover Morgan, instead the defender "assigned" to him split the difference and as soon as he read run he was flying to the ball.
Yeah, until we have a QB with wheels, I doubt any defensive coordinator will worry about covering the QB. Even if Morgan catches it, a DT could bring him down from behind - he aint going anywhere.
 

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If I saw 2 Gopher RBs in the backfield on a wildcat play, I would love it if they pitched it to Morgan for him to be the ball carrier, if I was the other team's D coordinator.

But no, they want him out wide so his defender is removed from the action. That's his only value. If he comes in motion, he brings another potential tackler into the mix - exactly what you don't want.
Not for Morgan to run....for him to pass.
 

UpAndUnder43

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The only time we are in a two back set is in Wildcat, so it defeats the purpose of that "surprise" element of leaving Morgan in.
M-OH didn't even cover Morgan, instead the defender "assigned" to him split the difference and as soon as he read run he was flying to the ball.
They lined up Potts in the slot multiple times against Ohio state while Mo was in the backfield.
 

UpAndUnder43

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A little over the top, aren't ya? There are differences in why plays don't work. Maybe more reps are needed, maybe a backup is in, etc. This one clearly didn't work because the defense can easily stop it. THOSE are the plays we should remove.
But it has worked and gained first downs and touchdowns.
 


SamSquatch

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But it has worked and gained first downs and touchdowns.
It has worked and it has failed. It is very very predictable and is less effective against B1G opponents than non-con. At least the way we’ve used it.

Is the wildcat more effective than just running out a jumbo package with Morgan under center? I don’t know but the current iteration of the wildcat is just not compelling.
 

UpAndUnder43

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It has worked and it has failed. It is very very predictable and is less effective against B1G opponents than non-con. At least the way we’ve used it.

Is the wildcat more effective than just running out a jumbo package with Morgan under center? I don’t know but the current iteration of the wildcat is just not compelling.
I agree. But I get why they’ve run it in the past. I don’t enjoy it at all.
 

UpAndUnder43

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I guess the big question is if it's working at a higher rate than we would have gotten first downs or touchdowns with our regular offense.
I’m not sure we’ll ever know. I wouldn’t run it ever. Even with Green I hated it. But the reasoning behind it is catching the defense with poor personnel to defend short yardage situations.
 




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