PSU Playbook: Williams' End-Around

Get a closer look at the Penn State junior's misdirection TD run, which put the Nittany Lions up 19-16 over Purdue in the fourth quarter of last weekend's game. What did the formation look like? Why did it work so well? What did Evan Royster do to help Williams break open the play? Find out here.

One of the most intriguing and entertaining aspects of the Football Fantasy Camp at Penn State is having the ability to dig into PSU's playbook and learn about the schemes, formations and play variations the Nittany Lions run from the coaches themselves, like Larry Johnson, Galen Hall, Jay Paterno and Brian Norwood. Periodically this season we'll take a closer look at the inner workings of specific plays or schemes PSU runs to help provide understanding of the play and give you just a taste of what you can experience and learn from the staff at Fantasy Football Camp.

In Saturday's 26-19 win over Purdue the Nittany Lions got a fourth-quarter touchdown off a 12-yard touchdown run from Derrick Williams. You can see the play at the 1:45 mark of the video recap below:

The general play formation is classified as a "gimmick" play in Penn State's offensive scheme and is predicated on creating misdirection for the opposing defense. Called Spread Left Sweep Right Reverse Left, the naming of the play refers to "spreading" the split end receiver (Z — Deon Butler) wide to the left side of the formation.

Here is how the basic formation is set:

Here are the routes each target is directed to run in the formation:

Z: Slant a 2-Yards, Block Protect Inside
Y: Right Block Protection
X: Left Reverse Sweep Carry
A: Right Fake Hand-off Out
F: Left Block Protection Outside

Once the ball is snapped, the quarterback (Q - Anthony Morelli) fakes a hand-off to the running back (A - Evan Royster), who accelerates to the right of the formation, freezing and drawing the defense, particularly the linebackers.

The fullback (F - Dan Lawlor), pulls hard left to serve as a lead blocker and open up a running lane. The slot receiver (X - Williams) pulls quickly to the backfield, takes the hand-off from Morelli and proceeds to reverse the direction of the play.

The fake hand-off to Royster fools a large contingent of Purdue's front seven, including the left side of the line and linebackers, which draws the coverage away from the direction of the play. This, in turn, creates more space on the left side of Penn State's formation. Williams accelerates, makes the turn and has several blockers to open up his path, including Lawlor (F) and three offensive linemen.

Although difficult to see in the third frame, if you watch the video the split-end (Z - Butler) makes a significant block in this play to seal off the lane for Williams and provide enough time for him to break through the protection and find the end zone.

The key to the play's success, which is fairly more complex than PSU's typical scheme, is two-fold. First, Royster's acceleration to the right freezes the defensive line and makes the Purdue 'backers commit just long enough to take them out of the play. Second, the blocking by Lawlor and Butler provide a clear path for Williams and allow for the linemen to help clean up the defenders to pave the way for Williams to score.

Given the success of this, it seems that having Royster and Williams on the field at the same time is something the PSU staff should add as a staple of its offensive scheme.

Get an entirely new view and appreciation of the Penn State games by attending Penn State Fantasy Football Camp; the only way you can learn the playbook from the Penn State coaches without making the team. It's the perfect holiday gift for the die hard Penn Stater.

Check out PSU's Fantasy Camp and register today — slots are filling up

Questions about the camp? Contact Patrick Steenberge, Camp Director, at

Catch other features in our PsU Playbook series:

  • Maurice Evan's Fumble Return
  • Deon Butler's Touchdown Strike


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