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.
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