In Saturday's 31-0 shutout of Temple, the Nittany Lions found some success with the screen. In fact, Rodney Kinlaw caught a career-high five passes in the game. The screen pass was a significant factor in his receiving success against Temple. You can see the screen play to Kinlaw at the midway point of the highlight video below:
This general formation is called Spread Right Pistol X Left Flight Screen A. This formation is a single-back (A - Rodney Kinlaw) set, which features the receiver (X - Terrell Golden) in the slot. The X man motion in a drag route to the left of the formation, drawing the linebacker coverage wide.
Here is how the general formation looks:
Here are the route assignments for this play:
Z: Out Pattern
Y: Right Block Protection
X: Drag Route Left, Run Block
A: Fake Hand-off, 5-Yards Out, Hold Target
R: Out Pattern
At the snap, the center and right guard hold then release their assignments, allowing the coverage to commit to pursuing the quarterback (Q - Anthony Morelli). This brings the pursuit into the pocket, hence opening up the intermediate flat, allowing Q to dump a screen pass to A. In this particular play, the center (A.Q. Shipley) appears to release his assignment too soon, nearly resulting in a sack of Morelli.
In frame two below, the A back, Kinlaw, gets the ball and has three linemen as blockers in front of him (A.Q. Shipley No. 57, Rich Ohrnberger No. 64 and Mike Lucian No. 50). In frame three, Ohrnberger fails to engage a key block, which prematurely stops the play, although Kinlaw has managed to pick up about 10 yards on the run.
The key to the success of this play is the timing of the line's release and the down-field blocking. If both are timed correctly to allow for the pressure to lock onto the quarterback and subsequently make a lane for the running back, the play can see significant yardage gains. However, if the opposing linebackers make a good read on the flat, or the line releases to early, the play could get blown up for a short gain, or even a loss.
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