Getting to know the ins and outs of coach Justin Fuente's system

In Part One, we went over the details of what to expect with Justin Fuente's offense. In part two, we go over more formations to look for from Virginia Tech's offense.

A couple things to note:

  1. The personnel I mention here is the primary personnel. You’ll see that I have Rogers all over the field. If he played in all these formations every down, he’d burn out by week five. So yes, there will be times when someone else subs in. These predictions are just if they were all 100%.

  2. After writing this, I think it shows just how critical is is for C.J. Carroll, Divine Deablo, Deon Newsome, Eric Kumah, anybody to step up at wide receiver. These guys absolutely cannot play every down. There will be some downs when Isaiah Ford runs 50 yards down the field and needs a breather. Cam Phillips will take a hard hit at some point and need a minute to gather himself. Just looking at these five formations alone shows how important depth at receiver is in this offense. And this is just five formations. There is sure to be more.

Shotgun: 5 WR

If the 4WR/1RB look was a classic spread grouping, this is the prototypical spread formation. Empty backfield, five receivers spread out. It’s the grouping you run in NCAA Football 2015 when you need to run “Smash” to pick up a first down. It was the third most common grouping in that video and Fuente wasn’t afraid to use it anywhere, as they lined up in it when they were backed up against their own redzone. 

However, I think it will be difficult for Virginia Tech to run a classic five wide formation this year. They’ll need two guys to step up, but I’m not sure if they’ll be able to establish five guys. They might be able to get a guy like Stroman or Carroll to settle into a situational role, but I think a variation of a true five wide formation where the Hokies use Rogers as one of the “slot” guys is more likely.

Formation Prediction:

WR1: Ford

WR2: Phillips

WR3: Hodges

WR4: Carroll

WR5: Rogers

Shotgun: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, 1 H-Back

Shotgun: 2 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE

I’m going to group these together, because these are the formations that look like they are made for the power-running game and I don’t think the primary personnel grouping will change. The first one has a true tight end on the line of scrimmage, a back next to the QB and an h-back just off the line of scrimmage. This will be an interesting grouping to watch, because I think this is a chance to steal some rest for Ford, Phillips or Hodges. Either Hodges can be subbed out as the primary tight end with Ford and Phillips as perimeter receivers or Hodges can split out wide and a guy like Xavier Burke can come in as a true tight end. With the number of snaps I expect Ford, Phillips and Hodges to play this year, it’s little packages like that that will be huge.

Regardless of whether there is an H-Back and one tailback on the field or two tailbacks right next to the QB, I think it’s most often going to be Rogers. He fits in both places extremely well. As you can tell, I fully expect Rogers to play a ton this year.

Formation Prediction

WR1: Ford

WR2: Phillips

TE1: Hodges

HB1/RB2: Rogers

RB1: McMillian

Shotgun: 3 WR, 2 H-Back

This is an interesting formation, because it’s a no-back set with two H-Backs just off the offensive tackles. Obviously Sam Rogers is one, but the other H-Back position is definitely up for grabs. I think this is a formation where Hodges will play as a true H-Back, because I think they can try and get him on a linebacker in this setup. Or it could be a max protection formation, where the Hokies are sending just Ford, Phillips and Hodges out because they know the other team is bringing the house.

Formation Prediction:

WR1: Ford

WR2: Phillips

WR3: DeAblo

HB1: Hodges

HB2: Phillips

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