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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cal Bears Bear-Raid Offense: Innovative Vertical Set Blocking

The Cal Bears Offense employs a blocking technique called "Vertical Set Blocking."

 This is not to be confused with the standard "up-right" pass protection approach, because it has an entirely different purpose, and is used for both the pass and the run, as you see in the video from the Cal Football Spring Game:

Thanks to Chris Brown of the blog Smart Football, I learned of this new approach that's grown from what is called "Vertical Set Pass Blocking." To understand what Cal Head Coach Sonny Dykes is trying to do in the BEAR-RAID Offense, you first have to understand the "Vertical Set Pass Blocking" process.

According to the post "Attacking Vertical Set Pass Protection" at the "Football Is Life" blog, the objective of VSPP is to set up a line-of-scrimmage 4 to 5 yards behind the original one, and asks the offensive line to retreat four to five steps, then take what's called an "anchor" technique.  It's a form of blocking that has really become quickly used in the spread offense community. 

 In theory, the defensive line person has less, not more, leverage by the time they reach the offensive line blocker - thus, proponents of the VSPP argue that the bull-rush I pointed to in my video as a solution is negated. Also, because of the back step process, the O-line can see stunts and blitzes unfold in front them and pick them up faster.

But that's against the pass.

What Coach Dykes is doing is applying that approach to an unusual run / pass packaged offensive system. That explains what looks like "draw play pass blocking" but is really just vertical set blocking during a run - and that's because the QB elected to hand-off.

Given what I've seen at Cal, I still have reservations with this approach because it seems to bring the hounds to the hunted all too quickly. That's revealed in the video above.

But Cal fans, remember, while I have said this approach is innovative, it's not brand-new; you can see it was used by Coach Dykes at Lousiana Tech in 2012. Still, that observation has to be tempered with this point: that was their third year in the offense. How fast Cal players pick up the system will determine how well it does this first year out.

Notes: at 1:26 in the video above, La Tech runs a long developing reverse that's downed for a loss. It's the same one that was ran at Cal Spring Practice, and that time it didn't work either. The problem with the play is two fold: first, the fact that you're asking the wide receiver to come all the way around the formation, second, the "loose" vertical set blocking approach brings the defensive line into the backfield much to fast for this blogger's comfort.

Given the nature of the vertical set blocking approach, all plays must be fast in their development, otherwise, they're not going to work more often than not. Any occurrence of positive yards will be the product of pure luck. The play should be replaced with a quick pitch to the halfback in a formation designed to push the vast majority of players to the side opposite the halfback.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cal Spring Football Game Full Video

cal from ragin caucasian on Vimeo.

This is the full, complete video of the entire Cal Football Spring Game.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tony Franklin : Cal Football Offensive Coordinator Sacks Blog Post

Cal Football has something special, and while Cal Head Coach Sonny Dykes has said "come on down to see us, we've got nothing to hide," it's apparent his offensive coordinator Tony Franklin feels differently.  Just ask Brett Dudley, the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Antioch HS Football in Antioch, CA - he's a teacher who blogs under the name "Coach B Dud."

Coach B Dud visited Cal Football Spring Practice a few weeks ago, and wrote a great blog post on Cal's packaged offense concept.  The same kind of talk I gave in this video:

Chris Brown gave a great intro to the blog post over at Smartfootball, and wrote this:

The highlight of [Cal's] practice for me was during the team periods I was standing about 5 yards away from Tony Franklin. I was right next to him so I could hear each play call. What was slightly shocking to me was how often they attach quick game concepts on the backside of runs. Nearly every single run play there is a quick game or screen component tied on to the backside, and sometimes routes are tagged frontside as well. They call quick concept backside so often that they actually have to call/signal for the backside to BLOCK when they just want a designed run play. The hot new thing is combo [a.k.a "packaged"] plays … 2 in 1 or even 3 in 1 plays… EVERY PLAY is a 2 in 1. 

With a link to the blog post...
The post was widely shared online, and Cal was praised over at Coach Huey's board for its open practices, whereas Cal Coach Jeff Tedford's practices were closed.
After a time, it was gone, so I emailed the coach to ask what happened. This is what he wrote back:
Tony Franklin asked me to take it down.
So much for openness. It's clear someone at Cal got concerned with how the Internet was picking up his blog post, and figured that was enough - especially with a heavy slate of top colleges coming to Cal, like Northwestern and Ohio State.
Sill, knowing is far different from defending. GO BEARS!
Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cal Bears Football Spring Game Bear-Raid Offense

A video analysis of the new Cal passing offense under Head Coach Sonny Dykes. Here we focus on the style of blocking that could be either feast or fowl for the Cal Bears.

More text detail soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cal Football 2013 Recruits

Cal Football signees

Pos. Name School/Hometown Ht. Wt.
K Matt Anderson San Ramon Valley/Danville 6-0 175
QB Jared Goff Marin Catholic/Kentfield 6-4 190
DE Kyle Kragen Diablo Valley College/Pleasant Hill 6-3 245
DE Sione Sina College of San Mateo/San Mateo 6-6 245
WR Drake Whitehurst CCSF/San Francisco 6-6 215
DB Darius Allensworth Heritage/Romoland (Riverside County) 5-11 175
WR Jack Austin Chino Hills (San Bernardino County) 6-3 205
OL Chris Borrayo Paramount (Los Angeles County) 6-5 290
OL Eric Bunte Mission Viejo (Orange County) 6-7 310
DB Trey Cheek Archer/Lawrenceville, Ga. 5-10 176
OL Aaron Cochran Buhach/Atwater (Merced County) 6-6 320
WR Caleb Coleman St. Mary's/Berkeley 6-0 178
DE Raymond Davison Crespi/Encino (Los Angeles County) 6-2 218
OL J.D. Hinnant Fountain Valley (Orange County) 6-3 267
TE Ray Hudson Foothill/Pleasanton 6-4 235
DE Garrett Hughes Centennial/Corona (Riverside County) 6-2 230
DT Jacobi Hunter Cypress Falls/Houston 6-1 285
OL Vincent Johnson Christian Brothers/Sacramento 6-5 250
DT Marcus Manley Santa Monica CC (Los Angeles County) 6-2 279
DE Takkarist McKinley Kennedy/Richmond 6-3 240
DT Tony Mekari Westlake (Ventura County) 6-3 260
RB Khalfani Muhammad Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks (L.A. County) 5-8 174
LB Johnny Ragin III Wilsonville (Oregon) 6-3 215
LB Edward Tandy Tustin (Orange County) 6-0 220
DB Cameron Walker Loyola/Los Angeles 5-10 180
LB Chad Whitener Mansfield (Texas) 6-1 235

Thursday, December 27, 2012

RUMOR: Texas Tech's Chris Thompson To Be OL Coach

Folks, this is just a rumor from the website CoachingSearch.com, and it goes like this:

Cal: Sources tell me that Sonny Dykes will hire Texas Tech offensive line coach Chris Thomsen as offensive line coach. Thomsen is serving as the interim head coach for Texas Tech in their bowl game.

That comes from Pete Roussel over at that site. He posted it Sunday, December 23rd.

Be careful. It's not certain. Coach Dykes may have extended an offer, but there's no concrete info that Chris took it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pierre Ingram Running Backs Coach, Cal Football

Pierre Ingram has joined his LA Tech Head Coach Sonny Dykes in Berkeley, with both serving the same rolls they held at the Bulldogs had the nation's number one offense in 2012.

"Pierre Ingram is one of the best young coaches in the nation," Dykes said. "He is a talented person with a terrific future ahead of him and will be a tremendous asset to our football program. We're thrilled he's joining our staff at Cal."

"This is a great opportunity for me," Ingram said. "I'm thankful that coach Dykes has hired me on his staff at Cal along with some of the other guys from our successful offense at Louisiana Tech. Cal is a program with great tradition, and the coaching staff he's bringing in is going to add to that as well as bring some spark and energy to move forward in the Pac-12."

With Rob Likens, as Assistant Head Coach / Wide Receivers Coach, Dykes has brought every member of his offensive coaching staff from LA Tech to Berkeley, except his offensive line coach Pete Perot.

Now, the view turns to defense, where Dykes has not hired a defensive coordinator as of this writing.

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