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.