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Film Session: How Effective Was The Spread?

UTEP showed way more spread looks than usual in the last game against Old Dominion, I go inside the numbers to see what it really did.


Sean Kugler vowed there would be offensive changes after scoring only three points in non-garbage time against Kansas State and Louisiana Tech.

So somewhere deep within the Durham Center, Kugler and offensive coordinator Patrick Higgins went into the offensive lab and created one hell of a game plan for Old Dominion.

UTEP spread things out, though kept to the running principles, and maybe found out Jameill Showers is a better, more efficient passer out of the gun.

I broke down every play out of the shot gun into two categories; regular spread passing plays, and spread formations that featured jet sweep motions.  I also broke down total jet sweep plays some which came under center.

Here is what I found.

Shotgun Spread Plays With No Motion

21 pass attempts 143 yards
8 rush attempts 34 yards
Jameill Showers 16/22 143 yards
29 total plays 177 yards

UTEP showed many looks from the spread, tons of 3 wide receiver looks with one tight end, the stack formation with tight ends as lead blockers on each side which was mainly used for screens, and once UTEP showed four wide but a timeout was called, and at least six times two tight ends were lined up on opposite sides in the slot.

The Miners actually called 30 plays out of the gun, but apparently the umpire didn't see Eric Tomlinson was behind the line of scrimmage on that huge gain that was negated by a illegal man down field call.  You can add plus-18 to my passing numbers calculation if you would like from that gain.

At one point after two in completions, Showers completed eight straight attempts in a row, and also completed his last 10 of 11 passing attempts from this look.

The Miners also spread the ball around to different hands, with different packages. Here is how their production came out of the spread with no motion.  So many people were involved in the game plan

Aaron Jones: 6 catches 26 yards,

Nathan Jeffery: 2 carries,  5 yards, 1 catch 5 yards

Josh Bell: 3 carries, 7 yards, 2 catches 25 yards

Autrey Golden: 6 catches 70 yards,

Jameill Showers: 16/22 143 yards, 1 rush 14 yards.

Ian Hamilton: 1 catch, 18 yards

Darrin Laufasa, 2 carries, 8 yards

The spread passing looks were mostly used on first and second downs, and lead to only one first down, but accounted for two of UTEP's late touchdowns.

These looks proved to be effective in making later downs more manageable as UTEP was 10 out of 16 on third downs on the night.

The next wrinkle I was looking at was the new jet or fly sweep motion that was showed.

This was mainly a run dominated look, which I would expect to be more balanced against UTSA as this was UTEP's most effective look in the run game.   All theses plays were run out of the shotgun.

Fly Sweep Motion out of the Shotgun

16 total plays 143 yards
16 rushes 143 yards
Aaron Jones 7 carries 46 yards
Nathan Jeffery 4 carries 33 yards
Autrey Golden 2 carries 51 yards, 9 times in fly sweep motion
Jameill Showers 3 carries 13 yards
Ziere Banner 4 times in fly sweep motion
Donovan Walker 3 times in fly sweep motion

This was the most effective way UTEP moved the chains, grabbing six first downs out of this look with great balance in getting it in different guys hands.

UTEP was run heavy on this again, so this week we may see Autrey Golden or the fly sweeper to maybe get a catch in the flats as it was pretty open most of the day, though UTEP strictly ran out of this look.

The fly sweep is such a great diversion with the speed of Golden, UTEP even used it under center.

Fly Sweep Motion Under Center

Total plays: 8 Total yards: 63
Rushes: 6 63 yards
Passes: 2 Both Incomplete
Aaron Jones 2 carries 21 yards, 1 time in motion (16 yard run)
Josh Bell 2 carries 41 yards, 1 TD (37 yard run)
Autrey Golden 6 times in fly motion
Brandon Moss 2 times in fly motion

Though it wasn't used as much, the fly sweep motion under center it averaged almost eight yards a play, and fits right to UTEP's strength, diversions with speed on the outside, with a downhill approach.

Total spread plays

45 total plays 318 total yards
Passing yards 143 yards
Rushing yards 177 yards
Pass attempts 22 (23 damn umpire)
Rush attempts 23

So in conclusion, more spread was much needed and very effective as a remedy to UTEP's slow offense in the previous two games.

The total spread looks produced a seven yard per play average, with seven first downs, and two touchdowns, also helping set up great balance within those two nine minute drives.

A much needed wrinkle not only worked, but could become a huge dynamic identity that is much needed.