Huskies Insider Blog

Can you identify Stanford play-action?

Stanford runs so much, it eventually catches teams creeping toward the line of scrimmage, and that's when the Cardinal tries to go over-the-top to tight ends.

Let's take a look at two examples. One is a run. The other ends up being a play-action bootleg that Stanford's completes to a tight end:

Here's the first example with Stanford in its beloved power I.

Here's the second formation. Also a power I, but after motion.

This is what defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said is crucial when identifying Stanford's play-action.

"Eye control. You’ve got to have great eyes. Everybody has a key. Every linebacker, every defensive linemen, every defensive back has a key on every call. And to make sure that your eyes on your keys, especially when its the sixth, seventh, eighth play of a drive and you just got the call and they’re going hurry up, get your eyes on your key and play it just as disciplined as you did when we did it in a walk through. It’s a simple concept, to say you’ve got to get your eyes on your key, but it’s not always easy to do. We’ve got to make sure we get our eyes right and don’t give them anything easy."

Here are the results.

Play one ends up a run for Stepfan Taylor.

The second play, Zach Ertz had motioned to the left side of the line, and it ends up being a play-action bootleg for quarterback Josh Nunes. He ends up hitting Ertz, who comes back across the field, for a first down.

Identifying this tonight will be crucial for Washington.