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Inside Joe Burrow’s Favorite Play

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU offense, in 2019, I’d say was decently acceptable. The LSU offense employed a litany of new concepts in what was largely a complete overhaul of everything they’ve ever done. All of that has been said ad-nauseam. Here, I’d like to take a look at what Joe Burrow, on “Off The Bench” with T-Bob Hebert and Jordy Culotta, labeled his favorite concept from the 2019 season. In Burrow’s words:

There you have it, it’s something you can call pretty much at any time. I’ve found that LSU favored it in single high or cover 3 shells, but it can pretty much work against any shell, especially when you’re as talented as LSU. Burrow does a good job explaining the read for me. In essence, the concept looks like this, with some exceptions underneath applying on a play to play basis.

Occasionally, Clyde/Moss would stay in to protect, or would mesh and release to opposite flats from their alignment, but this is the general idea.

Most commonly, the ball went to Jefferson on the over. Here, Florida comes out in a cover 3 shell which is just great to run this against. As Burrow says, his first read is the safety. He stays deep to take Chase’s post which easily clears the window for the over. This is a good example of how the underneath routes keep the linebackers under the over and dig. Free money.

Similar deal here against a cover 2 shell. When it’s cover 2, the read is the boundary safety (as there’s now more than one safety). Safety stays high, and the linebackers were held underneath by the playfake, more easy money.

Here, the free safety does drive on the route, but he gets too much depth to make a play.

What happens when they cover the over? Texas’ boundary corner bites hard into the run fit, but the safety is there to cap Chase’s post. Texas leaves a middle of field safety in the high hole, which allows them to take the over, but Terrace Marshall is right there in the window he vacated. Burrow gets through to the third progression underneath the deep third safety. This really shows how comfortable Burrow is throwing OUT of rhythm as well.

So here, Georgia Southern has this pretty much figured out. The boundary corner passes the post off to the safety and takes the flat, since the number 2 receiver (Jefferson in this case) just released to the flat, the strong Apex (the first non deep defender inside the corner) was able to drop to take the over. On the backside, he cooooooould have thrown this dig, but the field safety is inside of it and looks initially to be in position to blow it up, and the WILL backer looks to be dropping into the window. The weakness here, is that the WILL backer is now gone, and the flat is wide open. This is just too much space to allow John Emery. This is a variant on how they normally run it, usually the offense is weak to the boundary, in this case, they’re weak to the field. This clashes a bit with Burrow’s terminology in his description, but the essence is the exact same.

Here’s what happens when the safety stays flat footed on the over. I mean, normally, I’d expect Burrow to just take the over here, as the safety is way too deep to do anything about it. That said, he was flat footed, LSU’s offense was doing whatever it wanted, they were all pissed at A&M, and it was senior night. He just let it rip, bombs away. This shows though, the other result of this hi-lo read on the safety.

This just goes to show how well designed this concept is, it is meant to be called at pretty much anytime, and can attack almost every coverage in some way. LSU just flat out slaughtered teams with this. I must add that it helps to have 3 first round picks, and another potential one in Terrace Marshall running these routes.