So look, as I say 2-3 times a year, there is very little to break down when it comes to these layup games unless bad things happen. So while it is a bit boring, it is dramatically better than the alternative of me having something really interesting to write about after a game against New Mexico. A little boredom can be good! It’s good for a program to be able to grind a team into the machinery without anything interesting going down. Even when LSU had blowouts in layup games, something interesting and untoward happened far too often and I’m happy to report that, through two of them, nothing of the sort has gone down.
It is, however, a little interesting to revisit Brian Kelly's comments about WR Jack Bech, and how they wanted to get him more involved. I think there is still plenty more they can do, but it’s an interesting start, as they mainly used him as a threat in the underneath windows. Let’s look at what they did, and how I think they should expand on it.
The main way that LSU got Jack Bech the ball this past week (besides on rightful punt return touchdowns) was a concept known as “HOSS juke.” The term “HOSS” is an acronym for “hitch outside seams” and “juke” refers to the juke route run by the number 3 receiver. The concept was most famously a staple of the Josh McDaniels-Tom Brady era Patriots offense and the dominant feature of their empty sets. A lot of times what will happen, especially against 2-high structures, is that the shallow middle will get cleared out by the seams and the juke receiver will have a 1-on-1 against the middle linebacker working the juke route, which should get him open on it. In addition to juking out or in, he has the option to settle into space if he has a void, but given the design being a 1-on-1 with the linebacker, he’s usually going to juke it based on his leverage. Against 1-high, the Patriots liked to throw the seams but LSU didn’t target them at any point so I’m not entirely sure how exactly they teach the read for Daniels. It looks to me, at least right now, like a way to just get Jack Bech the ball in a good situation so I’m not sure they’re ever gonna end up targeting the seams on it.
Daniels looks to be eyeing the weak hook defender here. If he either runs with the seam or takes a deep enough drop to open up the juke route, Daniels will work there and throw it to Bech in the void. He drops deep enough that he cannot effectively squeeze the juke route, so Bech beats the LB he’s 1 on 1 with to the inside and gets the ball for a first down.
Here is a rep against cover-2. You can see how the two curl defenders lined up over the number 2 receivers get a lot of depth to wall them off, which leaves Bech 1 on 1 with the MIKE linebacker. This is kinda the look you really like to get, in my opinion, to throw the juke route. Even if it is a very versatile route and concept more broadly, I really like it against cover-2 when teams have their curl defenders get a lot of depth in their drops or even carry the routes by the number 2 receivers.
If you’re going to use Jack Bech as a weapon in the underneath game, there are more things you can do with it. One thing that offenses like San Francisco, LA Rams, Green Bay, and Minnesota like to do with effective underneath receivers like George Kittle, Cooper Kupp, Allen Lazard (Jack Bech’s best NFL corollary, IMO), and Justin Jefferson is run them on choice routes. For instance, one (of many) choice concepts that Shanahan/McVay tree coaches like to run is “Choice Jaguar.” (Special thanks to Shawn who does GREAT work with Daily Norseman breaking down the Vikings, my personal go-to expert on anything Shanahan-related).
This is a concept I really, really like against quarters and 3 under, 3 deep fire zones like pictured above by Green Bay. The reason I like them so much against these respective 3-under structures is that, if the MIKE pushes to the 3 receiver concept (which he very often will), you have a two-way go with a boatload of space for the receiver to the weakside running his choice route. Whether the leverage of his defender calls for him to break out or in, he will have a lot of space to operate and make a play with the ball. The read and throw are easy for the QB as well.
It’s a versatile concept, however. Here it is against a 4-under cover 3 structure. As long as that MIKE pushes strong (and again, he generally will), you can still throw the choice route into that window. There’s a bit less space, but there’s still more than enough. As I mentioned earlier, I think Allen Lazard is a great comparison for how LSU should use Jack Bech. GB uses him well on choice routes, digs, slot fades, and even sideline fades. All of this is stuff LSU should be using Jack Bech and his big 215-pound frame for.
Aaron Jones touchdown, key block from WIDE RECEIVER Allen Lazard pic.twitter.com/rDqAnzuKeV— Arif Hasan, not a psyop (@ArifHasanNFL) December 24, 2019
Additionally, Lazard uses his frame extremely well as a BLOCKER, and I think LSU can use this to steal blocking matchups and numbers in the run fit against teams in nickel.
Nobody in the NFL is more fun to watch run Duo than the Rams.— Max Toscano (@maxtoscano1) August 24, 2022
Perfectly blocked. If I had to use a clip to show the average fan what Duo from 11 looks like, it's this one. pic.twitter.com/vLf5qRj8bE
The Rams are a great example of how using plus blockers at the WR position to run the ball from 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) can be beneficial in creating conflict. You don’t really want small pass defenders in the run fit against plus blockers, and when you’re in 11 teams have to honor that with nickel or they’re outgunned against the pass. The 2019 LSU team did this extremely well running duo as well. When you have WRs with blocking bodies, you gotta be able to use them to create conflict and live in 11 personnel as much as you can. Hell, Bech trained at TE going into his freshman year! Use it.