Film Room: Welcome Back Dexter

Welcome back to the 18 Stripes Film Room.  Dexter Williams returned to the field on Saturday and responded by slicing through the Stanford defense for a touchdown on his first carry behind a plethora of tight ends and pulling linemen.  So pull out your lunch pail because we’re talking some smash mouth football today.

The Play

The Irish line up with two tight ends to the left and two receivers to the right.  Dexter Williams sets up behind Ian Book in the pistol.

Chip Long calls a play known as GT Counter.  If you follow any X’s and O’s twitter accounts, you might recognize this as the latest “flavor of the week” play.  Oklahoma used it to pile up rushing yards last year.  This year, you’re seeing a lot teams adding quarterback reads and RPOs to it.

The idea of this play is to have one side of the line “down block” (that is, block the nearest defensive lineman away from the play) to create a wall on one side and then have the backside guard and tackle (thus the “GT” in the play’s name) kick out the remaining defenders to create a lane for the running back.  Down blocks create favorable angles for the linemen since blocking from the side is easier than going straight at someone.

On this play, Sam Mustifer blocks down on one defensive tackle while Alex Bars and Liam Eichenberg double the other tackle.  Cole Kmet works his way up to block the backside linebacker.  Alize Mack takes on DB on the outside.  Tommy Kraemer pulls around and seals the defensive end lined up over Kmet.  Robert Hainsey leads through the hole and takes on the middle linebacker.  The backside end (yellow circle) is left unblocked, so Book probably had an option to keep the ball.

(Book kept the ball three times on GT Counter option plays against Stanford.  He ran twice for a total of four yards, and tried to run a third time but ended up flipping the ball to Michael Young as defenders converged on him for a loss of three yards.)

You can start to see the lane opening up for Dexter.  The right side is sealed off.  Hainsey is sizing up the linebacker and Kmet is blocking the other linebacker.  The safety has come down to play the run but he’s too far outside to affect the play.  This will prove disastrous for Stanford when Dex hits the open field.

The wall has formed on the left side.  Kmet does an excellent job staying on his block.  Kraemer and Hainsey stone the Stanford defenders.  And it’s off to the races for Dexter.  With the safety out of the play, there’s a clear lane to the end zone.

Here’s the full play:

Final Thoughts

I don’t remember seeing this play before Saturday.  But the week prior, Oregon torched Stanford and had plenty of success running GT Counter.  This type of play fits into Chip Long’s offensive philosophy – running the ball with multiple tight ends – so it’s no surprise he installed it.

I don’t know the exact number, but Notre Dame ran this play a lot on Saturday.  Dex broke another longish run off this exact play later in the game.  The line has been pretty bad at running its standard pin-and-pull outside run this year so adding another run play to the repertoire is a good thing.  Hopefully we see more of it in the coming weeks.

Finally, how great is it to have Dexter Williams back?  I’ve always loved his speed and ability to change directions.  But I really liked seeing his ability to step through tackles and gain extra yards on Saturday.  Josh Adams was an expert in that area.  With Armstrong and Jones injured, hopefully Williams can continue to play at this high of a level.

By |2018-10-02T15:47:47+00:00October 3rd, 2018|Film Room, Football|20 Comments

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KG
KG

Great breakdown as usual, Burgs. Watching that hole develop is pure beauty.

alstein

Bars and Eichenberg destroyed their double-team so much that they were also able to shield off the supposed-to-be-unblocked DE on the other side of the line.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

Great work Burgs. I love it.

MikeyB
MikeyB

Incredible patience by Dex. It’s not a quick developing play with all of the distance that the linemen have to cover, and Dex was able to time things perfectly. Really nice job by Kmet, too, to get 3 yards downfield and put his man on his back. That’s just an all-around beautiful job.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

This is really great, burgs. Love how you mentioned this wasn’t being used, they saw it work for Oregon, installed it for themselves. And hopefully it’ll be something to carry forward. Tremendous stuff.

HolyCrossHog
HolyCrossHog

Looked like their safety misjudged his speed and took a bad angle.

Thanks for the breakdown burgs.

juicebox
juicebox

This was my favorite play to run in HS. We didn’t have this exact formation, but would have been basically the same as twins right tight 37 counter.

eyerish9299
eyerish9299

Thanks Burgs! It was great to see Dex out there again. He had a few more runs where he was 1 step away from breaking another big run.

Can you do a breakdown of his pass pro from Saturday? I saw a couple good pick ups from him, at least one where he made the block but got blown up, and I think 1 or 2 misses. Since that’s what apparently kept him off the field previously it would be nice to get a look into how he did.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I would love to see that to.

dannan14
dannan14

Yeah, i was trying to pay attention to Dex’s pass blocking. It seemed like he was still getting owned, but this time he slowed the pass rusher down enough for Book to throw where he wanted to. There were one or two plays where he looked lost trying to find someone to block, but in my completely not-even-close-to-an-expert opinion, Dex has greatly improved his pass blocking skills.

gbsk
gbsk

This was a little bit like the play Love scored on his TD when the safety blitzed and the Tree backfield was wide open.

HolyCrossHog
HolyCrossHog

Didn’t Kareem get blocked in the back on that one?

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Tremendous work (both by you, the blockers and Dex).

Only thing I noticed that went unmentioned: do you notice how fast Adebo is at the end of that play? Man, I wish he had stayed committed. If there were 5-10 more yards of field he would have chased down Dexter from behind. He’s a player.

gambit1077
gambit1077

~~~Off topic warning~~~

Former ND Hockey standout Anders Lee was just named the 15th captain in New York Islanders history. I would think this is leading shortly to him getting paid large amounts of dollars in a contract extension because it would be ridiculous for the Isles to lose a second captain to free agency in two years.