Tha1 Plays Decoy (Robert Jordan TD versus TN)

Posted by: Avinash on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

This weekend I went about twelve rounds with Hydrotech from the California Golden Blogs over my playcalling posts (Part I & Part II of his ripostes are here). We both had errors in our logic (I think I said USC was in a 5-2 when it was clearly a 4-2 on the Forsett TD, he said that playcalls can be considered good regardless of the result, which is a logical fallacy of some sort) and met halfway, but I think we still left disagreeing with one another about something important. Oh well, that just means more posts about it until I go utterly crazy.

To shift gears on the game film (and avoid another crazy debate for at least a week), we’ll try a more lighthearted review of tape. I was pretty serious about my USC posts, but here is something lighter from a lighter time, our glorious Tennessee victory and good ol’ reliable Robert Jordan.


Very fun call by Tedford on 3rd and goal against Tennessee with five wide receiver spread, game tied at 21–in this case, two tight ends (Morrah and Stevens lined out, Forsett far out, the two wide receivers Jackson and Jordan lined inside). Instead of aiming for the end zone though, Cal will choose the indirect route and go for some vertical misdirection.

However, there will be one pressing question after this one: What the hell was the defender thinking? Although you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ll see what I mean in a minute.


You see Jordan coming back for the catch, and it’s clear he has a tough straight road to the end zone, with two defenders right in front of him. So he has two options–cut left and reach for the corner, or cut back into the mess of the linemen.

Thankfully Robert is capable of doing the unconventional.


Now you can see the pathway being open, as indicated by the yellow arrow. The defender who rushed Longshore is too farback from Jordan, and the defenders converging in on #2 all have blockers in front of them. Robert is now able to utilize his lateral speed (a special feature of all our Cal receivers) and cut the corner.


As expected, Jordan had the vertical speed to knock past the defenders and get to the corner and turn towards the end zone. However, he still has one defender to look out for, one who has the clear path to #2, to either (1) force him toward the defenders


POW! Wait, what? That’s DeSean…

You might be thinking Jackson was trying to block and failed but if you see the video DeSean has his face turned away from the defender. Oh, and that, the defender ran head-first into DeSean. Highly confusing, but I’m not complaining.


Jordan does need one more trick to get to the end zone. LEAP!


Touchdown, and Cal does not relinquish the lead. All because DeSean took one for the team.

Again though, we see an unconventional 3rd and goal playcall. Tedford does not aim for a straight-up end zone passing call on an evident passing play, but instead goes for something interesting to change it up. As much as Tedford wanted to emphasize the power offense with speed players, when Cal managed to use its speed (like it did against the Vols), the Bears excelled.

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