Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Dao of Executing an Unorthodox (Surprise) Play (2)

"Victory has a thousand fathers; but defeat is an orphan." - JFK

In a near-predictable competitive terrain, surprising the competitor can be a challenging task.

Objective: Subjugate the Competition's Intention

Situation: 4th Quarter, Saints 24 Niners 23. 2:18 left , 3rd down and seven yards, the Niners had the ball on the Saints 28 yard line

Step1: Assess the Big Tangible Picture by focusing on knowing the competitor's tendencies

Based on the tendencies of previous games and the current game observations, Greg Roman, the S.F Niners offensive coordinator called a play (“QB Whack.”) from the Shotgun formation. It was designed to beat a defense that overloads on one side of the defensive formation. To most amateurs, they believed that Roman's job was to pick the right side.

What Coach Roman did not disclose to the news media was that he saw many tendencies within the defense at a certain situation. By looking at the videos and the stats, Roman knew that Gregg Williams, the defensive play caller had a tendency of calling a blitz play during an absolute pass situation. Coach Williams also had a tendency of targeting the competitor's key strength and then forcing the QB to do things that he is not proficient at.

Step 2a: Position the competition toward a grand illusion by creating a bait and lure situation
By looking at the above video, the Niners offense presented the disposition of passing. The QB was five yards back from the line of scrimmage and no one was positioned in the backfield. Everyone on the defensive side were thinking "the pass" play was on.
Step 2b: Deceive the competitor from the trenches
Goodwin's instructed to the offensive line that suggested a passing play. The Saints countered by blitzing from the right side of the offensive line and Smith ran to the left side of the field.
Step 3: Influence the competition by implementing mismatching secondary situations
When the ball was hiked, Smith took the ball and ran to the non-blitzing side of the field. Kyle Williams, the wide receiver who was in motion, delivered the first key block – crashing down from the slot position on the left side to level Saints defensive end Will Smith. Then Joe Staley, the left tackle pulled from his position, sprinted downfield and neutralized Isa Abdul-Quddus, the Saints safety with a textbook cut block at the 10-yard line to ensure the touchdown.

Step 4: Know the score and the situation
After the Niners scored, there was 2 min and 11 sec left to the game. The Saints quickly scored and took the lead.

Step 5: Return to step 1 to step 4 until the game is over
The Niners adjusted to the situation and re-scored again with fourteen seconds left in the game.

The Saints defense went with a zone coverage, thinking that the next play was a run or the possibility of a short and outside pass. The Niners braintrust called a pass play that gave the image of a run. The key intent of this specific play was targeted on the tendency of the Saints safety. One should not be surprised that the Niners knew that he had an ankle injury from the week before.

The Final Score: San Francisco Niners 36 New Orleans Saints 32

One should always remember that the configuration of a successful situation is a composite of many elements, especially if the situation can be quite complex.

Compass Rule: Always assess, position and influence.

(More to come)

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