An Explanation of Why Mason Rudolph is Running the Football So Often

[USATSI]
Written by Kyle Porter

Through five games in 2017 Mason Rudolph has 60 rushing yards which is 1 yard off his career high in a season of 61 set last year. He had 50 yards alone against Texas Tech two weeks ago, which made Cowboy fans across the nation cringe as he tucked the rock and took off a career-high 11 times (or 9 more than J.D. King).

Mike Gundy explained why this happened earlier this week.

“If you run your quarterback you get a half a man advantage. If you RPO with your quarterback, you almost get a full man advantage. Defense all has gaps, and there’s enough people to cover every gap. The backside player … has to collapse down, and he’s the cutback guy.”

Watch No. 9 in this GIF below. He’s the backside guy Gundy is talking about, and he’s chasing Justice from behind. Mason keeps it to keep him honest. Look at Gundy teaching us football in his press conferences!

“We don’t like to do it a lot,” added Gundy. “We want to protect Mason as much as possible. There are times when he has to do it if we’re going to get chased down from the backside.

“When you’re sitting up here (in the press box) … and you see us getting run down from the backside, you can tell whoever you’re with, ‘they’re probably going to have Mason keep it really soon’ and everybody will think ‘damn, that guy’s pretty smart, I thought he was just a sportswriter.’ That’s really how it happens. Pretty simple.”

It worked a lot against Tech, and you know a disrespected Rudolph loves showing off his wheels. Hopefully the film will keep future teams honest, and OSU won’t actually have to rush Rudolph as much in upcoming games, but for Gundy and Mike Yurcich, it’s nice to know they have the option.

  • Andrew G

    I love #5 who gets pushed 10 yards down the field by Ateman and comes out beating his chest. Tough guy, I’m sure.

    • Tayvl

      It was like “Hah! I kept you busy so you couldn’t block anyone else, suckah!”

  • Luke Coffey

    I would love to see some Wudtee RPO in the red zone…

    • KCOC10

      Are you meaning like a JW Walsh or Blake Bell package? The P part of RPO only works when there actually is a threat of a pass. Otherwise you are basically just running wildcat and at that point I’d prefer to keep Rudolph in and run the ball with JD. That keeps the threat of a pass still there.

      • Luke Coffey

        More of a JDub type package. But you’re right on Wudtee’s inexperience throwing the ball. Be a nice wrinkle though.

  • TeaTown Cowboy

    I don’t remember us keeping TCU’s defense honest…

    • Al Bounds

      We didn’t. But of course we had to plug in the entire Right side of our O-line due to injuries. If you remember the right side TCU DE was in our backfield more than we were.