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Film Study: Montgomery Brings Baylor-Style Offense to Tulsa



The Oklahoma State Cowboys will face a familiar style of offense when they play the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Thursday night. Phillip Montgomery, who was a former offensive coordinator under Art Briles, has taken the philosophy he learned at Baylor and has brought it to Tulsa. This “Veer n’ Shoot” offense, which refers to Briles’ influences when he first started using this philosophy in Texas high school football, puts a focus on a power running game and a simple-yet-efficient deep passing game. In this year’s first film study, we’ll take a basic look at Tulsa’s offensive philosophy.

Montgomery’s offense effectiveness lies in its simplicity; it’s all about where the number advantage is. Tulsa will spread teams out and attack wherever they have the advantage in numbers. The uniquely wide splits make advantages more apparent, which in turn creates easier reads for the quarterback.

The spacing effectively separates the field into three sections. If Tulsa holds a numbers advantage in one of the three sections, they will attack it specifically. Are there not enough defenders in the box to cover the run? They’ll run the ball. Are there more receivers split out wide than cornerbacks, or is your secondary playing off? They’ll attack you with screens and attached route concepts. Do you go one-high and press the receivers? They’ll test your pass coverage with a deep route tag or passing concept. The beauty of the system is that they are always prepared to do all these things with RPOs (run-pass options).

Here’s an example of a standard Tulsa play; each third of the field has a different action — one third with a bubble screen, one with a split zone and one with an isolated route. The quarterback can see if the defense lacks the numbers to properly defend in one area, and that determines where the ball is going.

This allows them to always have the advantage in numbers, whether on the ground:

Or on the perimeter:

The Golden Hurricane do a good job capitalizing on defenses who commit to the run before the snap, often using concepts that feature only one route.

They can also tag a number of routes on the single-receiver side to beat man coverage:

And they have a handful of concepts that they’ll check to against one-high looks:

Tulsa is one of the last teams to run Art Briles’ offense in its true form, although teams across college football have stolen concepts from it (including OSU). The Cowboys’ pass defense has recently struggled against this style of offense. Last year, the Cowboys gave up over 380 yards through the air against Baylor in a 35-24 loss. In 2015, the Cowboys gave up almost 400 yards through the air, even letting receiver and makeshift quarterback Chris Johnson throw for over 130 yards and two touchdowns. Although Tulsa runs the same offense, the Hurricane’s talent is inferior to the aforementioned Baylor teams from 2016 and 2015. This difference is compounded with the fact that Tulsa will have to replace both its starting quarterback and running back. Still, due to the nature of the offense and OSU’s relative inexperience at cornerback, TU will be an excellent early test for the Cowboy secondary.

How do you think OSU’s defense will perform against Tulsa? Leave your opinions below in the comments!


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