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Film Study: Yurcich & Co. Can Learn from Panther Offense



With the acquisition of former North Carolina State offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the Pittsburgh Panther offense has become a whole lot more interesting. Many think that pro-style offenses are boring to watch. But Canada uses both series play-calling and creativity to make one of the most fun pro-style offenses in college football.

Oklahoma State doesn’t consistently use a lot of wrinkles and packages — at least not to the extent of Canada. Canada is excellent at taking one wrinkle or look and building an entire package off of it. Against Penn State, for example, he took the fly sweep and used that same look about five or six plays on any given drive.


Canada used a fly sweep-inside zone combo as his base play against the Nittany Lions. The play itself does two things. First of all, it gives the quarterback two options to where the ball could go. If he has a favorable box, he can hand the ball off on the inside zone.


And if he sees that the offense has leverage on the perimeter, he can hand the ball off on the speed sweep.


The play is blocked the same either way, with the line blocking inside zone and the tight ends blocking for the speed sweep. The strong-side defensive end is purposefully left unblocked with the thought that he could not make the tackle regardless of who gets the ball.

The second thing that this play helps with is that it sets up for other counter-plays in the offense. As aforementioned, the Cowboy offense doesn’t use enough sequence play-calling. By using plays that have similar actions, it keeps the defense off-balanced and gives the offense chances for big plays. The inside zone/speed sweep combo, for example, opens up the opportunity for its own speed sweep series. This play sets up for play action off the same look, like this.


And this.


Another thing that Canada implements that the Cowboys don’t implement enough is creativity. Take this unique wrinkle he showed against the Lions, for example.


Canada combined a shovel option with a three-man spot concept. The quarterback has both a pre and post-snap read. The inside slot receiver motions there from the other side. If there are favorable numbers in the box, he goes to the shovel option (where he reads play-side defensive end).


If there are favorable numbers on the perimeter, the quarterback rolls out and passes to the open receiver, which is usually the flat route.


In conclusion, Canada uses both creativity and strategic play-calling to give the Panthers’ offense an optimal chance for success. The Cowboys’ execution and play-calling against Central Michigan was bland at best. When it comes to strategy, we know that Coach Canada will have Pittsburgh ready; let’s hope the Cowboys are, too.

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