There is no question that Jamaal Williams and the offensive line stole the show last Friday night against Toledo as they put up record numbers in the running game. In looking back over the film we can give equal amounts of credit to the offensive line and their ability to open up holes and to Jamaal for making explosive plays in the open field. This week we’ll take a look at one such play (a 48-yard TD run by Jamaal) that shows us exactly how everyone helped put on a great offensive effort.
Before we break it down, let’s take a look at the play in real time.
Starting off we see that BYU is in a basic offensive set with a tight end on the near side of the field and two wide receivers off to the far side. In the backfield, Taysom is lined up under center with Jamaal lined up straight back and Algie Brown shading the outside shoulder of the tight end. This is only the second offensive play of the second half with the first being a nice play-action pass completed to Algie for a 24 yard gain. It was imperative for BYU to connect on a play through the air to keep the defense honest.
On the defensive side of the ball, Toledo counters with their traditional 3-4 look, with three down lineman and four linebackers. Similar to what BYU ran in years previous, the outside linebackers are set up on the line of scrimmage. In the secondary, a cornerback and safety are lined up over of Trinnaman and Kurtz on the far side with a safety over top. On the near side a cornerback shades over the tight end. There isn’t any pre-snap motion so it reads as if they are playing this one straight up.
In this next shot, we see that Taysom is dropping back to hand the ball off to Jamaal on the near side of the field and the offensive line is setting up a zone run block. What this means is that all of the offensive linemen will down block in one specific direction, creating a wall. One player (either a fullback or offensive lineman) will go in the opposite direction to clear out the defensive end or outside linebacker to create a cutback lane for the running back. This scheme gets the entire defense running in a certain direction and with some quality blocking the offense can use that directional momentum against the defense to clear a hole for the running back.
To break it down further, we can see here in yellow we have the offensive line setting up their zone block. They have all stepped to their left and blocked off the first defender in that vicinity. The BYU line didn’t get a big push off the ball but they all have position. A very important block in this play come via Tejan Koroma who is moving to the next level to seal off the middle linebacker. Both Toledo linebackers took big steps toward the nearside, making Tejan’s block that much easier.
In the red circle, we see Thomas Shoaf has the assignment to kick out the defensive end to clear the cutback lane. The hole isn’t as pronounced just yet but as Jamaal continues towards the line and baits the defense it will get more pronounced. We should also note Nick Kurtz (circled in blue) who has engaged the defensive back. It’s not easy to block out there on an island but Nick does a good job getting some initial contact.
In the next image, we see that Jamaal has started to cut back to the far side of the field and the offensive line has created a perfect seal (highlighted by the red line). Thanks to some great blocks, seven of the Toledo defenders have been neutralized on this play. We can also see that Shoaf has moved off of his block of #33 and started to head hunt in the secondary. It might have been advantageous for Thomas to stick to his block a second longer so that the outside linebacker doesn’t make a play but with #33 moving so far up field he pretty much has taken himself out of the play as well.
With the offensive line giving Jamaal a great hole and a big lead blocker going into the secondary, it is clear this is going to be a big gain. We’ve seen the offensive line do their work, now we get to see Jamaal show off his skills.
Jamaal blows past #33 (who doesn’t even get a hand on him) and starts to turn on the jets. In the secondary, there are three players that could potentially make a play on Jamaal, with #3 being the most likely candidate. The bad news for the safety is that Jamaal has Shoaf leading the way and thanks to a great block from Tejan, the whole near side of the field is clear for him to gain more separation from the defense.
There is no question that Jamaal is an elite running back at the college level but there are some national pundits who claim that he doesn’t have the breakaway speed that most great running backs possess. If any NFL scout has the same thought, they better watch this play because Jamaal just torches the entire defense.
In this next shot, we see that Jamaal has made his way 10 yards up field and has started to outrun the secondary. The defensive back who was in good position to make a play is basically a non-factor. Shoaf barely gets a hand on #3 but even if he didn’t Jamaal was flying so fast that we still would have gone untouched. If you watch the clip again in real time, Jamaal actually outruns the block from Thomas. He could have hesitated and wait for his big fella but he trusted that his speed would get the job done.
We don’t really need to go deep into any analysis on this last shot. Jamaal is fast. Thomas Shoaf is celebrating because he ran a really long way and they’re going to score. Look how happy the big fella is!
We shouldn’t forget Jonah Trinnaman. He didn’t give up on the play and ran down the field until the very end of the play to try and stick a block on #2. He also was smart and didn’t throw a dumb block in the back (kind of like he did against Arizona).
All around this was a great play, all the way from the design right down to the celebration in the end zone by Jamaal. With execution like this, Jamaal should break the BYU career rushing record in no time.