Film Study: Lincoln Riley Is The The Sooners’ Secret Weapon

first_imgThe Oklahoma Sooners have one of the most explosive offenses in all of college football. Through 11 games, OU is tied for first in the nation in points per game at 45.3. And behind all the success is second-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.Riley, who comes from the air raid coaching tree of Mike Leach (and, by association, Hal Mumme), is one of the brightest young offensive minds in the FBS. Riley still runs all the staples of the air raid, but he has thrown in a number of additional wrinkles and concepts to make it his own.Riley often uses misdirection alongside his concepts, especially in the screen game. He’ll frequently pair it with other series, like the outside zone:fk_oz_tunnelOr jet motion:pa_jet_tunnelHe also uses a number of gadgets. In his time with the Sooners, Riley has frequently dialed up creative trick plays, like this halfback pass against Kansas State:ctr_hb_passOr this creative waggle pass to an eligible receiver aligned at right tackle in last year’s game against Clemson:y_over_back_viewFinally, Riley has a lot of talent at his disposal and he knows how to use it. He frequently uses a split backfield to harness the talents of both Joe Mixon and Semanje Perine:split_trey_ctr_tripleAnd many of his RPOs (run-pass options) utilize Baker Mayfield’s feet:swing_qb_trey_keepWhen it comes to the true passing game, Mayfield is the best when he’s on the move, and a good amount of the Sooners’ passing game is in their bootleg or waggle series.Riley is unique in the way that he uses multiple passing plays with his bootlegs. Most teams just pair their boot passes with a flood to the boot side — the standard bootleg pattern. And while OU does that, Riley uses a number of other patterns to attack different spots on the field.He uses the smash pattern to attack the perimeter:boot_smashCrossers to attack the deep corner:boot_crossersAnd even a slot divide/split route in the middle of the field to capitalize on a defense that flows too much to the boot side:boot_sl_divideThe Sooners have plenty of talent, but Riley is the mind that makes everything go. Facing a good offensive coordinator is tough because you can’t scout for weaknesses like you can with a player. So why is this important?Well, if you look at the recent history of Bedlam, strategy has often been the difference maker (2010 with OU’s bear front, 2011 with OSU’s speed sweep wrinkle, 2012 with Belldozer, etc.) We know that Riley & Co. will have a quality game plan for Bedlam. The question is, will the Cowboys? While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img