One of the more interesting plays Tennessee ran against Utah State was a play that was unsuccessful and, as a result, did not get much attention. Late in the second quarter, the Vols were starting a drive at the Aggies 45 yard line and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian dialed up a trick play to attempt to give Tennessee an easy score.
Tennessee lined up in a trey formation with the tight end in a wing position and the back on the weakside. Running back Devrin Young took the hand off from Justin Worley and ran as if it was an outside zone play to the left. Pig Howard, who is normally the split end, moved inside to the slot position for this play. Howard came backwards on a reverse action and received a pitch from Young.
Utah State is playing a 3 deep zone coverage on this play. Von Pearson, the split end, ran a vertical route to clear out his corner. On the opposite side, Marquez North ran a post route over the deep middle and drew double coverage from the corner and free safety. As Howard sold the reverse, Young ran a wheel route up the sideline.
We see here that North is doing his job of clearing out the deep defenders with his post route. The nickel back bought the reverse and is following Howard rather than covering his zone. This leaves no one to defend Young running up the field on the backside of the play.
Young is wide open deep but Howard under threw the pass and Young was unable to catch the ball.
Even though this didn’t succeed, it was a very well designed play by Bajakian and the offensive staff. The misdirection of the hand off to Young then the pitch to Howard caused the defense to overreact to the reverse. North’s deep post cleared out the corner and safety and left Young wide open on the wheel. Despite it not working right here, this is a good concept and it wouldn’t shock me if we saw this play again at some point in the future.