A few weeks ago while watching the first play in overtime of the Alabama versus LSU game I had to laugh. Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin dialed up a tackle eligible trick play that worked to perfection. The idea was great, the humorous part to me was that it was a play that I’m very familiar with, having seen it run successfully multiple times at the high school level the last couple of years.
First I’ll breakdown the Alabama version of the play. In all three examples the one element that remains constant is that the tackle eligible will be run on the first play of a possession. This helps add to the deception as the the opposing teams coaching staff won’t have an opportunity to sniff out the trick play by personnel. Alabama took it a step further by utilizing a backup offensive lineman who was wearing an eligible number (#89) and using an up tempo huddle, which oddly enough is an offensive staple of arch rival Auburn.
As Alabama breaks the huddle and shifts quickly, it looks like they are lined up in an empty set, which shouldn’t be a problem for the LSU defense, except that it is not a typical empty set. The right tackle is split out wide, he is still on the line of scrimmage and covered up by the split-end, so he is ineligible. The backup offensive lineman (#89) is lined up at left tackle, he is the end man on the line of scrimmage and is not covered up, so he is eligible.