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Kansas State Football: Offensive Adjustments - Volume 1

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How Kansas State used an undersized, but blazing fast running back, to spark their comeback in Norman.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

First off, this article isn’t about the undersized, but blazing fast, running back you are expecting. I’ll try and get some stuff out on Deuce Vaughn before Saturday, but I wanted to show y’all how Courtney Messingham destroyed Alex Grinch and the OU defense with Keyon Mozee first, because it is delicious.

It may not seem like this is an “adjustment” per se, but this was Messinham’s counter to Grinch playing man across the board. In the first half, OU’s tight man coverage kept the Wildcats (with one exception) from finding space. Most catches were contested, and even when Skylar Thompson completed a pass, the receiver was dropped immediately.

The Wildcats’ brain trust adjusted at halftime and utilized Vaughn and Mozee in the passing game. Oklahoma couldn’t figure out that their linebackers were no match for K-State’s diminutive running backs in man coverage. I don’t understand how a coach getting paid 1.4 million dollars couldn’t sort things out after the first long Vaughn reception, but I’m glad he didn’t.

Pre-Snap

TV used a weird camera angle on this one (as you’ll see in the GIF) and it keeps me from showing you one important aspect of this play. The key to this play is Keyon Mozee lining up next to Skylar and then going in motion to give the Wildcats a 4 wide look.

Honestly, Alex Grinch and the Oklahoma defense got absolutely worked on this play.

If you’re unfamiliar with Keyon, the title of my article when he committed to K-State was “Keyon Mozee is a Freak Athlete.” For those of you who didn’t take the time to give me an extra click (just kidding, I don’t get paid by the click) on my old article, the important piece of information you missed is that Mozee is blazing fast. He ran a 10.58 100 yard dash in high school and has a laser timed 4.43 40 at The Opening on his resume. He was one of the fastest recruits in the nation last year. The only thing the kept him from being a 4* recruit (in my humble opinion) is his 5’7, 180 pound frame.

As soon as Grinch saw Mozee (purple circle) on the field, he should have known something was up. When he motioned out of the backfield, and #38, Bryan Mead (green square), a 6’2, 220 pound reserve linebacker followed him, Grinch or Riley needed to call a time out. As a coach, you need to put your players in a position to succeed, and Grinch and Riley hung Mead out to dry on this play. From a coaching perspective, the only potential excuse, is that Riley had already blown through two time outs in the half. At the same time, not using his final time out cost him seven points.

For all you Madden and College Football video game lovers out here. I’ve got a quick and easy tip for you. If you want to know what coverage your opponent is running, put someone in motion. If a defender follows him, you’re almost always looking at some kind of man coverage. Skylar was undoubtedly smiling behind his facemask when he saw Mead lumbering to the boundary to try and match up with Mozee, because that’s exactly what Messingham was looking for when he designed this play.

Pre-Snap 2

I can’t stress it enough, this is coaching malpractice by OU. They have a reserve linebacker locked up man to man with the fastest player on the Wildcats roster. There is no way you can expect him to do anything but get burned crispy, and he gets incinerated on this play. At the very least, they needed to make a quick adjustment and move a safety to play over the top of the match-up but they don’t even give Mead that help. I feel bad for the guy.

You Guys Want to See a Dead Body?

You’ve got to feel for Mead, because not only is he matched up against someone he has no chance to run with, but he also doesn’t know what coverage he’s running. He’s never going to win a foot race with Keyon, but he doesn’t even try because as far as I can tell, he thinks he’s play zone. The only possible explanation, is that he thinks he has safety help. That’s not the case. He’s all alone, on an island, playing the wrong coverage, matched up against the fastest player on the Kansas State roster.

Fair Catch

I don’t know what’s up with this throw, because Mozee is about as open as you can get and Skylar under throws him by a mile. Keyon has to stop, turn around and wait for Thompson’s pooch punt of a throw to land in his hands, giving the OU defender a chance to get back into the play after he was beaten by at least 20 yards. Luckily, Keyon is able to dispatch the laboring OU linebacker and continue on towards the end zone. This should be an easy touchdown, but instead, ends up with Keyon being knocked out at the 1 by an OU safety who didn’t have to stop and wait for the ball.

All’s well that ends well, but if the Wildcats don’t punch this thing into the end zone, this awful throw would get way more scrutiny. To be fair, I think Mozee may have outrun Skylar’s arm.

The Full Play, In All Its Glory

Note: I tried this several different ways, and I couldn’t fit the entire play into one gif.

Shot

Chaser