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Kansas State Football: The Angle Route That Didn’t Angle

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Kansas v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Hey y’all, I’ve been dealing with some health issues the last few weeks and haven’t been able to put the time into Bring on the Cats that I want (or pretty much anything else for that matter). I’m feeling somewhat better today and have a workable plan going forward. I was looking forward to breaking down the Sunflower Showdown in all its Jayhawk-throttling glory, but it’s been rough sledding.

Kansas, to put it mildly, is not good at football. What they lack in ability they made up for with a level of execution I can only describe as “intoxicated toddler” and the hustle of a sedated sloth. Like seriously, it wasn’t even enjoyable to watch — but fear not reader, I persevered and found a few plays I found, if nothing else, amusing.

This first play I found particularly fun because the Kansas player does his best to follow the scouting report.

The Angle Route with No Angle

I’ve fallen in love with the angle route this year. Not only is it an unstoppable play in Madden, but it’s the Wildcats new go to play with Deuce Vaughn. It appears that Les Miles and company have been scouting my articles, because buddy, they were ready for the angle route.

Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, sometimes coaches do this thing called “breaking tendency” and that’s exactly what Courtney Messingham did on this first down play in the first quarter.

Let’s go to the film.

Pre Snap

There are several things going on in this play, and Will Howard didn’t lack for options, but Deuce is the primary target, and everything revolves around getting him open.

The first thing I want to point out is that K-State isn’t a team you normally associate with a 5-wide look, but this is, in essence, a 5-wide look. Briley Moore and Deuce Vaughn are running wide receiver routes from the tight end and running back position.

This is what happens when the air raid hits the Flint Hills (I’ve conveniently circled all the receiving options for you).

Messingham is, dare I say... messing with the heads of a few defenders on this play, but his main target is the KU linebacker I have in the blue box. I’m not sure what Denzel Feaster did to Coach Messingham, but this play is cruel. It’s main focus is to not only get Feaster matched up with the most electric freshman in the nation, but to also put his brain in a blender.

I’m sure Feaster has seen Deuce run the angle route out of the backfield a million times (or maybe not, because I’m not sure Kansas practices based on the film but he’s at least seen it once) because he’s sitting on the inside. He’s not going to let Vaughn run that pesky angle route for a first down on this play.

OK Here It Comes!

Ok, so most of the stuff going on in this play is window dressing. Howard, as you can see, is making no effort to look anyone off. He’s staring a hole through Deuce (probably should work on that, but it might be beneficial on this play). Vaughn is the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd option on this play.

Malik Knowles (red circle) plays an important role in this play. He’s tasked with pulling the deep safety to the middle of the field to open the right side up for Deuce, and he executes his task perfectly.

At this point, the Kansas linebacker is probably excited. This is what he’s seen on tape. He might even have visions of a pick-6 because he’s sitting on the angle route. He’s not going to let Deuce cut across his face.

Unfortunately for Mr. Feaster, Deuce has no intention of running the angle route Feaster’s studied on film.

He Just Keeps Going

Right about now, the Jayhawk linebacker realizes that he’s made a terrible mistake. He was waiting patiently for the angle route, envisioning a pat on the back, and his coach commending his disciplined approach. Instead, he now finds himself in a footrace with Deuce Vaughn. Deuce has a five yard head start, and is running full speed. He isn’t moving. This isn’t a fair fight.

To make matters worse for the Jayhawks, Malik has succeeded in pulling the safety to the middle of the field. Not only is Feaster in a footrace with Deuce, he doesn’t have any help. That’s got to be a lonely feeling.

Saved By a Bad Throw

I understand what Will Howard is doing on this play. He’s looking for a first down and Vaughn is wide open. The only way this doesn’t go for a first down is if he over throws him. At the same time, this is a touchdown if he lays it out into the purple target and lets Deuce catch this on the run. He decides on the safe throw (I’m giving Will the benefit of the doubt on this one) and puts the ball on Deuces body, making him turn all the way around to make the catch.

First Down and More

Please Will, I’m begging you, anywhere in the target and this is a 60 yard touchdown for Vaughn.

Sigh...Deuce has to turn all the way around and wait for the ball, giving the KU safety a head start and the angle to run him down.

NOOOOOOOOO Deuce only needs one more step to get down the sidelines but he probably lost three waiting for the pass. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a 38 yard gain on 3rd and 8 every day of the week, but this play deserved a touchdown.

Let It Play

Sigh...this angle is even more disappointing, but Howard will get this ironed out and hit it in a game where seven points might actually matter.