Film Look: Three Things to Watch for From the K-State Offense

first_imgThe 24th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats head to Stillwater this Saturday boasting a 3-0 record which includes a nice nonconference win a couple of weeks ago against Mississippi State.KSU is off to an impressive start under first-year head coach Chris Klieman, who took over for the legendary Bill Snyder this past offseason. Before landing in Manhattan, Klieman had a long stint at North Dakota State (2011-18) serving first as the defensive backs coach, the defensive coordinator and then the head coach. In Klieman’s five seasons as head man, he recorded a 69-6 record and won four FCS National Championships.An incredible coaching resume is not all Klieman brought with him from NDSU, he also brought along his offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham. The former Bison OC broke multiple school and conference records during his two-year tenure, including most points scored, most touchdowns scored, total offense and rushing touchdowns.Now, Messingham’s offense has a lot of similarities to that of Snyder-led teams of recent years. He likes to get his power running game going, and then once you’re expecting run, he will hit you with play action. In addition, he utilizes RPOs and isn’t afraid to get the quarterback involved in the running game. One thing you’ll notice about Messingham’s offense is he often has the quarterback under center and he loves to have a fullback lined up in the backfield.For this post, I will cover my three key takeaways from KSU’s offense and give you a glimpse of what you might see on Saturday night in Boone Pickens Stadium.PowerPower is a run play that OSU fans are familiar with as it’s been a staple of the offense this season as well as during the Yurich tenure. Power normally involves a lineman pulling around to the play side to lead block through the hole. Messingham and the Wildcats love to run Power, specifically A-Gap Power, see the blocking scheme below. In the following clips, you’ll see two more play action concepts the Wildcats like to run. I’ve also seen Messingham utilize H-Counter and a couple of other variations of pulling linemen running plays. This keeps the defense guessing and creates different attack points for the offense, it also pairs well with the inside attack point of A-Gap Power. OSU defensive players like Amen Ogbongbemiga, Kolby Harvell-Peel, Malcolm Rodriguez, and others will have to be quick to the ball and avoid getting blocked by these big lineman attacking the second and third levels of the defense.Play Action Passing GameAs I mentioned above, Messingham likes to set teams up with his power running game and then catch them guessing with play action passes. One in particular play that he brought with him, that NSDU was running with current Philadelphia Eagle QB Carson Wentz before Messingham got there, is shown in the clip below from Ross Uglem. In addition to running back Power, the K-State teams of years past would also dial up Power with the quarterback. We haven’t seen KSU quarterback Skylar Thompson run the ball a lot this season, but he’s found success keeping it himself against past Cowboy defenses. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a little of this on Saturday. With the struggles the Cowboy defensive line has had stopping the run this season, it’s a little worrisome that KSU runs this play often and effectively. How will Jim Knowles defend the inside running game? The Pokes primarily base out of a three down linemen defense now, so will he bring the LBs up close to the line of scrimmage? Or, will he bring a safety down further into the box? It will definitely be an interesting chess match between Knowles and Messingham.Pulling Linemen to the PerimeterAlong with Power, I noticed a heavy utilization of pulling linemen to attack the perimeter in Messingham’s rushing attack. In the first clip below you see the center and the playside guard pull around the edge. Cowboy defenders will have to be disciplined in Stillwater this weekend and they can’t get caught looking with their eyes in the backfield, letting a man get behind them. If they do, it could be a long night for Jim Knowles.center_img Next, you’ll see the playside guard pull and attack a much smaller defender, creating a lane for the Wildcat running back. 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. The tight end releases off the line and heads up the seam as Wentz fakes to the running back and hits the TE for a touchdown. Below you see K-State run something similar, although it doesn’t turn out so well. Ross Uglem of Bison Report explains in it more detail below and then the following video shows this play.The basic difference in the way that most teams run power and that way that NDSU does it is the shuffle pull from the pulling guard to keep his shoulders square to the hole.  Usually, a pulling guard will open up and run square to the sideline executing a “kick out” block a defensive end or outside linebacker. [GoPowerCat.com]Messingham and the Wildcats try to wear down teams by running this play over and over again throughout the course of a game. I saw them do it plenty of times against the Bulldogs, like in the example below.last_img

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