Brian Kelly’s big run & touchdown pass play
Editor’s Note: Coach & Athletic Director interviewed Brian Kelly weeks prior to him taking the Notre Dame head-coaching job. At the time, Kelly was leading the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats and discussed the importance of having a running attack to complement a high-octane passing game, as well as why having multiple options at quarterback can play in your favor.
Leading 21-14 with a little more than five minutes left in its game against West Virginia, the Bearcats picked up a huge 43-yard run from running back Isaiah Pead to set up a field goal to give Cincinnati a two-possession lead.Known for its passing attack, Cincinnati opted for a run from the shotgun at its own 24-yard line to start its drive after stopping West Virginia on a fourth-and-8 play. Most of the credit goes to Pead for outrunning the defense’s containment.
DIAGRAM: Game-changing 43-yard run. From the shotgun, the tight end goes in motion from the weak side to the strong side. On the snap, the quarterback hands off to the running back (Pead) as the line blocks their assignments away from the action. The strong-side safety, linebacker and defensive end all are in pursuit of Pead. Pead shifts direction, cuts in front of the pursuing defensive tackle and cuts across the field. The weak-side safety and defensive back over-pursue and Pead breaks the run 43 yards in the opposite direction of where it started.
The run set up a field goal to give Cincinnati a 24-14 lead and led to the Bearcats’ 24-21 victory.
On Cincinnati’s first possession against West Virginia on Nov. 13, 2009, the Bearcats drove the ball to the Mountaineers’ 10-yard line. Starting quarterback, Zach Collaros, came out of the game and Tony Pike entered. Pike had started the season as Cincinnati’s top quarterback but a non-throwing-arm injury four weeks earlier opened the door for Collaros. Now, Pike was healthy enough to play, and Bearcats’ head coach used him…and his size…to his advantage.
Collaros, who stands six feet tall, has an accurate arm and deadly legs. Pike, who is 6-foot-6, is the more traditional, drop-back passer. Ten yards from the end zone, Kelly opted for the much taller Pike to run the following play.
DIAGRAM: 10-yard touchdown pass. Starting in a shotgun, Pike receives the snap and all four receivers run routes into the end zone. As they reach the goal line, the outside receivers on both sides cut inside while the inside receivers sit on their route, then sprint out. This criss-cross action confuses the secondary enough to allow receiver Armon Binns to gain separation from his defender and break free in the middle of the field.
Pike, using his height to see over the middle of the field, hits Binns in stride for a 10-yard touchdown. Cincinnati eventually won the game to remain undefeated, 24-21.