Florida State Red Zone Pass Is Chess

By FirstDown PlayBook on Sep 26, 2023
FirstDown PlayBook All 22 Tuesday

Every now and then we come across a football play that we draw up for our All 22 Tuesday section that stands out even more than usual. All 22 plays like this not only display great execution by the offense, defense or special teams units we are featuring. Plays like the one we are featuring this week are masterful in their design. This week’s Florida State red zone pass off of a screen look against Clemson falls into that category.

When you look at this play it becomes apparent that Clemson was playing checkers and the Seminoles were playing chess. When we say this we are not demeaning the Clemson coaches at all. It’s just that this Florida State scheme was built on it looking like several other plays, mainly a screen.

Cowboys Red Zone Rub Is Money

If you just look at the numbers, this play is well defended. The Tigers have two defenders over the single receiver denying the fade or slant route. They even have four defenders over three to the strong side. This is either a three or a four man quarterback rush but either way, Clemson has a linebacker in the hook zone throwing lane too.

Now full disclosure, I had to run this play back multiple times to digest just what had happened on this play. Imagine what it was like for the Clemson defenders seeing it in real time with game speed in a crucial situation. Was it a hitch screen? If so, who was it to? Number 1 or Number 2? Maybe it was a jailbreak to number 2?

The FSU Coaches Played Chess & Were 2 Moves Ahead On This Red Zone Pass

As we all know now it was all window dressing that allowed them to get two seam runners in the tight red zone. Once the Florida State receiver fought across the face of #17 for Clemson there was no one there. The Florida State coaches knew they had to get a player across the face of the Clemson LB who was walling off number three. This is something that is practiced in 7on7 every day.

They accomplished this by being two moves ahead of the Clemson defense. This scheme made it look like a screen to the Clemson defenders. What do you do to when you see a screen? You attack the screen and when the Clemson wall player did that he allowed the seam player to cross his face.

Not only this happened but the inside linebacker was frozen by the action and did not get any depth in the hook/curl lane. The result was an uncontested red zone seam ball and those are hard to come by. Tap on the play below to watch video of the actual play.

Florida State Fake Screen Red Zone Pass Touchdown
Tally Adams