Oregon Short Yardage 4I Technique Pays Off

By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 31, 2023
FirstDown PlayBook All 22 Tuesday

We have seen our fair share of strange things on short yardage plays this season. We guess it is to be expected. With so many coaches leaning into analytics and going for it on these crucial downs, it just makes sense that we are going to see different things. Hats off to the Eagles for making it simple. Today however; we want to take an All 22 Tuesday look at how Oregon played a 4I technique and created problems for Utah this past Saturday.

Let’s set the situation up first. Utah has the ball on Oregon’s 25 yard line early in the game. It is 4th and one yard to go. Utah had just run the quarterback from the gun on 3rd down for a nice 5 or 6 yard gain. Utah decided to go for it on fourth and one. Once again, nothing unusual about that in the year 2023.

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If you were to tune into this game right at this moment, and not know the situation, you might think it was a normal down and distance play. Sure, Utah is in a Double Wing formation, but the quarterback is in the gun. Also, the offensive line is off of the ball as you will see in the video. Now I am no expert on Utah football. It may be that they never line the quarterback up under center. Still this seems odd.

The Oregon 4I Technique Was The Thing That Led To This 4th & Short Stop

The Oregon defense was playing this very conservatively on defense too. Yes, they had a 10-11 man box but it’s not like they had every gap filled at the snap to take away a short yardage play. They had a five defender back end just in case Utah was looking for more than a yard. Oregon lined up with a 6 man front vs the eight Utah players in the Double Wing.

Better Pay Attention To This As You Head Down The Stretch

It’s what Oregon did with their 4I technique defensive tackle that stood out to us. Oregon played a shaded nose to the right side and also a 4 technique. As you will see in the All 22 drawing, they played a 4I to be exact. This forced Utah’s left Guard to block down on the shade for a double team. It also made the Tackle and Tight End (An extra Lineman) work to block the 4I technique Tackle.

Click On The Video Below To Watch The Video Of Oregon’s Short Yardage Stop

Anyone who has tried to teach a Tight End and tackle double team vs a 4I knows that it is a lot harder than it looks. The double team timing and surface is just different than if the lineman is in the C gap between the blockers. Our guess is that Oregon understood this and understood that there would be two offensive linemen working together on this block. Two guys who don’t get much practice doing this together.

All 22 Tuesday: Oregon Ducks Short Yardage 4I Technique

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As you will see in the All 22 video, the 4I stunts outside and slips between the double team. The poor Wing is left on an island against a stronger athlete so he loses too. To top it off, because the quarterback is in the gun and had to wait on the other Wing to pull, the Safety to that side got penetration too.

The play gets blown up in the backfield and the ball is turned over on downs. It’s easy to be smart after a play is run and that is not our intention here. It is however our goal to point out excellent defense and technique in critical situations. This 4I fits that bill perfectly for us on this All 22 Tuesday.

Joe Cullen Defensive Line Coach Kansas City Chiefs