Controlling the Defense with the Oscar Play
The heart of creating an effective offense is the ability to create a system that allows you to do what you want to do and punish the defense when they react to it. In a Spread to Run System this often means that as a play caller you will change the play at the line so you can guarantee that you are in the best play given the defense. The counter for the defense is to change their play when you go to change your play. The way to limit the defense’s ability to do this is by using the Oscar Play to punish them.
Controlling the Defense with the Oscar Play- The Breakdown
One of the most common sights in modern football is when the offense and defense are both lined up at the line of scrimmage looking towards the sideline for a new play. This has become so much of a staple that coordinators have to expect that the defense will be changing their play, what we call checking the check. As a result the offensive coordinator has to play a game of is the defensive coordinator going to check the check or is he going to keep his base play because he thinks the offensive play caller is going to assume the defense will not be changing their call.
As you can see this becomes a giant guessing game which takes away the whole advantage of running from the Spread and calling the play at the line. The solution that we came up with, mainly to stop my head from exploding during the game, is to run the Oscar play.
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The Oscar play is very simple and only takes a few minutes to install but it can get you an important first down and also calm the defense down on their checks. The whole premise of the play is that the offense will be acting like it is looking towards the sideline, so the defense looks to the sideline for a new play. While the defense is looking to the sideline the ball will be snapped directly to the Running Back and he will run Inside Zone.
There are a few key mechanics that the Quarterback needs to go through. First, he needs to tell the offensive line that we are going to be running Oscar. Once he does this, he needs to act like he doesn’t have the play call and take a few steps to clear the path for the snap. These steps need to be backwards so that there is no confusion on if he is in motion towards the line of scrimmage during the snap.
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Oscar is a great play not because it can get the offense an important first down. It is also a great play because it introduces an element of surprise to the defense and the defensive play caller. They can no longer sit back, rest and come up with a new play while the offense is checking their play.