It is a common refrain that football is a copycat sport.
Because of this there are moments that occur — whether on Saturdays or on NFL Sundays — when you see something that you just know will be in every football team’s playbook before long. When the Wildcat started to take over on the college level, it was just a matter of time before NFL teams used the concept. When the Miami Dolphins started using their “cheat” motion this season, it did not take long for teams to follow suit.
With that in mind, expect to see this concept from USC spread around the game in due order:
Facing a 2nd and 7, USC quarterback Caleb Williams takes the shotgun snap and hands off to slot receiver Zachariah Branch, on what looks to be an end around to the left side. However Branch soon reverses field, before pitching the ball back to Williams, who has retreated deeper into the pocket.
Meanwhile, none of the offensive linemen break downfield, which is critical for what happens next.
Because as this is happening wide receiver Tahj Washington, who was initially blocking downfield on the play, disengages from the defender he is blocking and streaks downfield, along the sideline. Washington’s defense completely bites, crashing downhill in response to Branch and his run action.
A wide-open touchdown for the Trojans.
And a play that might be in every football team’s playbook by next weekend.