TX’s & O’s | Buechele, ACTS, & Empty

Last week we discussed how a receiving threat like Brennan Eagles effects the pass game. Unfortunately, Eagles will not be on the team until 2018. No worries, the Texas offense happens to be loaded at wide receiver and the receiving corps only stands to improve once the 2018 class is signed. In this post you’ll see the same concepts out of Empty, but this time, it’s about Shane and what it’ll take for the Texas offense to take flight this year. Time waits for no man. Also note, I’ll be utilizing Dan Gonzalez’ ACTS system to contextualize the ideas behind the concepts.

Now, I don’t know exactly how Tom Herman and Tim Beck coach quarterbacks and their reads, but I hope it’s very similar to ACTS. Why? It’s simple, so simple a 5th grader can learn it and be taken through an install. Just ask Dan, he uses the same system when he consults youth and college football passing games. It’s simply better software and one can even go so far as to say, ‘app-based’. You can learn more reading Dan’s work, especially Recoded and Reloaded: An Updated Structure For A Complete Passing Game. After scouring pass game systems and texts for a couple years, I always came back to Dan’s book. As an outsider looking in, I found it to be the easiest system to learn, all the while allowing for the same amount of complexity. What I’ll share with you is the gist and my understanding and I challenge you to read his books should you wish to improve your understanding of the modern passing game.

ACTS is an acronym for Advantage, Concept, Third Fix, and Scramble.

– Advantage: refers to a route or read the quarterback makes before or during his drop. Examples include safety alignment, middle linebacker post-snap movment, and vertical routes like sideline or seam verticals or posts and corner routes meant to quickly reveal the coverage’s hand.

-Concept: refers to the read the quarterback makes immediately after the drop (think 3-step or 5-step, etc.), usually a hi-low, inside-out, or outside-in read. This usually entails a vertical or horizontal stretch in a certain zone of coverage.

-Third Fix: self-explanatory and important to note that each letter is progressed to via the QB’s eyes and feet. Imagine, planting at end of drop, throw ‘A’, move eyes to ‘C’ while settling, step up, move eyes to ‘T’ step up, then…

-Scramble: if and when ‘ACT’ are not available, execute the scramble drill and all that entails. It could mean keep eyes downfield while leaving the pocket, run for your life, or throw the ball away. Note though, that scramble drills typically entail all outcomes in practice.

With all that said, what does this mean for Shane Buechele. If you read my post about where the young QB can improve, you may be able to guess, the ‘C & T’. As mentioned in the Eagles post, Shane’s environment matters just as much as Shane and I’d strongly argue, if you can’t get one or two of Collin Johnson, Devin Duvernay, John Burt, Armanti Foreman, Jerrod Heard, Dorian Leonard, Lorenzo Joe, the list goes on. If you can’t get one of those guys open, what are you doing, give the call sheet away, you’re done. Now, as also mentioned in the Eagles post, Herman will opt to go ‘Empty’ in order to create space, match-ups, and even threaten to run the QB, though you suspect it’d be more rare with Buechele back there. What that means is, you have to be able to pass a bit more out of these sets and with a couple different add-ons.

-TE: if a TE stays both effective and healthy, he creates perimeter issues for the defense.

-RB: a pass-catching RB would be great! Does Texas have one that can catch more than a swing pass?

Okay, to the nuts and bolts and the pattern below. ‘A’ is the post route, if it’s open on depth and alignment of the safety, plant at the end of drop and throw it! Think John Burt or Devin Duvernay here. Now, you see the corner and field safety? One of those guys must follow ‘Z’. If the corner stays deep with Z, it’s not open, but the ‘Concept’ may be, moves eyes and step up to ‘C’. Now think of the quandary the Sam/Nickel and the field safety are in. That corner route can force the safety to turn his hips quick and when that happens, dude is open! Say Sam and the field safety are PJ Locke and Brandon Jones and they got it covered, move eyes to ‘T’ and step up. Do you get it yet? The problem for QB’s is the speed of the game and you don’t want them thinking too much, if at all!

Above, the back motions in for pass-protection.  Also note, the backside receiver has leverage inside the corner and works up against the boundary safety. This route, he options at the top. Again, many options and the QB must work through them, eyes first, feet follow.

Moving on, you’re now more familiar with the system, peak at the diabolical patter below from true Empty. This time, you have 2 higher safeties in what looks like a longer yardage scenario. ‘A’ is now a lookoff and ‘C’ is Fort, run a 4 and takeoff! Dan makes this so easy. What is the QB looking off? Perhaps it’s the pesky safety over the corner route. Then, ‘T’ is the wicked shake route by A. If you have an explosive threat at Y and a slippery A, this concept can be deadly as both routes seek to gain space against an incredibly conflicted middle linebacker, sucks for him!

There’s a lot more to Dan’s system and he updates it about as often as Apple. The components of the system are the apps and yes, there’s an app for that. The hope is, the Texas staff’s system is as simple as Dan’s, coupled with all the nifty ‘tricks’ used to get receivers open. Shane is an amazing passer, he deserves to have a system serve him. The guy is tough and loves to compete as evidenced last season. The challenge for Tim Beck is synching Shane’s eyes, feet, and that glorious arm. Air it out.