Football fans, especially Kentucky, fans especially love to question coaches play-calling. Like most other forms of complaint, this magnifies when a team struggles to score points or win games. And rightfully so. There is nothing wrong with some Monday morning quarterbacking or coaching if you will, as long as you know what you are talking about.
The Joker Phillips/Randy Sanders combination has been running Kentucky’s offense for nearly a decade and fans have gotten used to seeing their conservative pro-style offense on the field. The scheme has evolved from time to time but the basic principles are still there. And while fans complained about the screen game, despite it being effective during the good years and ineffective like everything else during the bad, there has always been one word that Kentucky fans love bring up when they want to complain. That word is Draw.
This piece isn’t intended to shame fans who complain about Kentucky’s offense or even discourage them. It is a fan’s right to complain about plays that don’t work. Though frankly, UK fans will find fault with something to complain about with the current regime, even if they put up 70 points. The point today is to educate people that maybe don’t really know much about football but like to act like they do or actually believe they do (we all know the BBN, and any fanbase, has plenty of these). This is a guide to help you avoid looking like a moron when talking (complaining) football.
Believe it or not, every running play UK runs is not a draw. The Kentucky offense actually employs the zone-read most frequently with Jalen Whitlow running the show. They also use sweeps, options, off-tackle and pitch runs. Yes the draw has been in use this season, but it isn’t the most common running play.
A draw play is defined as “The draw appears to be a passing play, but is actually a running play; in this way, it can be considered the opposite of the play action pass. The idea behind a draw play is to attack aggressive, pass-rushing defenses by “drawing” them downfield, leaving more open space to run the ball. Draw plays are often run out of the shotgun formation, but can also be run when the quarterback is under center. These types of draw plays are sometimes referred to as delayed handoffs. The running back will most often run straight upfield in the “A-Gap”.
As you see, the draw refers to a very specific type of running play. It is particularly effective when a team has had success passing the ball or the defense believes it to be a passing situation. Outide of 2011, Kentucky has traditionally been a good passing team, so it is understandable for the coaches to employ a draw from time to time. For a time personnel dictated the use of draws, pitches and sweeps. Rafeal Little and Derrick Locke were not built to run between the tackles in the SEC, but most can agree that they were dangerous weapons when used properly. Co’Shik Williams, and to some extent Raymond Sanders, are better suited to run on the edge as well. (Though Sanders has shown a dedication to tough running this season)
Hopefully this was helpful to some folks and will improve football conversations for folks in the Commonwealth. Hopefully those who need it , read it.Hopefully through education, we can breed a generation of true Blue football fans in Kentucky.