I've spent at least a few hours now watching reviews on Ryan Nassib, to get a feel for him as a QB and make peace with the fact that he may be the starting QB for the Buffalo Bills in the near future. Inadvertently, I think I've gotten a feel for what OC Nate Hackett is all about.
It initially surprised me to see that they were the 29th best passing attack in the nation last year, and 2nd in their conference (consider that Lousivlle was 24th, and they have a potential Heisman winner in Teddy Bridgewater). But after watching the film, Hackett's spread based system seems to rely less on bubble screens, slants and passes to the running back out of the backfield (like someone we used to know...) but instead really leaning on speed/size mismatches up the seams/ intermediate area of the field and forcing teams to compensate. This opens up one on one assignments on the outside, and makes teams more susceptible to the run game out of the shotgun. Their receivers get a solid amount of YAC (Yards After the Catch, for anyone who doesn't know), mostly based on the design of the play and their QB's ability to throw the ball out in front of them.
If you watch the comeback win over Mizzou from last year (here's the link if you're interested) you'll see that they get much of their offensive production early on throws up the seam to Alex Lemon, and passes to their their TE's up the middle and underneath. When Missouri moves to take that away they proceed to start dialing up multiple 7-8 yard outs and curls, taking advantage of the fact that they have man to man on their outside WR's. My favorite playcall of the game comes at the 6:33 mark - trips formation out of the shotgun, and because of the route patterns that Hackett has his WR's running off the snap one of the receivers is left completely unaccounted for by the safety, who has to make a split second decision on who to cover and ends up making the wrong choice. Pretty play, well designed and well executed.
Another example of his abuse of teams up the seam is here in the Louisville upset victory. Many times, you'll see them use a deep out route to pull the safety to the sideline, exposing the nickel CB/LB's to their slot WR's speed. They attack the intermediate area and call plays to get 1on1's that result in a ton of YAC for their receivers.
On one hand it makes me excited to see a more aggressive passing attack for this offense. On the other, it highlights the fact that there are many pieces that they're going to need to make this work at an NFL level missing from our current roster (which I'll post about at a later time). All in all, I'm excited to see what Hackett can bring to the table, and can't wait for the start of the 2013 NFL season. Let me know what you guys think, and if you're still with me thanks for reading!