It’s mid-February, and I happened to see his name.

My mind wanders sometimes, if you couldn’t tell.  After checking out the DawgPost projections of Georgia’s 2011 starters I linked to below (and here’s Bernie’s speculation, if you’re looking for more of this), I found myself wondering about one position in particular.

Weirdly enough, I’m intrigued about the coaches’ plans for Bruce Figgins.

A lot of people see “Figgins moved to fullback” and figure he’ll just be a guy they’ll swap in and out with Ogletree as a blocker for the tailbacks.  I’m wondering if Bobo might see this as an opportunity to add another weapon to the arsenal, the H-Back.

The H-Back was essentially a creation of Joe Gibbs, who was looking for some way to, if not neutralize Lawrence Taylor completely, at least reduce his effectiveness.  It’s a position that not a tight end and not a fullback, but a little of both (h/t Tomahawk Nation).

… The term H-back basically means, “motion TE.”  The Skins would typically use 1 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR, and this H-back as their base offensive personnel grouping.    The in-line TE would be a bigger, more blocking-focused player.  The H-back would be a somewhat more maneuverable type, but still a blocking-focused guy.  He would usually line up 1 step behind the line of scrimmage, either outside the in-line TE (double wing,) or outside the weakside Tackle (balanced,) depending on the particular play.  He’d frequently go in motion, either taking the offense from the double wing look to a balanced look, or from a balanced look to a double wing look.  The famous Redskins Counter Trey usually began from a balanced Ace set, and featured the H-back motioning to the strong side, and sealing the backside edge along with the in-line TE, with the backside Guard & Tackle pulling to the playside to lead the running play.

The perception among media hacks is that any TE who catches the ball better than he blocks is an H-back, especially if he wears a number in the 40s (like Chris Cooley and Dallas Clark.)  In actuality, the H-back position was conceived to get a good blocker into position to block an edge defensive player quickly.  It was simply a redeployment of the traditional fullback, strategy-wise.  The FB is usually hitting an ILB, and the H-back would usually hit an OLB…

But there’s more to it than just tailoring (see what I did there?) blocking schemes.  There are all kinds of formation games you can play when you deploy an H-Back, particularly if you’re a team, like Georgia, that has a bunch of talent at the tight end position.  Like this one:

In the previous example, the Titans attacked the Cowboys’ base two-tight end set with a five-man secondary. This was due both to the down-and-distance situation and the strength of the Cowboys receivers. Most defenses use their standard personnel grouping against a two-tight end, two-receiver package, though they may move a linebacker or two up to act as down linemen.

But what happens when the offense shifts into a three-tight end look? Again, the defense’s reaction varies, depending on the down, the distance, and the opponent.

We generally think of a three-tight end formation as a running formation. But the Patriots are unpredictable when they switch to a three-tight end package. Opponents who would normally switch to a 4-4 or 5-3 defense (replacing a cornerback with an extra lineman or linebacker) are reluctant to do so against the Patriots. This benefits the Patriots’ running game, but Bill Belichick’s assistants are very clever about using multiple tight ends as weapons in the passing game as well.

I’ve got no idea if any of this is going through Bobo’s head, but it’s worth noting that we saw him use a lot more motion at the fullback position last season than we had previously.  Anyway, it’s food for thought.

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36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

36 responses to “It’s mid-February, and I happened to see his name.

  1. Richt-Flair

    Figgins and Lynch would be perfect for this. Hope we see a lot of it.

    • GreenDawg

      Agreed. And when you add in Orson’s speed there are incredible opportunities with the 3 TE sets the senator mentioned. Imagine a 2 TE set with Lynch and Orson, then the H-back motions over as a wing on Orson. Orson then break out wide. Then you’ve essentially got up to 8 blockers and a linebacker covering Orson in space. Just give him enough time and he’ll get open. If they don’t send that many rushers, then we can dump off to the H-back for an easy 5-7 yards. That kind of offense would be incredibly frustrating for a defense.

  2. Silver Creek Doug

    If I was Richt , Bobo, et al, I’d find a way to meet with the Patriots staff this summer.

    They are masters at using the tight end and getting them mismatches against the defense. As much talent as we have at that position, we’d be fools not to take advantage of their knowledge.

  3. Castleberry

    If the reason we haven’t played a lot of freshman backs before is pass protection, this could be the main reason for getting Figgins back there.

    I cannot help but remember the near decapitation of Murray on several whiffed blocks by our other backs last season. I like the idea of someone back there than can not only get in the way, but also punish the blitzers and do a better job protecting Murray. Plus Figgins has enough wiggle to catch some outlets and keep the defense honest.

  4. Beelzebubba

    UGA used to run fullback swing passes a lot when Jeremy Thomas was there. Maybe they will get that play back in the playbook. Figgins is faster than Thomas ever dreamed of being.

  5. Russ

    I’d love to see us use our talent at H-Back. It just makes too much sense.

  6. Irishdawg

    Brannen Southerland was also a nice receiving option at fullback, too. Hopefully Murray will get to his check receiver a little quicker this year, and we’ll see more FB catches and fewer 10 yard sacks.

  7. Chuck

    I wish, I wish, I wish.

    Problem is, they could have done this last year – many of us thought they might do something creative with all the tight ends we had – but nary a sniff. Why would this year be different? Because they ‘moved’ Figgins to fullback? If they said they were making him ans H-back we might have something to work with.

    I would very much like to be wrong about this, but I will believe it when I see it. And let me be clear: just because I think it is a good idea doesn’t mean it really is a good idea; I still think that the coaches mostly have reasons for making the choices they make, even if I don’t get it.

    • Russ

      I refuse to have logic injected into my speculation! I think it’s a good idea, therefore it must be a good idea. Even if I haven’t “been in the arena”.

  8. fuelk2

    There are a lot of us who have been screaming this for a while now, so I can only hope it has crossed Bobo’s mind.

  9. sUGArdaddy

    There is so much we can do with it. We can go w/ a 3 TE look, essentially w/ 2 TE and a fullback, then split them all out w/ a shift to a 4 WR look or even empty/5 WR look if we split the RB out. That would give us incredible mismatches on the edge w/ LB’s covering guys like White and Crowell.

    It’s all about blocking, guys. Bobo and any OC will call good plays when they feel like we can block. Last year, I just don’t think we thought we could block from what they saw in practice and in film and that hand-cuffed our creativity.

    It could be fun. And we’re going to have the craziest numbers in that nation and I love it. We’re going to have a tailback that wears #1, a NG that wears #6, an OLB that wears #29, a kicker that wears #57, a FB that wears #89, and a WR (Mitchell) that probably wears #25 or #27. I always think you play a little meaner when you wear an oddball number…like you’ve got something to prove.

    Lord, is it Sept. 3 yet?

  10. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Is the consistent listing of Benedict as the starter at RT based on knowledge that he is 100% recovered from his catastrophic knee injury and incredibly talented, or is it more of a reflection of how poor our depth is on the OL?

    Might seem more logical to have Cordy Glenn or Gates slide out to tackle and move Bean back to OG, or have Burnette, who by most accounts was one of the best redshirters last year, play at one of the guard spots?

  11. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    I’m still waiting on the 2 RB backfield that we last saw when Joe T was under center in Columbia …

  12. Faulkner

    Somebody needs to either e-mail or slide this post under Richt/Bobo’s door. Let’s not assume they “get it” in regards to potential H back role and the current talent on the roster.

    • 69Dawg

      +1 We assume that Richt/Bobo are thinking outside the 90′s FSU box. I for one am still waiting on that Logan Gray package. Bobo/Richt like to run the old familiar stuff and the opposing DC’s really appreciate the week off they get because they have seen it for 11 years in a row.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Have to agree. Anyone who thinks we’re going to see something new is going to be disappointed. An even greater opportunity than Figgins at HB lies in AM’s mobility and play-making ability, but the coaches hate to see him outside the pocket. Rest assured, we’re going to see the same vanilla O that we’ve watched the last 10 years.

  13. Ausdawg85

    Lemme get this straight…Bobo deploys the H-back to set-up outside our TE, then goes in motion on first down to help pass protect for the bomb. Then on second down, the H-back will fire-out from his down position to assist with the dive.

    Now where, exactly, does he go on 3rd & long?

  14. gernblanski

    Great read for the off-season. Keeps the true football juices going so we do not slide into the usual “rant” river of the police blotter, hot or not seats, etc.

  15. Dboy

    I think Bobo / Richt have every intention of putting in wrinkles like this and the greyhound & B. Smith on offense the past few years. Seems to me the offense struggles execution the basic plays (especially early in the season) and the coaches immediately put anything that complicates the offense on the back burner. They seem to want to use their limited practice time to shore up the basics of the offense. Maybe a little more seniority at QB will help? Perhaps work more wrinkles in week by week like the patriots do so masterfully… But then these players don’t have NFL level football experience / knowledge.

    • Richt-Flair

      Was thinking along the same lines. Our version of the Wildcat looked lazy, like we threw it out there because everyone else was doing it, not because it was the best allocation of our resources. An H-Back is a great idea to maximize the roster we have now, but it has got to be executed properly. I’d put that on the coaches to put the effort in to make this work.

  16. Jack

    Apparently great minds think alike. I’ve been obsessed since last summer with the possibilities created by the use of our talent in a four tight end (two on the wings), one back set. I’ve been trying to get up the nerve to share this “fantasy”. This is perfect: I’ll let you do it!

  17. Senator, a great idea. Maybe if Richt continues to put all of the defense on Grantham, He (Richt) will be able to put more of his time & effort on what got him the job to start with, the Offense. If the OL comes around, the Dawgs could have a very good year.

  18. baddawg

    For the longest time I was mad at bobo for his stupidity. During this off season I’m starting to think I was mad the wrong person. I think bobo has been tied down and Richt was making the bad decisions…. time will tell, but I think bobo is going to change peoples mind about him….. while I’m at it. Bobo needs to play calls from up top. Not on the field. Its just a better overall view!

    • Dboy

      Yea, but wasn’t everyone screaming for him to come down to the field just 1.5 seasons ago?

      • baddawg

        When he moved to the field I thought it was a bad idea. That team stacked full of offensive talent. And I think Stafford needed that one on one talk with bobo. But murreys mind is much stronger. Much better leader. He doesn’t need a daddy on the field. And I guarantee he could see the offensive line scheme and running game much better from above. ….. we wanted him out of the box BC with the talent we had we shouldn’t have lost games.

  19. Macallanlover

    Exciting concept Senator, let’s hope that is on the drawing board for 2011. We sure need the help blocking and opening up new passing lanes, and we incredible TE talent just wasting away. Some creativity could help an offense that has needed some fresh looks to help offset the great defensive talent we face we face 6-7 times a year.

  20. CWP

    Great February post Senator. These types of posts help me get through the work day during the offseason and why i rarely ever miss your posts. Thanks

  21. Want to start some off season controversy? I think Bobo has proven himself as a QB coach, as a recruiter, & is coming around as an OC. Actually I believe that he is the only coach on Richt’s staff that has a future as a Div. 1 HC. Time will tell.

  22. Paul

    Just get the best atheletes on the field. Sometimes regardless of position. Lining up a TE at fullback or H-back is great. Slide Orson Charles into the slot. Get Aaron White, Lynch , or Rome on the the field as well. All kinds of weapons and creativity to be had.

  23. Greg

    Look for more of Carlton Thomas up the middle against Boise. You can’t give the mind of Mike Bobo months to prepare…just ask UCF.

  24. Rolando McClain

    Yeah this is a no-brainer.

    I think the position EVERYONE is overlooking that is extremely important is ILB. Jarvis almost HAS to step up and play on the inside or we are fuct.

  25. Quentin

    Get a clue.

    Georgia never changes anything on offense.

    The talk of using TE’s happens every season as a ploy to try and get the TE’s to not transfer, because we have so many.

  26. dude

    All of this is a completely moot point if the O-line cannot block any better than they did last year.