Mark Richt on the Shallow Cross

Lost in all the chatter about good deeds and player arrests, sometimes we forget that Mark Richt is a football coach who honed his skills as an elite, innovative offensive coordinator at Florida State.

Recently he appeared at a Southern Cal coaching clinic to discuss one of his signature play calls.  You can find all the details about it over at (where else?) USC Trojan Football Analysis.

One interesting comment from Richt about the Shallow Cross Series:

… Coach Richt replied that he used to think it was easy to make the play work. However in reality and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight it was special players like Charlie Ward and Warrick Dunn that made it so effective in the past. Also he thought the best defense versus the play is a Cover 2 scheme which is now so common. This defensive alignment often makes the play essentially just a Hi / Low “Smash Route” type read to just half the field versus the flat defender. This adjustment can be accomplished either on the front side or back side with minor alterations to the play call. Still the Shallow Cross is a very effective play but not quite what it used to be in the past. Also Coach Richt conjectured that many defensive coordinators down South learned not to blitz the play (he wishes they would however) as that gave up many big gains and easy TD’s in the past.



Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

5 responses to “Mark Richt on the Shallow Cross

  1. chefboyardee

    Awesome! I love stuff like this. Does anyone know of other good articles analyzing Richt’s/Bobo’s Xs and Os? With the current media love affair with the spread offense, I’d like to know a little bit more about our quaint, old-fashioned offense … which seems to hold up just fine.


  2. I think the Ted Route from this formation that is referenced on the link is what Martrez took to the house against Boise (twice) when we were beating their brains in.

    Separately — I’ve asked many times….why doesn’t Richt throw that swing pass that Dunn and Travis Whatshisface ate Tech and UF alive with so many times.

    After reading some of this, I’m guessing that superior front 4 pass rushers vs. inferior OLs (thank you CNC) result in the running back staying in to protect rather than leave for the swing opportunities. Thus, the route isn’t there to start with.

    The other thing you see here is how critically important it is for our Slot WR and TEs to catch the damn ball on that seam/choice route. (Not that dropping the ball is ever a good idea).

    If you’re going to break down the Cover 2’s pass defense, you’re going to do it up the middle….or via running the ball. Under Dave Johnson, our TEs run those routes PERFECTLY which means they are open a ton…which means they have to catch…or we see a staggeringly unnatural number of drops simply due to more opps.

    Anyway…that’s my take away with Richt’s system. He needs OL and RBs good enough to run the ball effectively and pull the safeties up to open up the play action game. I guess everyone needs that, but even pass happy ex-QBs who love ’em some finesse offenses still need those things.

    He needs OL good enough to pass block the other guy’s front 4 so that the RB can do something other than block. Thank heavens for Searels.

    The nice addition with Bobo is the 2,853 different screen packages he learned under Donnan. Slowing down the blitz with screens does wonders for our OL. I think we ran 9 different screens vs. OSU (some multiple times).

    And the other addition with Searels is the Toss Sweep. Once an FSU staple, Richt ditched it with Callaway for some unknown reason in favor of the grossly less effective Sprint Draw.

    /end rambling obvious statements


  3. You know….I could’ve saved myself all that typing and just asked…

    Why wait so long to get rid of Callaway (or let him get rid of himself) when the key to unlocking everything we’re trying to do is handicapped by the recruiting, talent evaluation, motivation and coaching?


  4. Bulldog Bry

    Paul, you’ve answered you’re own question before…….who needs Marcus McNeil when you’ve got Dan Inman?



  5. And the other addition with Searels is the Toss Sweep. Once an FSU staple, Richt ditched it with Callaway for some unknown reason in favor of the grossly less effective Sprint Draw.

    Amen, brother.