September 29, 2009

Flashes dig into their bag of tricks

Most of the 15,235 fans at Dix Stadium didn't see it coming. Nine of Miami's 11 defenders didn't see it either.

"It" was a 28-yard touchdown run by freshman Dri Archer on a first-and-10 from the Miami 28 during the second quarter of the Golden Flashes' 29-19 win over the RedHawks.

But, it wasn't the typical off-tackle play or toss-sweep. KSU head coach Doug Martin dug deep into his bag of trick plays, or special plays as he calls them, for this one.

"Jerry Claiborne, who was my college coach at the University over Kentucky, that was his favorite trick play," Martin said. "The first time I ever saw that play, I was actually the quarterback that ran it. We ran it against LSU; it went 74 yards for a touchdown. I remember calling that play in the huddle thinking, 'he has lost his mind, this thing will never work.' About the time I handed it off and carried out my fake I heard the crowd just go nuts."

Later, Martin would use the play while he was the offensive coordinator at East Carolina, where the play picked up its name.

"We call it Gamecock because we scored three straight years on South Carolina on it when I was at East Carolina, so we named it after them," Martin said.

The play relies on deception, starting with the Golden Flashes quickly breaking the huddle. The running back, Archer, lined up just behind the right guard and the quarterback, Giorgio Morgan was in an abbreviated shotgun formation.

"It was a mini-shotgun snap to Giorgio. He put the ball between Dri's legs and Dri just grabs it and holds it and sits there, and everybody else carries out a fake to the right and takes off," Martin said. "The big key is the offensive line has to sit in there and not move and Dri has to sit in there and not panic and don't move; even if you get tackled just let them tackle you right there. By the time our guys carried out their fake, nine Miami players were on the opposite side of the hash chasing the fake, so there was only two guys left. Then Dri yells go and everybody takes off the other way. It worked really well."

Miami had a safety that didn't bite on the fake, but Archer's speed allowed him to score on the play.

"Anybody else might have been caught on that," Martin said. "Dri just outran him."

Every trick play, err, special play, has some risk associated with it, but that risk is very minimal with the Gamecock.

"The great thing about it is if the defense smells it out and tackles him, you lose a yard or two. But, if you hit it, it's like the other night; it's a huge play," Martin said.

The Gamecock wasn't the only trick play, err, special play, the Golden Flashes used on Miami. They also ran a fake field goal and used former quarterback turned wide receiver Matt Hurdle in the Wildcat formation.

"The way Miami's defense was structured with the blitzes they run, that speed option was going to be pretty effective. I wanted to get a little bit faster quarterback to be able to do that so we used Matt Hurdle," Martin said. "He executed one really well on a third-and-short; we made the first down. He had another one he really maybe should have scored on if he would have stayed outside. He made a really bad cut. We may continue to use Matt in that role."

Martin said he has 15-20 trick plays, err, special plays, in his playbook, and he isn't afraid to use them.

"I love things like that and the players like it," Martin said. "The thing about our players, they know if I put it in in practice I'm going to call it. It's not something they're going to practice and then we're not going to use. Just like the fake field goal the other night we worked on, the fake punts we've run here. So they get excited about those things. We ran it on our defense in practice on Tuesday and it scored. So the players got pretty excited about it at that point. I think they had a lot of confidence it would work."


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