The modern era of college football is much more schematically diverse than any other time at any other level in the sport's history. When you look up and down the college game, so many different things happen on any given week. There's the spread, spread option, pistol, Air Raid, pro style, triple option, double wing, smash mouth, winged-T, vertical, run-and-shoot, west coast, wildcat single wing, and God knows how many more.
One of the weirder and more fringe offenses I've seen throughout the years generated in the FCS at Princeton in 2013. Against Cornell, the Tigers utilized three quarterbacks in the formation at once, opening up a host of other options in the formation.
In no way, shape, or form am I advocating this for Boston College but merely breaking down some of the other offenses that are used throughout the college football landscape. Part of the film study is to open the doors on different aspects of the football game to expand the horizons of fans, especially since we usually don't see what exists out on the fringes of the sports universe. We usually only see what works at places like Alabama or Texas, and while you may want to implement those at your school, the point is to instead look out at different schools to think ahead of the curve or maybe look at how the curve is being redefined.
The highlights provided are from a 2013 game against Cornell. One of the things I notice is how much flexibility is given to the athletes in the formation. While it limits the offense's ability to really go downfield with a standard passing game, it opens up more options because of the speed of the other quarterbacks. The first quarterback is capable of handing off to a guy coming across the formation in a jet sweep, and with forward momentum, he can get over the edge for an open pass in stride. The forward momentum from the motion man has the defense beat because they have to respect if he's going to turn upfield.
Some of the other formations looked incredibly different. They lined up in a heavy pistol formation with three guys in the backfield—the running back as the deep man behind the three QBs lined up next to each other. Kedric Bostic is used in motion, allowing the Tigers to run a read option off to the left. Since QB2 (Quinn Epperly) was left-handed, he rolls out to the right and delivers the past. But because the play looks like a read option, Cornell comes after the ball carrier, allowing Bostic to slip out to the sideline for a quick gain.
Another play has the three quarterbacks march up to the line of scrimmage. A quick handoff from Epperly (under center) to Connor Michelsen allows them to get wide with the QBs as one scrambles behind the line of scrimmage. Michelsen then throws a quail up in the air for Epperly across his body. The defense is a little helter skelter, and a pass play that looks like it should wind up as a sack or an interception instead is completed.
The trickeration and complete insanity highlights the relative athleticism to the opponent. They didn't run it often, but they ran it enough to be effective. Epperly finished that Cornell game with three touchdowns rushing and another three passing, having gone 32-35 for 325 yards. Michelsen and Bostic finished a combined 4-5 passing and quarterbacks made three receptions for 22 yards. For a team like Princeton, playing a team like Cornell, they can run offenses like this from time-to-time. The athletes who play in the Ivy League aren't on the same level as the ACC, but at the same if you can make something work with talent relative to the talent it competes against, why not let it ride every now and then?
This is clearly an offense that can't work (and probably shouldn't work) full-time. But it's fun to look around college football and see what other teams do. You do see a prevalence of double passes and trick plays throughout any given weekend, but it's incredibly fun to see what teams lacking in certain areas do and how diverse and fun the game really can be.