Willie Fritz’s Georgia Southern Run Game

By Taylor Kolste

In 2014, Willie Fritz’s first year at Georgia Southern in addition to the Eagles’ first year at the FBS level, Georgia Southern was an offensive juggernaut running their way to a Sun Belt Conference championship. The Eagles had won 7 games at the FCS level the year prior before going 9-3 at the FBS level under Willie Fritz. Georgia Southern was first in the nation in rushing yards per game at 381.1, first in rushing yards per attempt at 7.1, first in rushing touchdowns at 55, and second in yards per play at 7.34. They accomplished this using a unique shotgun option run scheme featuring primarily inside zone and power-based schemes. While much of their blocking schemes differed from the veer schemes traditional flexbone offenses such as Navy or Georgia Tech have used, they still utilized the same option principles and series-based approach to play calling.

Note: This article will focus solely on their 2014 season.

Georgia Southern’s run game in 2014 utilized 5 blocking schemes: Inside Zone, Power/Counter, Speed Option, Load Option, and Draw/Lead Draw. Much of their run game revolved around their “bread and butter” play, the inside zone read. They could run the zone read as either a double or triple option play, and was the base play which helped set up the majority of the offense. They had multiple plays which were designed to look like a zone read option play, but were really just called gives to the running back. They were able to stretch the field horizontally with their option game, which helped create misdirection when running their constraint plays. This negated the need for them to use extensive RPOs since they could account for defenders with their option fakes.

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