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Iowa State Football Red OLert: “F”-em Up Has a New Meaning

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With Jake Campos out, can the F position help make up for an inexperienced offensive line?

NCAA Football: Kansas at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Campos is out. Everyone is new. Sound the alarms. We all knew the offensive line was a weak spot, but now the one guy we could count on is no longer present. So, how do you run an offense with a bad offensive line? (I am making the assumption at the outset that the line will be bad.)

My answer is, I have no clue. The proverbial plugging-the-hole-in-the-dam-only-to-have-another-one-spring-up is a good analogy for what the Clones could be dealing with. I won’t go into all of the possible problems or solutions — too long, and none of them are satisfying.

I’m glad I’m not the coach trying to figure it out. Campbell and his staff will coach up who they have and run their plays. Conventional wisdom says that you throw more screens, run more draws and hit quick timing routes to make up for the poor play on the offensive line. I think we will see some of that. But, I think — hold on, lack of confidence surfacing — no, yeah, I think that Campbell has a built-in plan.

Campbell says his offense is a spread-’em-out, power-running offense. Seems like an oxymoron. I always thought that word meant a moron of great proportion — like a Hawk fan — but thanks, thesaurus. I dare say that this emphasis is well suited for a weaker offensive line. That is not to say that Toledo had a weak offensive line; they didn’t. But, I think they can stay within the offense and cover for it.

How? Glad you asked. By simply “F”-ing them up!! WRNL sources have provided news that Sam Seonbuchner (aka Alphabet Soup) has moved from DE to the “F” position. The way I understand the “F” position in Campbell’s offense is a larger player in an H-back/FB type role. We often see them as the inside receiver on a trips formation and will see them motion to an offset fullback position. A versatile, block-first position.

I am not touting the player move, because I don’t know the player well, but it tips us off that the “F” position has taken on more importance given the Campos injury. One way to combat a struggling offensive line is to add more blockers. Genius, huh? I came up with that all by myself. Seriously, send more blockers to seal and hit the second level and you can run the ball. In the passing game, you have an extra blocker and late release outlet. Let’s look at how this might work.

Toledo against Bowling Green again. First drive of the game. The man in motion is an “F” back or a TE. Doesn’t matter, the concept is the same. He motions to an offset full back spot and becomes a lead blocker. He helps seal the inside and we see a nice seam for a good running back.

Second play of the drive. Two “F” back types are lined up in the back field. They both fire forward with edge and second-level blocking assignments. This is important because it gives the offensive lineman 1-on-1 blocking assignments, thus downgrading the proficiency needed to execute the play. A blitzing safety runs down the play after a 6-yard gain.

Below is the final play. TE is on the line and the “F” back motions to the strong side and then becomes a lead blocker with a trapping guard. He throws the block that frees the path to the end zone. Touchdown Toledo/ISU.

I think this is what we will see. It is truly power running using extra blockers to create creases for the runners. The “F” back can also be used in the passing game to provide an extra blocker. To compensate for the loss of a receiving threat, the RB can become more involved in the passing game and the “F” back can be a delayed route threat to move the chains (or yellow line). I like the idea of a play action “F” back screen too. Receivers may have to win more as the numbers game may not favor them on the outside, but we may have a horse or two that can do this.

This may be much ado about nothing. Our current line may be just fine as is. I sure hope so. But, I think Campbell’s base scheme is well-suited to the challenges of poor play up front. I think. I hope. Who knows.

Stay tuned, we will find out in the Super Bowl.