Sun Tzu philosophy says there are 3 main components to winning. They are:
3) Indirect Attacks (ie not Lee at Gettysburg)
Which of these does Riley need to work the most on? I would say deception. He is such a nice guy you aren’t sure if he is that capabale of much of it. It is a crucial component of Sun Tzu’s formula though and one we need to implement. We use it but need to crank it up by several degrees.
Next I would say indirect attacks need to be worked on next. Quizz up the middle, Langsdorf’s favorite call last year would have made Sun Tzu cringe. Oregon is highly effective at getting teams to react to them and then exploiting those unique reactions. You combine this element with deception and make the other team think you are attacking one area and surprise them with what only you knew you intended all along. It could even be something like baiting the other team into late hit penalties by slowing up a touch on the sidelines and then stepping a full yard out while they go ahead with late hits.
Preparation is obviously important but I feel we think it is too much of the answer. Preparation needs to be combined with the other elements or you end up with much more modest results than are possible. We would benefit by doing more preparation of deception and indirect attacks. The players also are actors to a degree and need to learn how to better lull teams into a false perception of reality. I think a hook and ladder play at a time when it is not needed or expected is the best time to use it. When you try that stuff out of desparation it usually doesn’t work. But if you complete a nice pass early in the second quarter and then have that player be looking for a Markus Wheaton coming from the other direction all of a sudden you may get another 30 yards or more out of the play.
I remember Katz taking too many sacks last year as well. That is largely inexcuseable. He needs to understand exactly which situations it makes sense to huck it 5 yards out of bounds and avoid those 8 yard losses which absolutely kill drives. The other thing you can do for that is have an outlet he can atleast throw it at the feet of to avoid these losses. Has to be close though. Just throw it a foot to 18 inches in front of his feet or a low ball that only your guy can catch. I believe Katz will be solidly improved this year, but he has to understand when your guy has 2 or 3 steps on someone to not overthrow it very often either. You only get so many chances. You must complete a high enough percentage of passes or you won’t succeed. So make sure it is a catchable ball and give the receiver a better shot at it when they have already gotten open. Too often I felt like he thought close counted for something. It doesn’t so you must capitalize on opportunities. You only get so many in any game.