Flashback: Quantitative Study of Navy’s 2015 Offense

This was the best season in Navy’s 140-year football history–until 2019….Notice the similarities and differences between 2015 and 2019, which are the two best seasons in Navy’s history.  Here’s Navy’s 2015 Offense.

Introduction

This is the first of a four-part study on Navy’s 2015 Triple Option Offense.  The data derived from this study is based on Navy’s play selection during all games during the 2015 season.  You will learn what Navy actually does to execute their Triple Option Offense, and what created Navy’s best season in 53 years.

navy's 2015 offense.

navy’s 2015 offense.

Navy versus Colgate

Navy (48) v. Colgate (10)

Navy Total Plays- 54

Notes: 59% of Offense v. Colgate was Triple Option, Belly, and Trap.

images

Navy versus East Carolina

Navy won 45-21

Versus East Carolina- Notes: 72% of offense was Triple, Zone Dive, Zone Option, Midline Triple, and Down

Neither Georgia Tech nor Navy ran any variation of Midline in three total games; however, Navy ran Midline variations 12/81 total plays v. East Carolina (15% of offense).

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On Misdirection

In Navy’s win versus Colgate (2015), 6 of the 54 plays they ran were classified as misdirection.  This is because they were run away from the A-Back’s pitch route/motion.  This was 11% of their offense.

In Georgia Tech’s win versus Tulane (2015), Tech ran 66 plays.  12 of the 66 plays were away from the A-Back’s pitch route/motion. This was 18% of their offense.

So in making decisions on how much offense you need to run the Triple Option offense effectively, less than 20% of your offense should be misdirection based.

The average high school game consists of 48 plays.

20% of 48 is 10.

Arizona Cardinals’ Offensive Line Coach, Larry Zierlein has done extensive research in running the football over the last 15 years.  He has indicated that for a play to be successful, the play must be run at least four times/game.

The answer to how much misdirection do we need in our Triple Option Offense is the following: Less than two concepts.

In Georgia Tech’s First Two Games and in Navy’s Game versus Colgate…

Midline Option was run a total of zero (0) times.

One Head College Football Coach told Dr. Cella that the reason why Midline is being run less frequent is that coaches don’t want to get their star Quarterbacks (Justin Thomas-Tech and Keenan Reynolds-Navy) hurt.

UConn Huskies vs Navy Midshipmen
Navy’s Keenan Reynolds (19) and UConn’s Matt Walsh (36) during the UConn Huskies vs Navy Midshipmen football game at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT on September 26, 2015.

Navy versus UConn

Navy won 28-18

Notes- 2/3 of Navy’s Offense was Triple Option, Zone Option, Midline White (Heavy), B-Back Toss, Belly, and Rocket Toss.

Navy has a tremendous focus this year on putting the ball in the Quarterback and B-Back’s hands.  They are putting the ball in the A-Back’s hands way less than in the past.

Navy has won two conference games this season (East Carolina and UConn) and a non-conference game vs. Colgate.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Navy
Sep 19, 2015; Annapolis, MD, USA; Navy Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds (19) throws the ball as East Carolina Pirates linebacker Montese Overton (51) chases in the second quarter at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Navy’s First Three Games of 2015

Navy has run 200 plays so far this season.

Here’s what they have done to date:

Triple Option– 45 times (23% of offense)

Zone Option– 19 times (10% of offense)

Zone Dive– 18 times (9% of offense) (Note: All 18 reps of Zone Dive occurred in ONE game.)

Belly– 16 times (8% of offense)

Midline White- 11 times (6% of offense)

Midline Triple- 11 times (6% of offense)

Follow- 10 times (5% of offense)

Rocket- 9 times (5% of offense)

These above-listed concepts consist of 72% of the offense.

Zone Dive and Belly are utilized when #1 forces a pull read.

Zone Option is utilized when #1 forces a give read.

Navy and Georgia Tech’s Similarities and Differences through October 22, 2015

Similarities

The Triple Option is 31% of Georgia Tech’s Offense and the Triple Option is 22% of Navy’s Offense.  Both Georgia Tech and Navy run Triple Option more than any other concept.The Zone Dive is 12% of Georgia Tech’s Offense and the Zone Dive is 9% of Navy’s Offense.  Both Georgia Tech and Navy utilize the Zone Dive as their #1 most utilized constraint.  Both Georgia Tech and Navy run Zone Dive when #1 cancels the B-Back.

Differences

Georgia Tech’s #2 most utilized constraint is the Rocket Toss.  They utilize Rocket Toss 7% of the time and call this when #1 does not cancel the B-Back (the Mike cancels the B-Back in this case).Navy’s #2 most utilized constraint is the Zone Option.  They utilize Zone Option 9% of the time and call this when #1 does not cancel the B-Back (the Mike cancels the B-Back in this case).

Overall

Georgia Tech and Navy have many more similarities than differences.

Concept Purpose Georgia Tech Navy
Triple Option Base Concept 31% 22%
Zone Dive #1 cancels the B 12% 9%
Rocket #1 does not cancel the B 7% 4%
Zone Option #1 does not cancel the B Georgia Tech does not run Zone Option 9%

Navy versus Air Force and Notre Dame

Navy Triple Option Offensive Breakdown Versus Air Force and Notre Dame
Concept # of times run v. AF (Won 33-11) # of times run v. ND (Lost 41-24) % of Offense in both games
Triple Option 5 20 (25/113) 22%
Triple Pass 10 4 (14/113) 12%
Outside Veer 0 11 (11/113) 10%
Zone Dive 9 0 (9/113) 8%
Zone Option 6 2 (8/113) 7%

Other concepts that were utilized:

Follow- 7, Lead Option- 6, Counter Speed- 5, Midline White- 4, Dropback Pass- 4, Belly- 3, Rocket Pass- 3, Rocket Boot Pass- 3, Rocket- 2, Counter Option- 2, Trap- 2, Trap Option- 1, QB Draw- 1, Sneak- 1, Midline Lead- 1, Belly Option- 1

Navy versus Tulane

Navy beat Tulane 31-14
Notes: 48% of the offense was Triple Option, Midline Triple Option, and Zone Option.Navy had more passing yards than rushing yards in this game.

Navy versus Memphis

Navy defeats Memphis 45-20.

Total Plays- 68

Notes: Nearly 3/4 of offense was Triple, Rocket, Midline Triple, Zone Dive, and Zone Option.

46% of offense were Triple Options (Triple, Midline Triple).

So How Did Navy and the Triple Option Beat an 8-0 and #13 Ranked Memphis Team?

Navy ran Triple Option and Midline Triple Option 46% of the time.  This means that they attempted to read two down linemen just about every other play.

Triple Option versus 50 Defense. PR- Deep Defender PA- 3 PT- Veer PG- Base to Ace C- Veer to Ace BG/BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Veer 1 Pitch 2 B- Veer Path

Triple Option versus 50 Defense.
PR- Deep Defender
PA- 3
PT- Veer
PG- Base to Ace
C- Veer to Ace
BG/BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Veer 1 Pitch 2
B- Veer Path

Midline Triple v. 4-4 PR- Deep Defender PA- Twirl-Run Support PT- Veer PG- Veer C/BG- Reverse Ace BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Mid 1, Pitch 2 B- Mid Path
Midline Triple v. 4-4
PR- Deep Defender
PA- Twirl-Run Support
PT- Veer
PG- Veer
C/BG- Reverse Ace
BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Mid 1, Pitch 2
B- Mid Path

Navy knew they couldn’t block Memphis, so they made Quarterback Keenan Reynolds read their way out.  In 2015, Navy has run Triple Option 22% of the time; however, versus Memphis, they ran Triple Option 37% of the time and Midline Triple 9% of the time.  The lesson to be learned from all this: Run as much Triple Option as you can–because it works!  Navy beats an AP Top 15 team for the first time since 1984–because they read defensive linemen instead of blocking them.

Navy ran the below-listed concept nine (9) times in their win versus previously undefeated Memphis on Saturday night:

Midline Triple (10/11)

Midline Triple v. 4-4 PR- Deep Defender PA- Twirl-Run Support PT- Veer PG- Veer C/BG- Reverse Ace BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Mid 1, Pitch 2 B- Mid Path
Midline Triple v. 4-4
PR- Deep Defender
PA- Twirl-Run Support
PT- Veer
PG- Veer
C/BG- Reverse Ace
BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Mid 1, Pitch 2
B- Mid Path

On Midline Triple, the Receiver has the Deep Defender, the Playside A-Back has #3, and the Backside A-Back has the pitch, the Backside Receiver has the cutoff.The Quarterback takes the snap, jumps in the backside A gap, points the ball, gives to the B-Back who is running the cylinder, unless #1 takes the B-Back. If so, the Quarterback re-seats the ball, replaces #1 and scores UNLESS #2 steps at him.  If so, the Quarterback parallel pitches the ball to the Backside A-Back.

Here’s how to drill Midline Triple with your skill positions:
Midline Triple Drill with Skill Positions.

Midline Triple Drill with Skill Positions.

This is the third of a four-part study on Navy’s 2015 Triple Option Offense.  The data derived from this study is based on Navy’s play selection during all games during the 2015 season.  You will learn what Navy actually does to execute their Triple Option Offense, and what created Navy’s best season in 53 years.

Navy versus SMU

Navy won over SMU 55-14

72 Total Plays Notes- 71% of this game’s offense was Triple Option, Zone Option, Belly, Midline Lead, Zone Dive, Outside Veer Give, and Triple Pass.

Navy versus South Florida

Saturday, October 31, 12:00 PM

Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

1 2 3 4 Total
South Florida 10 0 7 0 17
Navy 3 10 3 13 29

Total Plays- 76

Notes: 2/3 of offense v. South Florida was Triple, Zone Option, Zone Dive, and Outside Veer Give.

Navy versus Tulsa

1 2 3 4 Total
Navy 7 16 14 7 44
Tulsa 0 7 7 7 21
Total Plays- 64
Notes: 65% of Navy’s offense was Triple Option, Midline Triple, Belly, Midline White, Zone Option, and Outside Veer Give.
1/3 of Navy’s offense was a Triple Option (Triple/Midline Triple). 

Navy’s First 10 Games of 2015

Navy is 9-1 through their first 10 games of 2015, and they are nationally ranked.
In 2015, they have executed 659 plays.  
The following is what they are doing to become successful with their 335 yards/game rushing offense:
1- Triple Option- 153/659 (23% of offense)

Triple v. 3-4 PR- Deep Defender PA- 3 PT- Veer PG- Base to Ace C- Scoop to Ace BG/BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Veer 1, Pitch 2 B- Veer Path
Triple v. 3-4
PR- Deep Defender
PA- 3
PT- Veer
PG- Base to Ace
C- Scoop to Ace
BG/BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Veer 1, Pitch 2
B- Veer Path

2- Zone Option- 73/659 (11% of offense)

Zone Option versus Okie Dog Pinch. #1 goes inside to the Guard, the Playside Linebacker is walled by the Playside A and the ball is pitched off #2.
Zone Option versus Okie Dog Pinch. #1 goes inside to the Guard, the Playside Linebacker is walled by the Playside A and the ball is pitched off #2.

3- Zone Dive- 51/659 (8% of offense)

Zone Dive. PR- Deep Defender PA- Fold PT- Base PG- Base to Ace C- Veer to Ace BG/BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Veer Steps--Give B- Veer Path
Zone Dive.
PR- Deep Defender
PA- Fold
PT- Base
PG- Base to Ace
C- Veer to Ace
BG/BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Veer Steps–Give
B- Veer Path

4- Midline Triple- 36/659 (5% of offense)

Midline Triple v. 4-4 PR- Deep Defender PA- Twirl-Run Support PT- Veer PG- Veer C/BG- Reverse Ace BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Mid 1, Pitch 2 B- Mid Path
Midline Triple v. 4-4
PR- Deep Defender
PA- Twirl-Run Support
PT- Veer
PG- Veer
C/BG- Reverse Ace
BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Mid 1, Pitch 2
B- Mid Path

5- Outside Veer Give- 34/659 (5% of offense)


6- Belly- 34/659 (5% of offense)


7- Rocket- 28/659 (4% of offense)


8- Midline White- 26/659 (4% of offense)


Here is more notable information.  
  • In 2007, during Navy’s final season with Paul Johnson as Head Football Coach, Navy ran Triple Option 27% of time, Zone Dive 14% of time, Midline (all variations) 11% of time, Rocket 11% of time, and Counter Option 7% of the time.
  • Triple Option remains consistent with the 2007 average.
  • Midline (all variations) is consistent with the 2007 average.
  • Zone Dive has been run less; however, Outside Veer Give and Belly have been run along with the Zone Dive in an effort to keep #1 off the B-Back.
  • Rocket is executed far less than in 2007; however, with the emergence of the Zone Option, now there are two ways to get the ball outside when #1 doesn’t cancel the B-Back.
  • Counter Option has only been run nine (9) times all season.   This is 1% of the total Navy Offense.

This is the final edition of a four-part study on Navy’s 2015 Triple Option Offense.  The data derived from this study is based on Navy’s play selection during all games during the 2015 season.  You will learn what Navy actually does to execute their Triple Option Offense, and what created Navy’s best season in 53 years.


Navy versus Army

Navy beat Army 21-17.

Total Plays- 54Triple Option- 8/54 (15% of offense)Zone Option- 8/54 (15% of offense)Zone Dive- 7/54 (13% of offense)Dropback Pass- 6/54 (11% of offense)Outside Veer Give- 4/54 (7% of offense)

What Navy Does When #1 Cancels the B-Back

In the 2015 Military Bowl win vs. Pitt, Navy did three things when #1 cancelled the B-Back.

1. They ran Zone Dive v. 4-3 when the Mike ran over the top to take the pitch.

Zone Dive. PR- Deep Defender PA- Fold PT- Base PG- Base to Ace C- Veer to Ace BG/BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Veer Steps--Give B- Veer Path
Zone Dive.
PR- Deep Defender
PA- Fold
PT- Base
PG- Base to Ace
C- Veer to Ace
BG/BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Veer Steps–Give
B- Veer Path

2. They ran Down out of Heavy v. eight-man front.heavy down v. eight-man front


3. They ran Outside Veer Give v. 50 to get the ball away from the 0-technique.

Outside Veer v. 4i. PR- Deep Defender PA- Load (Mike to Free) PT- 4i PG- Base to Ace C- Scoop to Ace BG/BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Veer 2, Pitch 3 B- Outside Veer Path (inside leg of Tackle)
Outside Veer Give v. 4i.
PR- Deep Defender
PA- Load (Mike to Free)
PT- 4i
PG- Base to Ace
C- Scoop to Ace
BG/BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Veer Steps
B- Outside Veer Path (inside leg of Tackle)

Navy versus Pittsburgh

Military Bowl
12/28/15, 2:30 PM
Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
1 2 3 4 Total
Pittsburgh 7 0 14 7 28
Navy 14 7 10 13 44

Total Plays- 88

Notes: 33/54 plays (61% of offense) was Triple Option, Zone Option, Zone Dive, Dropback Pass, and Outside Veer Give.

Navy’s Top Two Concepts of 2015

In 2015, they have executed 659 plays.  The following is what they are doing to become successful with their 335 yards/game rushing offense:

1- Triple Option- 153/659 (23% of offense)

Triple v. 3-4 PR- Deep Defender PA- 3 PT- Veer PG- Base to Ace C- Scoop to Ace BG/BT- Scoop BA- Pitch BR- Cutoff Q- Veer 1, Pitch 2 B- Veer Path
Triple v. 3-4
PR- Deep Defender
PA- 3
PT- Veer
PG- Base to Ace
C- Scoop to Ace
BG/BT- Scoop
BA- Pitch
BR- Cutoff
Q- Veer 1, Pitch 2
B- Veer Path

2- Zone Option- 73/659 (11% of offense)

Zone Option versus Okie Dog Pinch. #1 goes inside to the Guard, the Playside Linebacker is walled by the Playside A and the ball is pitched off #2.
Zone Option versus Okie Dog Pinch. #1 goes inside to the Guard, the Playside Linebacker is walled by the Playside A and the ball is pitched off #2.

Navy’s 2015 Offense, Navy’s 2015 Offense, Navy’s 2015 Offense, Navy’s 2015 Offense, Navy’s 2015 Offense

Dr. Lou Cella, Sport and Performance Psychologist

Dr., Lou Cella, Sport and Performance Psychologist
Dr. Lou Cella, Sport and Performance Psychologist

Dr. Lou Cella, is a Sport and Performance Psychologist.  He has assisted in the turnaround of numerous high school football programs through his flexbone triple option-based camp system.  Just months after Dr. Cella served as camp director:

Falls City (TX) won their first regional and first state championship in school history. 

Bayfield (CO) went to the state championship game.

Pamlico County (NC) went to the state championship game.

Cashmere (WA) went to the state semifinals.

Timmonsville (SC) went to the state semifinals after going 1-9 the previous season.

You can view Dr. Cella’s full list of success stories and testimonials right here.

Dr. Cella received his Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.), Sport and Performance Psychology Specialization from the University of the Rockies.  He graduated with a 3.92 GPA, and he authored the research study entitled, Utilizing the 80-20 Rule to Improve Football Coaching Performance. Dr. Lou Cella’s mission as Sport and Performance Psychologist is to lead the high-performance football environment through sports science and mental conditioning process-based practices.  He can be reached at 570.332.0265.

Learn more: Dr. Cella’s Interview with Sports Illustrated on the State of the Triple Option Offense.

Dr. Cella’s Camp Highlights

Dr. Cella’s Interview with CBS-Northern Michigan