By Darren Zancan
What are some of the best trick plays in the playbook?I can remember Boise State against Oklahoma. Boise State was down 42-35 in overtime and needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to win the Fiesta Bowl. Or if they just wanted a tie, a touchdown and an extra point would have done the trick.
Instead Boise State ran two trick plays (three for the game), including the Statue of Liberty to win the game 43-42, in what was one of the most thrilling football games I have seen.
The Broncos were down to their last play on Oklahoma’s two yard line. They decided to use a receiver rollout option, which is a variation of the Wildcat offense. Quarterback Jared Zabransky ran in motion left of the quarterback position. His backup wide receiver lined up as a running back and took the snap, rolling right, and threw a touchdown to his tight end Derek Schouman, who was lined up as a wide receiver.
Down by one, most teams think conventional and go for the easy extra point. The Broncos, think again. Bring in the Statue of Liberty. Three receivers line up on the right side, Zabransky snaps the ball, fakes a quick pass to his right with his right hand, and then hands the ball off with his left hand to his running back who ran untouched into the end zone for the win.
So I started thinking to myself, “What are some of the best trick plays in college sports?”
Eastern pulled off a trick play last year against Kentucky right before halftime to swing the momentum to the Colonels.
Trick plays sometimes, if ever, work out. But they are fun to watch. No one expects them. A fake punt or a fake field goal always has the crowd on the edge of their seat.
Here are a few trick plays I would love to see Eastern run. This is all opinion and they probably will never take my advice on these plays. Heck, if they’re playing it safe, I encourage them not to.
Fake spike- T.J. Pryor and the Colonels have the ball right before halftime with 20 seconds left on the clock. There’s time for one more play. So Missouri State thinks they might spike the ball to kill the clock, setting up a field goal chance. Instead Pryor fakes the spike and hits a receiver in the end zone. It happens so fast, no one knows. It’s like the sleight of hand trick dealers play.
Kick return backward pass- After a kickoff, you have receivers or running backs lined up to take backward passes, while others block for you. Of course the numbers game is against you, but it’s pretty fun to see a bunch of players clumsily chase after a guy with the ball.
Fumblerooski- Unfortunately this play is now banned, because the NCAA does not allow intentional fumbling, but it was effective when done. The quarterback “fumbles” the ball, leaving it for a lineman to pick up and run with. Nebraska scored a touchdown in the 1984 Orange Bowl doing it.
Of course there are the reverses, Wildcat options and the quarterback mixing up his signals, only to call a play that confuses the offense.
Trick plays are hard to come by, that’s why they are called trick plays. But if run effectively, you have the crowd eating out of your hand.
Or you just happen to win one of the biggest football games of your life.
It’s a gamble, nonetheless, but it keeps the opposition thinking all the time.
If the coaches take any of my ideas, and they work, I charge a small finder’s fee, plus retainer fee.