Might 2013 WSU Air Raid add a jet or rocket?

MIKE LEACH

THE CHATTER THIS spring about implementing some Pistol formations into the Wazzu Air Raid is not new – Jim Mastro and Mike Leach have talked for years about adding some of the Pistol formations into the Air Raid. Last season saw some experimentation in that regard, but it was limited. Will 2013 be different and if so, what might fans notice the most?

Most pundits agree the Cougs need to run the ball more effectively. But Mike Leach's offense is always going to be pass-heavy, the Cougs are not suddenly going to start running it 40 times a game.

But they might run it more effectively by going creative.

The jet sweep, or fly sweep as some call it, is one of the possibilities. A receiver, such as Gabe Marks, comes in motion and takes the handoff already running at full speed. The goal is to find one of your faster players a seam.

One of the problems with that is it's more of a challenge for teams running out of the shotgun – linebackers and defensive backs have a better view and can react quicker. The other issue is that Oregon State ran it exceedingly well in 2008. The next season and in recent years, it wasn't nearly as effective as Pac-10/12 defenses learned better how to defend it.

Enter the rocket.

THE ROCKET IS a variation of the jet sweep that might be tailor made for the Air Raid. The receiver doesn't come from quite so far and the seam is not always way out on the boundary.

Defenders, much of the time, have to cheat in order to properly defend it.

And then the play action off the rocket sweep, such as the wheel routes and backside posts, open up.

And oftentimes, so do the running lanes up the middle. As the defense keys on the man in motion, it sometimes only takes a lean for them to find themselves in no-man's land as the QB, instead of handing off or tossing it to the rocket man, instead slips it to the running back who slams it up the gut and starts running downhill.

IF THE COUGS utilize more pistol formations this season, it will be something that's been years in the making.

But if the Cougars implement a version of the rocket sweep into their Air Raid -- one they tweak to make all their own -- it will sure look like something brand new.

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