This will keep B1G defensive coordinators up studying very late this offseason.
Meyer said he and some coaches went to San Francisco during the offseason to study the 49ers’ offensive sets. You’ll see pistol this fall.
— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) April 2, 2013
The Pistol offense took the NFL by storm last season, most notably by the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Collin Kaepernick. 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh used the Pistol formation at Stanford with Andrew Luck, then incorporated it into his NFL playbook. Many thought that the Pistol was just a college gimmick and an NFL fad like the wildcat formation but Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and other dual threat quarterbacks will have something to say about that.
Kaepernick excelled in the Pistol offense at Nevada under Coach Chris Ault, the creator of the Pistol offense, and Braxton Miller possesses some of the same traits as Kaepernick. When one thinks of the Pistol, they think of just the read option but in reality, a variety of running plays can be run out of the formation. There’s the read option, counter, power, lead, inside trap, quarterback sweep, and almost anything else that is run out of a pro-style formation. Also, with the quarterback at 4-5 yards, he is still a serious threat to pass the ball and that is what makes this offense very difficult to stop when it is ran correctly. I can only imagine Meyer watching 49ers’ film and salivating over the thought of Miller, Carlos Hyde and two other playmakers (B. Dunn and R. Smith in practice) in the same backfield.
Here are a few screen shots of the 49ers in the Pistol versus the Bills last year. They’re in a 2- back Pistol alignment. Kaepernick is going to put the ball into RB Kendall Hunter’s stomach and keep an eye on the Bills defensive end to see if he crashes down on Hunter or stays home to play Kaepernick. The H-Back will pull across the line of scrimmage and kick out the outside linebacker if Kaepernick keeps the ball or create the hole if Hunter gets the ball.
Running the read option out of the pistol will highly benefit Miller and the offense. We saw Miller succeed in running the read option last year mostly out of shotgun for big gains and expect the same but with more wrinkles out of the Pistol.
This is the 3- Back diamond formation of the Pistol that was seen at practice on Tuesday by 11 Warrior’s Kyle Rowland. If the two lead blockers get inside to the linebackers, that forces the safety down in run support to make the play on the running back. This play is your basic lead run play that can be run out of basically any formation. (These images below are from www.nationalfootballpost.com)
The 49ers used their two very athletic tight ends, Vernon Davis (#85) and Delanie Walker (#46) in front of Frank Gore (#21) as lead blockers. Davis got to the second level and got a good block on an inside linebacker and Gore gets a big gain up the middle with a chance to make the safety miss.
There are many, many more plays out of the Pistol that Miller will run this season. This is just a small example of two plays that the 49ers ran of out Pistol that Meyer will implement into the playbook this spring. If executed correctly by Miller and the rest of the offense, this will be an even scarier wrinkle to an already scary offense.
I’ll post a few more of these to elaborate later on and if you want me to breakdown any specific offensive plays or formations leave them in the comments!