Play 4: Vs. South Florida, 2nd quarter, 5:50 remaining, 1st & 10
What the offense is running: Spread concept out of five-wide shotgun. Outside receivers are the check-downs with curls while Isabella runs a slant, tight end runs a deep in, and the other slot appears to run a go.
What the defense is running: Cover 3 with outside corners playing off.
What Isabella is tasked to do: Run a slant from the slot.
What happens: Remember how I said Isabella does the little things well to make up for his lack of size? Well, sometimes, he doesn’t need to do so, and when he does, it can be a negative rather than a positive.
In this particular play, the slot defender is playing off coverage against Isabella. At the start of the play, the Isabella is at the 48-yard line, while the defender is at the 55-yard line. Due to that seven-yard difference, the receiver shouldn’t have a problem quickly running the route and catching the ball with space to run. But that doesn’t happen.
Isabella, instead of running a one-cut slant, decides to run the route as if the defender is pressing. He takes a hard cut out and then cuts in. The quarterback is then forced to hold onto the ball as the pressure comes because the route is delayed. If that weren’t the case, Isabella would’ve run into the pass with much more room to run on.
- Isabella is an excellent horizontal route-runner. But he has frustrating reps like the one above where the coach is left wondering what was he doing? However, this should be easily coached out of him, he simply overruns his routes sometimes, which messes with the timing. Defenses will exploit that in the NFL ten out of ten times.
- These types of basic, head-scratching plays make you wonder how long he’s been playing the question. He was a high school running back in Cleveland that converted to the position at UMass.