Switch It Up; The Tale of Mekale McKay

Rich Schultz

In recent weeks the Bearcats passing game has lit up opposing defenses. In doing so Eddie Gran has managed to quiet his critics by doing what they said he was in capible of doing, putting his guys in a position to succeed. With no one is that point better made than Mekale McKay, by far the most unique weapon at his disposal.

The Run and Shoot is, for the most part, consigned to the dust bin of history at this point, as a system at least. But the concepts that proved nearly unstoppable for nearly 20 years never went away. They were appropriated by different coaches, and rolled into more conventional offenses where the concepts have lived on while the system died away. One of those concepts is called switch, and you are probably very familiar with it if you have ever wasted a night playing Madden or NCAA.

Switch_medium

That is, more or less, what switch looks like when the Bearcats run it. It won't always look like that, because the routes are run based on the receivers read of the coverage, not a pre conceived pattern. Two of Mekale McKay's three touchdowns against Rutgers came on Switch*.

* I am pretty sure that Shaq Washington's touchdown catch also came on switch, but that happened out of frame of every video I have seen


The reason that the switch concept is so effective, and why it has been adopted by so many coaches who would never be caught dead running the shoot, is that it is really a variant of four verticals, a concept that is in every play book.

The Bearcats love it, or they love their version of it because it puts their most devastating and unique weapon, Mekale McKay in match ups that are an easy win. On the first touchdown Rutgers is in a cover two with one safety to the side of Anthony McClung and McKay. The safety chooses McClung, and the middle of the field is wide open. Easy throw, easy catch.

On the second touchdown Rutgers brings pressure on third and 8 from their nickel package. In the back end they play cover one. The Bearcats run mirrored switches to the top and bottom of the formation. The alignment of the single high safety* dictates that Brendon Kay reads the boundary side. McClung and McKay switch and McKay winds up in man to man coverage with a linebacker with no safety help in sight. Easier throw, easier catch.

*Who never even shows up in frame, but he's there, or Rutgers played with 10 men.

None of this is that complicated, nor does it have to be. It is simply sound football the Bearcats are playing. At the moment Eddie Gran seems to have an answer for everything.


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