All part of the plan? Chris Petersen's tricky mind games a headache for opponents
Dating back to his days at Boise State, Washington head coach Chris Petersen has long been known as an innovative and creative play-caller.
A former quarterback at UC Davis, Petersen is rooted on the offensive side of the football. Petersen first gained a ton of notoriety when his Boise team beat Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl by a score of 43-42.
The Broncos utilized three trick plays en route to the upset:
From this point on, Petersen had garnered the reputation of being a somewhat gimmicky coach as it pertained to these sort of plays. The opponents then had to spend extra time preparing for a potential trick play — even though Petersen didn’t run a ton of deceptive looks. It’s certainly something he can use to his advantage.
He looks back on with a bit of humor — as he told a local Seattle radio station:
“I hesitate to even get into the strategy behind it, but I will talk about it a little bit because I think it’s so funny because people don’t get it. And I don’t want people to get it. When we were at Boise and became like Trick Play University because of the Fiesta Bowl when we ran three that we kind of had to against Oklahoma to make them work, so it was on this big stage. But if you look back at that season, we probably ran one or less than one a game.
So we’re talking about, how many plays, like 900 plays during a season and we might run less than 20, maybe 15 deceptive-type plays. But yet everybody’s like, ‘That’s all they do is run trick plays.'”
It’s been reported that Alabama is going through eight years of film in order to chart and scout every possible trick play scenario Petersen may opt to utilize. It adds an extra bit of a wrinkle from a preparation standpoint — and it’s an aspect the Washington leader loves:
“Over the years, people think about that and it softens them up and they’re like, ‘You’ve got to be ready for this’ and they’re practicing all this stuff. To run trick plays back to back, and it’s like, ‘Oh, here they go, why are they doing that?’” We want them to think that we’re all about that. I love that. And then we’re gonna go run our offense, which is running the ball and hard-nosed football.”
It will be fascinating to see whether Washington does indeed opt to pull out one of these gadget plays. You can be assured Alabama will be as prepared as possible to defend against it.