When Gus Malzahn came to Arkansas to be OC in 2006, he was blessed to have two dynamic runningbacks at his disposal in Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. A new wrinkle that Arkansas used all season-and used it with great success-was the Wildcat. Now you see it all over the place, with different teams insterting their team’s mascot in the formation name. You even see it being run some in the NFL.
No doubt Arkansas had this play perfected and it was a huge weapon for them as they won the SEC West, played for the SEC Championship, and had high expectations going into 2007 (high expectations that were ultimately not met and led to Houston Nutt’s departure).
Many teams have inserted this wrinkle, but few have been as successful as Arkansas was. Why? Why is a team like Georgia, who has the dynamic athlethes, unsuccessful in this play.
We have seen Georgia run it with limited success over the years. Washaun Ealey ran it a few times. We would throw Logan Gray in it sometimes. Then yesterday, we saw Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley try it out. I can’t think of this play ever really being successful, aside from Gurley’s 24 yard TD run. Usually, though, it turns into, at best, a 2 or 3 yard gain.
Arkansas had success in the Wildcat becuase of the throwing threat out of the formation.
You don’t have to get pass happy, but when you can have the threat of throwing out of this formation, the defense has to be kept honest. In 2006, McFadden and wide receiver Cedric Washington combined went 8/11 with 98 yards, 4 TD and 1 INT.
Once you factor in handing the ball off to a player in motion, this formation can be near impossible for an opposing defense to defend.
But not running it the way Georgia does. If Murray decides to go pro, the running game will be the cornerstone for the Georgia offense to be successful in 2013. I am all about putting the ball in our playmakers’ hands. But if we aren’t going to exploit the weaknesses the Wildcat formation can exploit, I would just prefer Georgia not running it at all.