2008 Oregon Rush Attach - Fly Sweep

As Chip Kelly mentioned in his coaching article the bread and butter plays for the Oregon rush attack in 2008 were the inside zone read option and the outside zone stretch play. Unfortunately he chose not to comment on the other interesting aspects of the Oregon rush attack.

Run Type Number Avg. Gain Total Yards
Inside Zone 202 7.5 1515
Outside Zone 122 6.8 830
Other Run Plays
261 5.0 1294
Totals 585 6.22 3689

“Other” plays that he did not specify accounted for approximately 261 carries for 1,294 yards and a 5.0 average. The IZ and OZ plays gained more yards per carry so Oregon obviously ran those plays more often and executed them well. Coaches and fans are left to guess at the types of runs that make up the “Other” category by looking at games on TV or if they are lucky enough by obtaining tapes from the Oregon staff.

One play that Oregon has run a lot of previous to Chip Kelly and under Mike Belotti is what some teams call the “Fly Sweep”. In reality this one might be accounted for in the outside zone column up above since I believe the Ducks block it the same way as they do the outside zone play. Different names exist for the play and the announcers almost always mistakenly call it a reverse or end around. The play is essentially a perimeter run to a player coming in motion across the formation. It is normally run from under center by Oregon and is often married to the inside zone game as a run fake for deception. This action stress the defense laterally while the inside zone attacks upfield. Similarly the inside zone game stresses the defense north / south while the fly sweep attacks the perimeter. The defense effectively can’t cheat on the play and has to respect both downhill and lateral aspects of the field. In this sense the Fly Sweep fulfills the same role that Coach Kelly mentioned for the outside zone play.

I don’t know who invented the play but Willamette University a highly successful Division III team up in Oregon has run the heck out of the Fly Sweep for years and makes it the basis for their entire offense. Coach Mark Speckman has a series of videos that outline the details of the play and how it is executed. Oregon may have taken input from Coach Speckman over the years or vice versa…I have no clue with regards to its development or origins. (Note: If anyone knows please offer up any viewpoints in the comments section down below – thanks in advance)

Here is a look at the Fly Sweep in pictures and how it unfolds. This example was run from under center and to the wide side of the field. The flanker in motion takes the hand-off at hear full speed and simply attempts to get to the perimeter on the play and then cuts up field. This simple play was run on first and ten and netted about eight or nine easy yards for the offense in the first quarter versus Oklahoma State. Oregon probably ran the fly sweep play 2-3 times in the game and faked it 2-3 times during the game as well.

In the third and fourth frame down below notice the hand off made to the motioning player with the QB’s back turned entirely to the defense effectively blocking their view. The defense is momentarily stressed until it determines “who has the ball”? The player coming in motion? The QB keeping for a play action pass? Or will it go to the tailback for the inside zone play? Tough read for the defense when executed well. With one small mistake or a missed tackle on the perimeter this play can often go for big yards.

Oregon Fly Sweep Example

Here is a link to a site with some additional general information on the Fly Sweep play if interested.

2 comments to 2008 Oregon Rush Attach – Fly Sweep

  • Sean Dougherty

    As a University coach in Montreal Canada – University of Montreal – your site is a great source of ideas and goes in-depth enough to allow for creativity. For example, Inside Zone is intrigal part of our offense and we’ve tinkered with the idea of reading the 3 Tech – with the articles you have on Oregon vs USC and the video back-up we’ve installed it this spring and look forward to using it in this fall.

    You had a great package on Stanford Runs vs USC – 2009. I’ve looked for it on your site and don’t see it anymore, would please bring it back or send me what you can on it. The run package that Stanford used is something were considering – pulling the back-side tackle on Inside Zone.

    Thanks again, your site is outstanding and is constant source of great – indepth – information.


    Sean Dougherty
    QB Coach –
    University of Montreal

  • Jason

    Came across your site, very interesting. Just a quick note per your discussion of the “fly” sweep. Speckman ( Willamette HC ) has been running a misdirection offense with the sweep as its primary run since the early to mid 80’s as a HS coach in CA. He had a great deal of success at Merced HS, CA 86-93 ( 1990 Cal Hi Sports #1 in CA/#2 in ESPN national poll then at Golden Valley HS(Merced CA) 94~95 before moving to Willamette in mid to late 90’s as an assistant then HC. He called the offense “the fly” offense, hence the name fly sweep. Variants of the offense are still run by several HS teams in the area. I have heard stories that there were others who collaborated on the offense with connections to Willamette, specifically Dan Hawkins, but dont know the accuracy of those stories. Hawkins did run a similar system prior to hiring Speckman and previously when he was at College of Siskyous