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Blogcast w/Chris Graham: What Bryce Perkins means for the UVA offense

Bryce Perkins uva footballBryce Perkins is going to create some headaches for opposing defensive coordinators game planning against the UVA offense.

Perkins, a 6’3”, 210-pound junior, is a perfect-fit quarterback for Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s offense, which runs best with a dual-threat guy back there taking the shotgun snaps.

What we saw out of the UVA offense in the 42-13 win over Richmond in the season opener this past Saturday was just how thick the playbook really is, after two years of mainly the pocket-passing game with Kurt Benkert triggering.

With Perkins, we saw the traditional read-option, where Perkins took the snap, put the ball in the belly of tailback Jordan Ellis, and then read what the defensive line was doing to decide whether to give to Ellis or keep for a run around the end.

We also saw more basic wildcat looks, where Perkins would take the snap, then read blocks like a running back taking a direct shotgun snap.

And then: triple-option looks out of the shotgun, with Perkins keeping or pitching to Ellis.

There was another triple-option look, on a 22-yard second-quarter touchdown, that gave Perkins the choice of keeping or pitching to wideout Olamide Zaccheaus, who motioned into the backfield to create havoc on the end for the defense, which was forced to choose between the second-fastest ‘Hoo (Perkins) or the third-fastest (Zaccheaus) as the pitch man.

Another look was one I’d not seen before: Perkins took a third-and-10 shotgun snap, dropped back to pass, then headed upfield on what didn’t appear to be at first, but clearly on replays was, a designed draw, with his backs sneaking past the line of scrimmage to pick off second-level defenders.

That one led to the 36-yard TD run that tied the game after Perkins had just thrown a picksix.

About that picksix: ‘twas ugly. Perkins is being given a good bit of responsibility in the run-pass-option game, and on the INT, he never saw the UR ‘backer underneath.

Two plays before the 36-yard TD scamper, Anae went aggressive on first down, and called a play-action post for Tavares Kelly, the fastest ‘Hoo, who had a step on his man deep, but had to fight back to break up a poorly underthrown ball to prevent another INT.

Perkins was eased in to the passing game from there, eventually completing 12 of his 23 pass attempts for 181 yards, but the passing-game part of the game plan was pretty vanilla overall.

Which is … fine.

If you’re an opposing defensive coordinator, you’ve got to prepare for so much with Perkins at QB: the RPOs, rollouts and dropbacks in the passing game, and then in the run game, the read-option, triple-option, wildcat, and of course the traditional power running game with big-back Ellis.

It’s one game, but what we saw out of the offense against Richmond reminded me of some of the good old days with George Welsh and Tom O’Brien scheming up an offense around Shawn Moore.

Column by Chris Graham