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Air Raid Playbook: Shallow Cross

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That one play where Dominique Williams is wide open forever.

James Snook-US PRESSWIRE

This week leading up to the Crimson and Gray game, we are continuing an Air Raid playbook series. The hope is that you'll get a better understanding of how the offense works and why it's conceptually able to exploit defenses, and if you're able to apply that to enhance your enjoyment of watching the Cougs, all the better.

The shallow cross can be assigned to X or Z in addition to the H-Shallow example we saw with the mesh. A shallow route is one step upfield then straight across.

As with every crossing route, the receiver will sit in the first open hole in a zone defense or keep running versus man coverage. The shallow cross created big plays for WSU pretty consistently last season, and in particular for one Dominique Williams.

Looking at H shallow from the Oklahoma Sooners playbook, which is called "Ace Rip 6", we can see the basic concept. Two vertical routes to the outside will draw safety/corner coverage deep, opening up the field underneath. A dig route is ran opposite the shallow route, settling into the first open zone, and a route occupies the flat where the shallow came from.

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From 1999 Oklahoma Sooners playbook LINK

This play, X Shallow, from the game against Cal, is a pretty decent flag bearer for the concept.

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A more memorable example from the Apple Cup

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We were able to see a variety of shallow cross routes from WSU last season. In addition to the two GIFs above, some other plays we observed were;


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Like the mesh, you should be able to see this play develop on TV too. Look for the outside receivers running the shallow crossing route instead of the inside receiver. Oh and they'll be wide open sprinting down the field after they catch it.