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One Awesome Play: Renard Bell roasts the USC secondary down the seam

Renard Bell goes deep again! This time beating his defender in a straight up foot race.

USC v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

After back-to-back games with over 100 yards receiving, Renard Bell (5-8/162) has transformed Wazzu’s “H” inside receiver into a big-play position. Bell is currently averaging 19.4 yards per catch, which leads the team, and is tied for second nationally with three receptions over 50 yards.

The Coug H position has hovered around averaging a handful of touches for 50 yards a game for about the entire time Mike Leach has been at WSU. Now, with Bell stepping into a starter’s share of reps, the Washington State Cougars’ biggest deep threat has come from one of its smallest receivers.

Friday, the Cougs traded punts with USC for a couple of series after both teams put up points on their opening drives. With ten seconds left in the first quarter, quarterback Luke Falk and the Wazzu offense took the field at their own 11 yard line.

They’d score in less than a minute of game time later.



The Cougs start in their 2x2 formation “Ace” and motion Bell across formation before the snap into their 3x1 “Early” set. USC makes little adjustment to the motion, already playing a combo coverage to the field side.

The Trojans show six crowding the line, but only bring four, twisting the stand up backer and right defensive tackle. The other backer drops to an underneath hook-to-curl zone looking for in-breaking routes. The stand-up end to the field side drops a few steps and spies the Coug running back, Jamal Morrow, who leaks to the flat after the pass protection is set.

The outside receivers each run hitches to the sticks (presumably X does to the left of formation but is off-screen), and Kyle Sweet (Y) runs an in-route (loosely translated as a “middle curl” here) at 10 yards.

Renard Bell is shot out of a cannon at the snap on a go route down the seam. USC turns this into de facto man coverage, with the safety closing on Sweet’s route and leaving the nickel one-on-one with Bell.

The nickel hesitates just a moment and Bell dusts him.

Bell and Jamire Calvin are proving themselves both to be capable deep threats at inside receiver, which is something we haven’t seen a lot of in this offense at WSU. If it weren’t for four-yard games against Montana State and Oregon State, H would be averaging well over 100 yards a game.

Having a credible threat like that inside can only help open things up for other positions. I, for one, welcome our new deep threat overlords.