Every NFL play is derivative. It's 11 players on offense vs. 11 players on defense, all lining up in generally the same spots and doing the same stuff.
Every now and then, though, I see something on film that makes me pause and rewind. "Wait, what just happened?" It's smart coaches making tweaks to formations and play designs that we've all seen a thousand times.
I love to watch college film to see who's innovating. Which coaches are scheming-open their players and putting up points?
I found eight unique college football plays -- all touchdowns from this season -- that made me perk up. From a variation off a jet sweep in the Big 12 to some fun option football in the Sun Belt, NFL teams need to steal these plays right now.
West Virginia's jet sweep/post-wheel
Oklahoma's Brooks breaks free for 45-yard TD
Oklahoma RB Kennedy Brooks takes the carry, finds a seam and zips to the end zone on a 45-yard touchdown run.
What's happening: With quarterback Will Grier in the gun, the Mountaineers use play-action off a jet sweep to set up the post-wheel concept. In WVU's playbook, the man on the jet sweep turns into the wheel. With the outside receiver pushing inside on the post to occupy both the cornerback and the safety, there's an open void in the coverage for Gary Jennings to convert the jet sweep to the wheel route up the boundary. Look how open he is -- that's a layup for Grier to get the score. Nasty stuff.
Why it's unique: We see the post-wheel concept at every level of the game, especially under the Friday night lights with spread teams out of 2x2 sets. But running the wheel off jet takes time. Teams have to trust their offensive line ... or give them help. That's why West Virginia uses seven-man protection, with both the tight end and running back staying behind to block. That gives Grier the time to spot Jennings running uncovered up the field.
The perfect NFL fit: Kansas City Chiefs. It's the speed of Tyreek Hill in an offense under Andy Reid that loves to use pre-snap misdirection and play-action. Just picture Hill turning that route up the field. And with the boundary corner now removed because of the post route, there is open grass for Patrick Mahomes to dial up a deep shot to the NFL's fastest man.
Oklahoma's GT lead
Alabama scores on second play from scrimmage
Tua Tagovailoa throws a dart to WR Jerry Jeudy for an 81-yard touchdown, putting Alabama up 7-0 early.
What's happening: Out of a split-back look, the Sooners run the GT scheme, which means the backside guard and tackle pull while the other back digs out more room and leads the way for Kennedy Brooks. With opposing defenses forced to account for Kyler Murray, the Oklahoma quarterback can influence the backside edge defender off the mesh point, forcing him to stay home. You can see that defender hesitate just for a second -- while Brooks runs past him.
Why it's unique: Classic GT power and GT read -- with the quarterback reading the edge defender -- show up consistently across high school and college football. But I really like the spin OU coach Lincoln Riley puts on this concept out of a split-back set. It looks easy, right? Wrong. Riley puts a lead blocker in front of his back at the point of attack, adding one more guy defenders have to account for. That allows the offense to get up on an overhang linebacker or a strong safety rolled down. Teams have to have athletic offensive linemen for this, too. Move your feet, boys, and lead the way for an untouched 45-yard touchdown.
The perfect NFL fit: Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have shown the GT scheme this season, with quarterback Dak Prescott influencing that backside edge defender. That keeps the opposing edge defender at home in case Prescott keeps it. But with Riley's setup, the Cowboys could use an extra tight end to create the split-back look or go with 21 personnel (2RB-1TE-2WR) to get fullback Jamize Olawale in the game. The result is more bodies to the play side and more running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott to push the ball up the field.