Stanford Film Study: Double Slant

Oct. 19, 2022, 6:50 p.m.

Similar to the scissors concept in a previous installation of Stanford Film Study, the double slant concept tries to expose Cover 2 zone and man coverages. However, instead of testing the safety, the quarterback will try to read one of the inside linebackers and make a read depending on their movement. Stanford head coach David Shaw uses double slant as part of his West Coast quick passing game. 

How does the Double Slant work?

In the double slant concept, a slot receiver will run a “skinny” slant while an outside receiver will run a regular slant route. The quarterback will then read the mike linebacker (linebacker aligned to the strong side) to see which receiver he covers. If he decides to cover the inside slant, then the quarterback will throw it to the receiver running an outside slant. Instead, if the mike drops to cover the outside slant, the inside slant will be open. This concept creates a quick read for the quarterback and allows him to get the ball out quickly. 

Stanford has the ability to run the concept effectively this season because they possess strong, athletic receivers with large catch radii. 

Here’s an example of the Cardinal running the concept in their upset of then-No. 3 Oregon last year. 

During the play, tight end Benjamin Yurosek is aligned tight to the offensive line, while wide receiver Elijah Higgins is spaced out several yards from Yurosek. Yurosek takes two steps before breaking inside and taking the attention of the mike linebacker. At the same time, Higgins takes five steps before he makes his inside break. Austin Jones, who transferred to USC over the offseason, runs a circle route, which attempts to take the attention of the will linebacker (linebacker aligned to the weak side).

Yurosek’s route is able to create an open throwing window for quarterback Tanner McKee, who then rifles a pass to Higgins. Higgins catches the ball, and is able to get some yards after the catch to put the Cardinal in the red zone.

Some coaches are afraid of running the double slant concept due to the risk of interceptions. But with a pin-point accurate quarterback in McKee and physical receivers, look for Stanford to run the double slant concept against Cover 2 zone and man teams.

Kaushik Sampath is a desk editor for the sports section. He is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Arkansas, who's undecided on his major. You can catch him watching and ranting about his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks or hanging out with friends on campus. Contact him at sports 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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