With starting QB Connor Mitch injured, Steve Spurrier and the offensive staff got creative in the second half, utilizing a variety of direct-snap plays to Brandon Wilds and Pharoh Cooper as well as getting freshman QB and running threat Lorenzo Nunez into the game for a couple of snaps. The biggest gain the Gamecocks got out of these plays was this long run by Wilds.
This is a really simple play design. Both guards (Will Sport and Mike Matulis) pull to the right side of the line to set up blocks for Wilds. Wilds follows their lead and then chooses his hole based on how the blocking develops.
What makes this play is, first of all, the effective blocking. Carolina doesn't allow any Wildcats defenders to penetrate behind the line of scrimmage to blow the play up, which allows Wilds to cleanly follow the pulling guards. The guards then lay good blocks.
Then it's all Wilds. Brandon shows good vision in choosing the correct hole inside the two guards. He then shows some elusiveness and speed in cutting down the seam before Kentucky safety A.J. Stamps makes a nice shoestring tackle from behind to stop the long gain.
As we get a closer look at him now that he's the featured back, I'm more and more convinced that Brandon Wilds has a legitimate future as an NFL runningback. He has the size, speed, vision, and hands to not only make a roster but potentially get some meaningful playing time. The only question is whether he can stay healthy long term. Let's hope he does.
I'd like to see more direct snaps to Wilds as the season progresses. We ran this play against UNC to good effect, too. Teams with elite defensive linemen (UGA, LSU, etc.) that can penetrate and blow up plays behind the line of scrimmage may do a better job of stopping it, but so far, it's been one of our most successful options.
As an aside, another thing I noticed on this play was that Carlton Heard is busting his butt to lay blocks down field, while Shamier Jeffery, after a good initial block, disengages his man and loafs up field. Jeffery has looked bad blocking on several plays so far this season.