Auburn made Texas A&M look silly Saturday night with a trick play. Gus Malzahn calls it "Woody." Brent Musburger called it "The Hidden Human Trick." Freshman WR Ryan Davis hid behind the Auburn offensive line, crouched, and nobody noticed that he was even there until well after QB Jeremy Johnson handed him the ball.
It was the first touch of Davis' career, and it was beautiful. The Aggies completely missed him as he hid with the ball, and he sprinted upfield for a 28-yard gain on 1st-and-25.
Two things made this play work.
One is that Davis is very tiny! He's the smallest scholarship player on the roster, including kickers. At 5'9, only three Auburn players are shorter than Davis. At 164 pounds, only one Auburn player is lighter than Davis. All of Auburn's kickers are taller and heavier than Davis. But he's not an undersized walk-on -- he's a four-star freshman whose speed made him an elite WR prospect even though he played QB in high school. This was Davis' first career touch, and he was the perfect guy to get it.
And look at the offensive line:
Auburn lined up with a sixth offensive lineman on the right side of the formation. While Gus Malzahn likes to spread the field, here he has his lineman lined up inches apart, with their shoulders brushing up on each other. And they're standing on their tippy-toes, not the typical crouch a lineman keeps to maintain leverage. Even Jeremy Johnson is standing pretty tall over the center. They do a pretty good job of forming a wall.
And they don't move a muscle. Look at where they are when the ball is snapped:
And where they are as Davis sprints downfield:
Look at the guy standing directly in front of the line, Texas A&M defensive tackle Chris Jones. Auburn's offensive line did such a good job remaining stationary and such a good job visually blocking the backfield that Jones is still standing there, curiously peering into the backfield, as Davis sprints downfield towards a first down.
This is one of Malzahn's favorite tricks. He calls the play "Woody," and ran it in the 2010 SEC Championship game -- it didn't work -- and in 2006 when he was at Arkansas against Auburn, for a 29-yard gain.
Here's to small guys and big guys working together in tandem.
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