The next time former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick (a friend of Groh’s) cross paths, they have at least one new topic of conversation.
Both of their defenses have been foiled by the same gadget play.
The trick play that produced a touchdown reception for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in the second quarter of the Super Bowl was the same one that Clemson ran for a two-point conversion against the Yellow Jackets in their 2012 meeting at Memorial Stadium.
In fact, the Eagles took it from the Chicago Bears, who had copied it from Clemson, according to the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C.
Though run from different formations and at opposite hashmarks, the Eagles and Clemson plays were largely identical. On Sunday, Foles left his spot in the shotgun, appearing to communicate with the right side of the line. While there, running Corey Clement took the direct snap out of the shotgun and ran left before tossing the ball on a reverse to tight end Trey Burton. Foles slipped out of the backfield to the right flat, where he was wide open for a touchdown.
Against Tech, Clemson used it on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter with the Tigers ahead 36-31. In that play, Tajh Boyd employed the same subterfuge as Foles, leaving his shotgun post in a guise of calling out a change to the line. Running back Andre Ellington took the shotgun snap and ran left before pitching to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins coming back the other way. Boyd snuck out unnoticed to the right flat, where he was open to haul in Hopkins’ pass.
Clemson went on to win 47-31, with the Tigers rolling up 601 yards of offense. The game proved to be Groh’s last, as he was dismissed two days later.