Tennessee’s 2-point conversion play with 8:07 left against Georgia that pulled the Vols to within 28-25 had a familiar look to it. Quarterback Justin Worley made a slight roll to the right before hitting tight end Daniel Helm on somewhat of a delayed drag back to the left.
Where had I seen something like it? Look no further than Tennessee’s MVP guest who was attendance in Athens on Saturday afternoon – Peyton Manning. Manning ran a variation of that play when the Vols played Ole Miss in 1996 and then got back in touch with UT video coordinator Joe Harrington to get film of it so he could implement it in Denver. UTSports ran a feature on Harrington discussing it at a coaches’ clinic in 2013 – a clinic that Butch Jones and his staff hosted.
Here it is with the actual footage of the play at the 2:11 mark:
Now here’s what Tennessee ran on Saturday:
See the similarities? The motion, the movement to the right and the throw back to the left to the open space that was cleared out on the play. It wasn’t an exact replica – it appears that Jones and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian put a few minor twists on it. But the play seems close enough to have been molded from their time with Manning. And who knows – maybe Manning even reminded them or drew it up for them at halftime.
Regardless, Manning had to be thrilled to see that concept work 18 years (interesting number, eh?) after he ran it at UT.