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Syracuse Football: The Ervin Philips-Tavon Austin Comparison

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In an interview with Nate Mink of Syracuse.Com, Erv Philips shared that his role would be similar to the role played by former West Virginia standout, Tavon Austin. What could this mean for SU's starting Hybrid, let's take a look?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

"Tavon is one of my favorite players," Philips said following Tuesday's practice. "I feel like that's kind of the role I'll be playing. I'm going to be all over the place"

Based upon these comments from Ervin Philips, I thought it would be interesting to look at some West Virginia Mountaineers highlights for a glimpse at how they used Tavon Austin in some different ways during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. I'm not claiming to be any football expert, but I think these are good examples of the variety of methods employed to get Austin in space and could be ways that Syracuse Orange OC Tim Lester tries to emulate as he implements his system.

To start, here is a clip that SU released this week of Erv running the jet sweep in camp. In this clip, it looks like he's lined up as a wing and starts to motion towards Hunt when the ball is snapped. Note that this formation is an empty backfield look

Now, here is how a WVU jet sweep it looked in-game action for Austin. Notice how WVU runs it off of a run fake, but also has the FB and LT as lead blockers for Austin as he comes back across the field to counter the defense flowing to the ball.

Tavon Austin Jet Sweep

In this clip, WVU clears the middle of the field and gets Austin in man coverage against a LB and let's him run a post route out of a 3 WR set. The outside WR looks to be running a go route to occupy the safety while the 2nd WR runs an in which confuses the coverage as the defenders seem unsure as to who is taking that in-route. The slight hesitation by #9 allows Austin to blow past him and make for an easy TD toss.

In this next clip, WVU gets Austin on a slant behind the zone and allows him to get into space to utilize his speed. Once again, a 3WR set w/Austin on the inside is used. The two outside receivers occupy the attention of the CB and safety and allow Austin to get behind the coverage making for an easy throw over the middle. As in the previous clip, Austin only needs a step to get into space where he's able to turn a short throw into a huge play.

In this play, Austin is in motion across the field and Geno Smith simply taps the snap to him in stride. Smith then proceeds to carry out a play fake to hold the pursuit. Austin once again has lead blockers in front to get him into the secondary.

Another play-fake, this time Austin comes behind Smith and takes the end around for a huge gain. The running back is in position after the fake to become another blocker as Austin accelerates and takes this one 80 yards for a score.

Austin dominated Clemson in the 2014 Orange Bowl this clip is of him again running a jet sweep. Austin starts in motion so he's able to take the hand-off in stride and you'll see once again that the HB is used as a lead blocker and gets Austin to the edge.

As you can see, WVU was successful at putting their big play-maker in situations where he had open room and opportunities. For Syracuse fans looking for an upgrade on the offensive side of the ball in 2015, the idea that Phillips could be put in similar situations has to be exciting, don't you think?