For as mindless as two-point conversion attempts are, especially against an inferior opponent while leading, Lane Kiffin’s Trojans used it as an opportunity to add a new wrinkle to the offense on Saturday, when Marqise Lee lined up in the wildcat formation in the first quarter of a 50-6 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes.
Lee was stopped just short of the goal line on a keeper to the right, but despite the play not earning the Trojans a pair of spare points, the idea of the talented jitterbug in the wildcat is more than intriguing.
The last few seasons and before his departure for the NFL, Marc Tyler was the Trojans’ go-to wildcat quarterback, although the formation generally was not an overall success. Dillon Baxter was seemingly built for the formation given his experience running it in high school, but Kiffin and Baxter had a marriage that not even Kim Kardashian would envy, ultimately solidifying Tyler’s role.
This year, Kiffin has shied away from the fad, raising the question as to whether he doubts the value of the scheme in his offense or if Lee was selected as the wildcat quarterback all along, and Kiffin was just waiting for the package to be unleashed at the right time in the season.
Either way, given Lee’s vision and elusiveness, especially in tight quarters, he seems built for the role, even if he’s a receiver by trade. Plus, somewhere in a Nike-themed office space in Eugene, Nick Aliotti was surely taking note of the formation while scouting his Ducks’ next two opponents.
If Kiffin never puts Lee in the wildcat for another down this season, it will still be a formation that teams will have to prepare for, thereby making it a wrinkle with tremendous value even if it’s never used.
If you’re Lane Kiffin, what would you do?