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Perfect Combinations: Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry

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We expect to see packages for the two all season, but I don't think we expected the varied ways the two would be used this past weekend.

177 yards per game, and 11 yards per touch. And he's the "backup."
177 yards per game, and 11 yards per touch. And he's the "backup."
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry are the most feared tandem in college football. One possesses dancer's grace, agility, blazing speed and world class hands, the other is as a big, powerful back with the ability to tip-toe between tight spaces, blast defenders and reach another gear when hitting the second level.

It was almost a certainty that the two would be paired up in packages that brought both players on the field. And, while they were, perhaps the most interesting way the two were used as decoys for themselves and one another.

In this first reception/run, Drake is lined up outside, and motions across the formation. Jacob Coker and Derrick Henry are in the backfield. As the ball is snapped, Coker shovels it to Drake, who then waits for Derrick Henry to out-sprint him to the outside to seal off any tacklers, while Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart lead him downfield.

It's the first time we really see the shovel-look with both players on the field, and the play goes for 68 yards and a near touchdown.

The second play, has a lot of interesting things going on, and is a fake bubble screen. Drake, Foster and Stewart are lined up trips to the wide side, with Coker and Henry in the backfield.  When the ball is snapped, watch the receiver grouping motion to a bubble-screen look, with Foster being the receiver on the play. The MTSU secondary has no idea what's going on on, because meanwhile, Henry gets the handoff, and it's just downhill, goal-line play up front; just a hat on a hat.

Neither of these plays are vertical, play action, or an option look. Neither of them line the duo up in the backfield. But, the presence of both on the field stretches out the defense, and, when coupled with Kiffin's penchant to throw screens at any position on the field, really is too much for a standard goal line defense to process.

While these are new wrinkles, we have by no means seen the way that the two will be employed as the season progresses. There are undoubtedly wrinkles in store to keep the Ole Miss front seven honest, and to exploit the gaps in the zone that Alabama will see with Ole Miss' 3-3-5 look.

Oh, and those two? They're not doing too shabby individually either:

Kenyan Drake is 12th in FBS in all-purpose yards, at 177.5 per game, he has two touchdowns, and averages 11.0 yards per touch from scrimmage.

Derrick Henry leads the country with six rushing TDs and has 243 yards on the ground in two games, averaging nearly 8 yards a carry.