Saturday, December 15, 2007

Coach Rod to Michigan?

Rumors are flying that Rich Rodriguez (The 'Chairman of the Board' around here at talked with The University of Michigan on friday about their head coaching position.

As we all remember, Coach Rod walked this line with Alabama last year before deciding to stay at his alma mater (WVU).

I know the 'Mountaineer Nation' is up in arms that two years in a row now Coach Rod has 'played the field' or 'tested the waters', personally I think it's great for WVU.

How? Because think of it this way, Coach Rod can learn something from talking to the higher arch's at Alabama and Michigan, two storied programs that have a heck of a lot more tradition then West Virginia (and likely more 'insight' on what it takes to become successful and more importantly for WVU 'stay successful').

I've never been in these meetings, but I would think both sides are doing a lot of 'listening' to each other, both learning about each other.

Did last years Alabama courting hurt Coach Rod's recruiting at West Virginia last year? No way, they had a great class come in, the likes of Noel Devine, Jock Sanders, and Brandon Hogan. Sounds like to me it didn't hurt... it likely helped.

Maybe Terrelle Pryor, the highest sought out 'dual threat' QB recruit will hear this from Coach Rod now: "Terrelle, West Virginia is the place to be, I've had my chances to go to Alabama and Michigan the last two years...two programs with loads of football history, and I chose to stay at West Virginia because we are at the pinnacle of greatness (in addition, I'm the "Chairman of the Board" of The Spread Offense), where do you choose?"

We'll see what happens, but my guess is Coach Rod stays in Morgantown.

The Mountaineer's play Oklahoma on January 2nd in the Fiesta Bowl.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Is it a Hoax, Gimmick, or Evolution?... The Spread Offense

It's amazing how 'change' brings out the best and worst of us, not only in sports, but in life. I love when I read through the college football teams blogosphere's and those fans of teams who run more of a conventional offense calling 'The Spread' a hoax, or "gimmick offense".

So, I decided to look up the definitions of both:

hoax (n.) : subject to a playful joke - something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage

gimmick (n.) : an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, one designed to attract attention or increase appeal - a concealed, usually devious aspect or feature of something, as a plan or deal

I think if you look at these two definitions, I would tend to lean towards 'gimmick' over 'hoax', but the "deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage" part of the hoax definition has me intrigued! (Gosh, all these long words... is this English class!).

When I think of 'The Spread Offense', my first thought IS gaining an advantage over the defense based on player numbers (no more 9 blockers vs 11 tacklers scenarios in the running game), tempo (usually in some sort of a no huddle), field or 'grass' (meaning using the entire 53 yards across and the hash-marks to your advantage), and the isolation of skill players or 'athletes' (the need for the defense to tackle well in 'one on one' situations in the open field, making 'gang tackling' harder by the defense).

My mother used to say that 'most trends and styles eventually come back', and I guess in football you're seeing the return of "The Single Wing Offense", but on steroids!! (I know, steroids are a sore subject, you get what I mean though).

The three major changes, two evolutionary of the game and one technological are:

1) The Forward Pass and its complex pass routes

2) The Spread Formation across the entire field

3) On field Headsets linked to the coaches box for real time feedback and play changes

Lets go back to our definitions and now define:

evolution (n.) : development, a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage); "the development of ...

My vote for "The Spread Offense" is: evolution

Now...join the evolution and spread 'em out!! (and enjoy the show, it's a lot of fun).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Add Auburn to 'The Spread Offense' list

News out of Auburn University's football program is that they have hired Tony Franklin to be their new offensive coordinator, starting immediately.

Tommy Tuberville hired Franklin from Troy on Wednesday to replace Al Borges. Auburn was 8-4 this season, but struggled offensively.

Auburn ranked 101st out of 119 teams in offense, while high-scoring Troy was 17th running Franklin's no-huddle attack.

Troy led the nation with 81.5 plays per game in Franklin's second season as coordinator. He previously coached at Kentucky under Hal Mumme.

Tuberville said that Auburn will still be physical and run the football, noting that Troy had about a 50-50 mix this season. "The biggest difference in philosophy is he's going to set up the run by passing, while we've set up the pass by running the ball."

The spread means that the quarterback has to be multi-dimensional. "He's your main man," Tuberville said. "He runs it, he throws it, he hands it off, he does it all. . . . Everything is built around the quarterback."

Auburn will play Clemson in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl, and Tuberville didn't rule out a 'sneak-peek' of the spread in that game, though with only about 10 days of practice, it may make it very hard to execute.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Corona Centennial has quite the spread

The unstoppable offense featuring Scott and Bass will try to knock off undefeated De La Salle in the CIF state Division I championship bowl.

December 12, 2007 - Source: Los Angeles Times Sports

There can't be anything more frightening for a high school football coach these days than trying to figure out how to stop Corona Centennial's seemingly unstoppable spread offense."You have to rely on a fumble," Santa Ana Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson quipped, and his team defeated the Huskies, 51-37, on Oct. 4 despite surrendering 681 total yards.

The genius of the offense devised by Coach Matt Logan is that the Huskies can run or pass with equal effectiveness out of a shotgun formation. And they have athletes, Matt Scott and Ryan Bass, at the quarterback and running back positions that no other team in the state can match. "I think a lot of the spread offense is predicated on who is playing quarterback and who is playing running back, and they have two of the best I've ever seen," Concord De La Salle Coach Bob Ladouceur said. De La Salle (12-0) gets the last crack at Centennial (13-1) on Saturday night in the CIF state Division I championship bowl game at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Bass has rushed for 6,337 yards and scored 99 touchdowns in his three-year varsity career, but Scott is the trigger man, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior with three years of quarterback experience but only two years as a varsity starter. His speed and ability to execute a no-huddle offense makes him the standout player on display this weekend. He has rushed for 1,010 yards and passed for 2,326 yards. "His development the last two years has been absolutely incredible," Logan said. "The best thing he does is he's so smart out there. It sometimes gets lost with all he does. "The signs of Scott's emergence as a bona fide top college prospect could be seen during the summer. Dressed in a tank top, with muscles visible, he showed off a powerful right arm and the ability to roam the field with the quickness of a running back. Arizona offered him a scholarship and he quickly accepted.

Bass is also headed to Arizona. Another important aspect to the Huskies' offensive success is that no-huddle scheme. It creates such a quick tempo that defenses have a difficult time adjusting, let alone getting substitutes into the game. "It's really hard to simulate in practice," Logan said. Centennial has five coaches talking with each other on headphones, thinking a play ahead. Once the play is signaled in, Scott can look at the defense and decide how to proceed."We try to get the defense tired and overpower them," Scott said. What's unusual about the offense is that it's run-first. The conventional wisdom about a shotgun formation has been that it's pass-first. Logan was told countless times he'd have trouble devising a consistent rushing attack, especially as the ball nears the goal line.

But Scott and Bass have proven the perfect fit for a formation that spreads the defense and dares opponents to cover individuals one on one."They're very impressive," Ladouceur said. "They're better than any team we've faced."Of course, Centennial isn't unbeatable. Mater Dei figured out how to defeat the Huskies -- the Monarchs outscored them in a nonleague game that featured a state-record 1,302 total yards. Scott rushed for 177 yards and passed for 178 yards.That's the dilemma for defenses. Do you force Scott to run? Do you force Scott to pass?At times, he is capable of pulling off the same athletic feats as some of the best college quarterbacks. "I would love to put myself up with Tim Tebow and Dennis Dixon," he said. "They're great quarterbacks. Unfortunately, I'm not there yet. "He's getting closer with every game.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Welcome to

It is my pleasure to welcome you to My name is Mark Colyer, the founder of this web log (you know, 'blog') as well as the website:

Just a little history on myself, I've been involved with the game of football since I was 6 years old (that would be 33 years). When my older brother (John 'JC' Colyer) joined the town Pop Warner team (The North Arlington Leaders) in 1974. My father, John Sr. was the first booster club president of this newly developed town football program. My father never coached, but he was always involved, and would help out in many ways with both me and my brother.

I was the 'water boy' of my brother's Pop Warner team until I was able to play myself in 1976 at the age of 8 years old.

I still remember the first night football game I ever saw (1976), it was at Breslin Field in Lyndhurst, NJ - The North Arlington Leaders vs. Queen of Peace CYO of North Arlington. This was like Michigan vs. Ohio State, USC vs. UCLA, Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, PITT vs. West Virginia (a real 'backyard brawl') to the town of North Arlington.

The town's parish CYO team was the established program, a powerhouse stacked with talent from 5 neighboring tri-county town's from Bergen, Essex, and Hudson counties in New Jersey (even at the middle school level, the parochial schools can recruit), going up against the 'new' program on the block, the 'misfits' of sorts who either couldn't make the CYO team, or didn't even try.

The energy was incredible, cow bells ringing from the filled stands, fan's screaming, fire engine trucks horn's blowing... for a bunch of 12 and 13 year old kids! The shining lights in the black night on the teams helmet's was breath taking... the crackling of pads and helmets was so exhilarating! I was a narcotic, the crisp autumn air and surroundings engulfed me.

As you would expect, the outcome was not good for the town team. The game was close early, but the CYO team ran away with it in the 2nd half, just too much talent for the town squad to handle.

Why bore you with this? (I know, you're saying... this blog sucks... where's the detail explanation of Coach Rod's West Virginia triple option out of twins/open set?) well, that night under the Northern NJ lights I saw my first 'athlete'. That's right... what I call in my older days now a 'stud', 'player', or 'the bambino'.

His name was Paul Cure, he played tailback for the Queen of Peace CYO team. He was a 'man amongst boys' at the age of 13, he ran like a gazelle, and under the lights it was like watching 'Magic', a magician on the grass just run around, over, through, and between everyone else on the field, the end zone was his home. Too much speed and athletic talent!

It didn't matter if his teammates made the 'perfect' block, or if they even knew how to block, Paul Cure was going to make a play...and eventually many BIG Plays!

That night, I knew the sport of football was very special. The emotions from both sides in both winning and losing where incredible...the thrill of victory seemed 'intoxicating', the agony of defeat seemed 'crushing'.

I also realized that the only difference between these two totally opposite emotions and outcomes was one thing, 'Paul Cure', an 'athlete' put into a position by his coaches of mismatches to exploit the other team.

There simple middle school toss sweep was just as effective as a perfectly executed bubble screen, there off-tackle tailback blast was just as effective as an inside zone read hand-off out of the gun.

I realized this at the age of 8 years old, one 'Magician' executing to perfection amongst 21 others on a field 53 yards long and 100 yards wide caused such an event, and emotional uproar, good for one team, bad for POWERFUL!

Preparation only did so much for the losers... the team that lost was emotionally and mentally prepared. What they weren't prepared for was a physical mismatch... speed, strength, acceleration, change of direction, and endurance.

I went on to see a few more offensive 'Magicians' in my life... one was a teammate of mine from the age of 9 years old up through high school (Darrin Czellecz, I had to mention him), others opponents (as a player and coach), others from the bleachers as a fan, and others in the 'archives' of the sport of football.

Another offensive 'magician' who actually played with my brother in High School, went on to play college at William and Mary in the early-mid 80's, and I eventually reunited with during my coaching years was Bernie Marrazzo.

Bernie, a magician at tailback on the high school football field himself once told me "Mark, in regards to speed on the football field, you either got it, or you're chasing it " ... isn't that the truth!

Here's my personal list of offensive 'Magicians' I've been around:

Paul Cure - (CYO - Pop Warner level - No idea what happened to him)

Bernie Marrazzo - (High School - played with my brother - played at William and Mary)

Darrin Czellecz - (My teammate from Pop Warner through High School - played at Rutgers)

Ed Campbell - (Coached him in high school, my first 'spread QB' from 1995-96 - played at Massachusetts)

Mike Kraft - (Coached him in high school, my spread 'QB' in 1997 - played at Sacred Heart)

I'm sure as coaches and players we all have our list... guys that in our own given situation we would be thrilled to line up in a spread offense, no matter what era we're in.

In conclusion I would like to say this.... I've been involved in some form of the Spread Offense for about eleven years now (since 1996). I truly feel that if you can find the right 'athletes' or 'magicians' to execute this offense, you will be very successful and have a lot of fun.

For me, I stumbled upon the 'spread' in 1995 as a high school coach (offensive coordinator). Our team was having a difficult time protecting our passer (a kid named Ed Campbell, listed above). My father (a loyal fan of the teams I coached) mentioned to me about 3 weeks in a row to try the 'shot-gun' to give the quarterback some extra time. I said "Dad, the're crazy!" My Dad was thinking more of the Dallas Cowboy, Roger Staubach shot-gun, strictly for passing purposes to get more time in the pocket.

We finally installed it for the last two games of the year (we had nothing to lose, our pass protection was horrible), and it was very successful not only for passing, but for allowing our quarterback (a very mobile and tough kid) the ability to improvise with his feet and gain some good chunks of yardage. This was out of the pro-set we ran our shot-gun sets those two games in 1995, not nearly the 'spread the field' I would use the following year.

That upcoming bowl season (January, 1996) pitted Nebraska vs Florida in the Fiesta Bowl for the national title. Tommie Frazier was the quarterback at Nebraska, and of course 'The Ol Ball Coach' was at Florida flinging it around (one of my favorite plays is still the old 'Gator Counter', the toss pitch, TB misdirection play, with the option of handing it back to the QB for a pass).

This was my defining moment with The Spread Offense: Tommie Frazier in the Fiesta Bowl got in the shot gun, twin receivers to both sides (yes, Nebraska... the ram it down your throat I formation team, two tight ends team) and ran a QB counter (faking a zone hand-off to Lawrence Phillips out of the gun) Frazier than ran behind a kick-out and gut block from the backside guard and tackle. The play got about 12 yards, and my jaw dropped!!

Right there... I GOT IT!! It's now 11 on 11... with players spread from number to number across the field, no more QB handing off the ball and watching 10 on offense play 11 on defense (actually if you think about it, it's 9 vs 11 when the ball is handed off, the QB and running back with the football cannot assist in blocking 11 defensive players). Life is about numbers, and a quarterback handing off never allows for a 'zero-sum' scenario. Sure... great offenses function perfectly in this state of a numerical mismatch and many running backs are in the hall of fame as a result.

I truly believe this phenomena is catching the attention of A LOT of football people at the college level. For example, I heard Lou Holtz on a radio show mention that "The Spread Offense as it is now in college football may require a rule change allowing the defense to play with 12 players".

Kirk Herbstreit mentioned at the Heisman trophy presentation this year, "Scoring in college football reached an all-time high this season (2007), the reason being the execution of The Spread Offense by teams throughout the country".

Getting back to my high school team, the next season (1996), with my athletic, fast, and strong quarterback returning as a senior, we installed my version of The Spread Offense. Ed Campbell ran for 850 yards (7 rushing TD's) and threw for 1,000 in 10 games that year (we also had a 1,050 yard rusher at tailback and a fullback who ran for 700 yards). We averaged 38 points per game, and went 8-2 on the season.

Putting all the 'intangibles' a player needs to succeed aside (which I know are very, very important - heart, determination, work ethic, character, guts, desire, etc...) ...finding the right group of six athletes to execute the spread could make you look very good as a coach.

And of course there's the O-Line, the guys up front who get no recognition in the success of 'the spread' but without them all those 'athletes' are not running for touchdown's, but for their lives!

I hope we can become acquaintances as this blog and our main site develop.... my goal is to offer valuable information, and keep all 'ego's' aside in developing a resource to help us all become great at running, coaching, preparing for, training for, playing in, being recruited by, evolving, and enjoying the football spread offense.

Please, send the ideas of what you want to see from either site I'm developing.... no idea is too creative or 'out of the realm' (If we can afford to do it!).

I am also looking for quality content articles related to the spread offense (running it, defending it, training for it, coaching tips, off-season tips, college, recruiting for it, high school, pro's, pop warner, you name it) once our site: launches in January 2008 , and we're paying $20 per good content articles.

If interested in submitting articles, please contact me.

I look forward to everyone's feedback and participation.



Mark Colyer


ph#: 1-201-966-8076 (ET)