Thursday, October 9, 2008

Auburn Fires Franklin - Remain Committed To The Spread Offense

Auburn University fired offensive coordinator and spread offense guru Tony Franklin on Wednesday just ten months into his tenure.

Tommy Tuberville, the head coach at Auburn said he remained committed to the spread offense, but a change in play calling and style was required and he was going with his 'gut felling' on the decision.

"It hurts. It hurts bad," Tuberville said on Wednesday. "It's a difficult situation. It's a difficult thing to do in the middle of the season. My responsibility is to this football team and it always will be. Tony's a good person. When it all comes down to it, it's about production. I didn't think over the last few weeks we were making any progress."

Tuberville hired Franklin from Troy last December after firing Al Borges. Franklin led the offense in the Chick-fil-A Bowl — a victory over Clemson that created a lot of excitement over the new offense at Auburn.

Auburn plays Arkansas this Saturday in an SEC battle.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Missouri Tigers Clearly The Cream Of The Spread Offense

After the first 5 weeks of the 2008 college football season, it's obvious that Missouri's spread offense lead by Chase Daniel is the most exciting and diverse in college football.

Through four games, Daniel has completed 101-of-133 passes for 1,412 yards, 12 touchdowns and one interception.

Not to mention one of the most exciting skill players in the country, Mr. Everything Jeremy Maclin.

To read more about Missouri's recent win over Nebraska, Click Here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Spread Offense Gets A Shot In The Arm From... The NFL's Miami Dolphins??

The spread offense in college has been sort of taking it on the chin the last few weeks, with the likes of Auburn and West Virginia having a difficult time getting their offenses in gear so far (Thank God for Missouri...what an offense that is!) this year.

Then out of the clear blue, this past Sunday saw the emergence of the 'South Florida Spread' (no, not Matt Grothe and the USF Bulls in Tampa), the Miami Dolphins!

That's right, the Dolphins of the AFC East took the New England Patriots behind the wood shed with some solid defensive play and a taste of the Arkansas 'Wild Cat and Wild Hog' Offense made so famous by Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

In this case, it was Ronnie Brown who was in the shot-gun orchestrating the famous spread offense formation, surely under the tutelage of Miami's quarterback coach David Lee, from you guessed it... The University of Arkansas.

See Coach Lee explaining his offense - Click Here

On Sunday, Brown gained 113 yards on 17 carries and the Dolphins out gained the Patriots 461 yards to 216.

Ronnie Brown, typically used as a tailback, received six direct snaps resulting in four touchdowns (three runs, one pass).

This will be interesting to see how it develops as the year goes on, will you see this package every week by Miami? Will other pro teams consider trying this or a similar spread offense/single wing package with a great athlete?

Time will tell... remember our prediction on the college spread offense making its way into the NFL - click here - Maybe it'll happen sooner!

Keep spreading u'm!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

QB Sweep - Simple And Effective Shot-Gun Spread Offense Play

QB Sweep Diagram (#1) Inside Slot Counter Trap #2 (off QB Sweep action)

Many spread offense's are pumping more and more rushing yards out of their athletic quarterback's (QB's). One of the simplest, yet effective plays out of the shot-gun is the QB Sweep (see diagram #1 above). This is also a great play to put in with your Tailback (TB) because it allows him to do what he is used to doing.

The QB will simply read the block of the #3 receiver (or inside slot). If the they get the hook he will sweep outside. If they kick-out, the QB will cut up and inside the block.

If you really want to keep the defense honest, compliment the QB sweep with the inside slot counter trap (see diagram #2 above). This could be either an inside hand-off or flip (schuffle) toss.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Patrick White THROWS 5 TD Passes To Lead West Virginia In Opener

Pat White, the 4 year starting quarterback of the West Virginia Mountaineer's highly productive spread offense and a leading preseason Heisman candidate in 2008 broke another Mountaineer record on Saturday, this time not with his magic leg's, but with his arm.

White threw 5 touchdown passes against Villanova, a top 'sub-division' football program that consistently challenged the Mountaineer offense by placing 8 and 9 guys in the box in an attempt to slow up the anticipated 'zone read' rushing show by White and Noel Devine.

When new Mountaineer head coach Bill Stewart hired Jeff Mullen as the WVU offensive coordinator in early 2008, he did so knowing that Mullen was a 'take what they give you' type of offensive coach, something the Mountaineer's have been accused of ignoring the past few years under the past regime of Rich Rodriguez.

Mullen stated after the the 48-21 West Virginia win Saturday, “I was pleased with his decision making. Fundamentally and athletically, the kid has been blessed before I ever got a hold of him”. “I was just real happy with where his eyes went to on every pass play in order for those completions to occur."

“I’m a guru right?” Mullen joked. “There were a number of times today and during Patrick’s career when you go, ‘Wow, that wasn’t a very good call and then old #5 gets you out of that bind. He’s certainly a blessing to coach.

White finished with career highs in completions (25) and attempts (33). Six incompletions were the result of drops or poor receiver play, an area Mullen and Stewart expect to improve on.

Pat White, who has been compared at times to Vince Young looked more like Steve Young versus Villanova, standing tall in the pocket and firing accurate passes from his strong left arm.

This latest development out of Morgantown must be sending shivers up the spines of defensive coordinators having to face White and the Mountaineer's this year.

Just when you thought the 'game plan' executed so well by Pittsburgh and South Florida last year against the Mountaineer's powerful run game was a possible 'formula for success' (then again, White was hurt and not 100% in both of those games...), Patrick White shows us yesterday that his hard work in the off season and guidance from Jeff Mullen (previously at Wake Forest) has really improved his passing ability, giving the WVU offense the much needed balance it has needed the past three years.

The Mountaineer's have a great challenge ahead of them this week as they head to East Carolina, themselves coming off a great win over a ranked Virginia Tech team.


WVU Highlights vs. Villanova (Pat White, 5 TD Passes)

Friday, August 8, 2008

College Rule Change Favors A No Huddle Spread Offense

College Football made some revisions this off-season to its 266 page rule book that will significantly help an already established offense that runs out of the no huddle spread offense in 2008 and beyond.

The 25 second clock, that was once reset after officials marked the ball, is now a secondary player. This year, a 40 second clock starts immediately at the end of every play. Only for reasons such as a penalty, time-out, or measurement will an offense receive a full 25 seconds from the spot of the ball.

This could be tough on offenses that rotate personnel often into the game, and it could have a big impact on a team huddling prior to coming to the line of scrimmage.

Chalk one up for the no-huddle spread offense teams out there in college football, you're ahead of the game and this important rule change.

Check out an article on this subject by Ivan Maisel of below:

Go to:


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Are Your Ready For Some Spread Offense

As the 2008 College Football season draws closer, we thought this video of all of Tim Tebow's touchdown's last year, his heisman trophy season would get you in the mood for some serious 'spread offense' (or single wing.... looking at the video).

Enjoy Below:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How To Defend A Spread Offense Passing Attack

In this article, I will present how we defend against a predominately pass offense that runs just some zone read in the spread offense. The first thoughts in my mind are down and distance and where the ball is on the field. Our calls will change as the field become shorter, the score of the game and time left on the clock. I classify my thoughts in four general categories: A. Five in the box , B. Five and a half in the box, C. Six in the box and D. Seven in the box.

To read more, visit this article with diagrams at:

Friday, June 6, 2008

Balanced Offense Redefined - The Spread Offense

You can hear about it everyday from fans with even the most basic knowledge of the game of football. It is something that some spread offense coaches meticulously strive for, despite the fact that there are no points awarded for it, and some of the most successful coaches at any level completely disregard it. “It” is balance in play calling.

To read this entire article, please go to:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Running Backs As Blockers In The Spread Offense

The running back position in the spread offense requires not only the ability to carry the ball and catch the ball, but also an aggressive desire to block on both running plays and passing plays.

This article will be split up between explanations of two pass blocking concepts followed by run blocking explanations using the running back(s) out of the backfield.

To view the entire article with diagrams, go to:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Using the Running Back as a Receiving Threat in The Spread Offense

The running back in today’s spread offenses is meant to be more than just a running threat; he must also be a threat out of the backfield and spread out wide as a receiving weapon as well. This gives the quarterback another viable option in the passing game and will likely give the defense different problems that may alter what they do, which is the whole point.

To read more about this spread offense article with diagrams, go to:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Defending The Spread Offense Option Attack

When defending the spread option, the first thing we think about is what form of structure we want for our defense. As all football progresses in cycles, what we are really defending is the triple option without a seal block. The offense is trying to seal our LB by the action of the RB. We choose to defend the spread attack using a 3-4 (5-2) defensive structure. We like this defense because it adds an extra athlete to match the athleticism of the offense.

To read more of this article (with diagrams), go to:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spread Offense Q&A - Nunzio Campanile - Don Bosco Prep High School - NJ

It's a pleasure to have Nunzio Campanile in our second coaches Q&A session, Athletic Director and Offensive Coordinator at Don Bosco Prep High School in New Jersey.

1) Coach, thanks for taking the time to speak with us at and congratulations on your second straight New Jersey state title (2006-2007)?

Thank you, this past season was a lot of fun. We had a great group of guys that really put the team ahead of their personal interests and it made for a great team in all phases of the game.

2) Tell us a little bit about the spread offense you run at Don Bosco Prep? (Run first philosophy? balanced attack philosophy (run/pass)? Tempo? No-Huddle? Gun vs. under the center? Etc…)

Our offense at Don Bosco Prep is predicated on 2 things, controlling the tempo and balance. The tempo is set by playing fast. We operate out of a no-huddle system on occasion, but we always want to play fast. The more experienced we are, the more likely we are to go no-huddle.

We will use no-huddle to give us a jumpstart or change the pace. We always want to fly in and out of the huddle if we do use one. We have a different thought about balance then many other teams. We never gameplan to be a 50/50 team. Rather, we want to be flexible enough to take what the defense gives us. On every play we have the ability to get into the play that best fits the look that the defense gives. We want to run the ball, but we never want to be too stubborn.

We are willing to throw the ball until the defense gives us the looks we want to run the ball successfully. That may be the greatest advantage of the spread. The formations create a threat to run and throw on every down. We do believe it essential to throw the ball well if you are in the spread. If you can’t take advantage of their attempts to stop the run you become one dimensional. We always want the threat of a balanced attack. This past season we were a predominantly gun team. In the past we have been mixed depending upon the QB.

3) Based on this philosophy, what do you and your fellow offensive coaches look for when preparing for an opponent every week?

We look for basic fronts and coverages. We want to know the other teams best stunts. We always ask, what do they believe in? A good team is not going to drastically overhaul their defense in one week.

If they do, they are not going to be able to make the necessary adjustments to beat us. We also look for physical match-ups. Who are their best and worst players. We want to keep it basic. We feel that our style of offense allows us a great deal of flexibility. We may throw it 35 times against one team and run it 40 times the next week. We love to throw, but devised a gameplan for the past 2 state championship games, in which we ran the ball almost 80% of the plays. To us that demonstrates our balance. We have the ability to take what the defense gives us.

4) What type of student-athlete do you guys get at Don Bosco Prep offensively? Does the type of athlete you guys have dictate the offensive philosophy?

We get a mixed bag of athletes at Don Bosco. Being a parochial school we draw from a wide variety of towns, providing an array of different athletes. Each year it varies in what type of athletes we will have. This past season we had 3 tremendous running backs on the varsity w/ some real strong guys behind them.

We tried to keep them all on the field as much as possible. Some years we have 6 or 7 WRs that rotate. We definitely change our scheme depending upon our players. We will not change our philosophy for anyone. In other words we will always believe in balance & tempo. We will always believe in being a tough physical team that can run the ball. What may change is, the actual scheme or choice of formations we use. We will not be too stubborn to run a scheme that we do not have the players to run, we will be flexible enough to adapt.

5) How long have you been running the spread offense (or a version of it) at DBP? And how has the spread offense evolved over that period at the high school level in NJ and nationally?

We have been running some version of the spread for 7 seasons. 8 years ago we ran a lot of 1 back stuff w/ Ryan Grant at tailback (Green Bay Packers), but we were a predominantly power run offense. We have evolved a great deal. There are so many great ideas out there. We are constantly seeking out advice on better ways to do what we are doing. I watch a lot of football and try to find ways to adapt what other teams are using to improve our offense.

There are so many colleges running the spread that you can find new ideas everywhere. They are usually very accommodating to high school coaches. We tinker with what we do constantly. Mainly, so that others teams do not catch us. We do not want teams to out work us.

As far as the change in spread offenses, I think its been tremendous. I played QB for my father at Paramus Catholic. We ran a version of the Run-N-Shoot in the early and mid-90’s. We were 4 WRs every play. No one was running the spread then. We were one of the only teams even throwing the ball, now everyone is getting into it. That offense really helped my transition into coaching. Many of the principles we used still apply today. Its exciting, it gets a lot of players involved, and the use of the dual threat QB has really changed the game. Now a QB can be a runner and a passer.

People used to think that combo was impossible, now you see it everywhere. We did many of these things when I was in school, but we never got in the gun. It really has changed the game in HS football.

6) Based on this evolution you’ve seen, is it still safe to say that defenses are still playing ‘catch-up’ in trying to figure out this offense (scheme wise)? Especially when defending an offense that has a gifted ‘dual threat’ type quarterback?

Defenses are playing catch up, if the team has the balance we talked about earlier. The dual threat QB has leveled the field. Under center the game is played 11 on 10. The QB’s ability to run has made it an 11 on 11 game. The offense can account for extra defenders w/ options, reads, and hots.

Many teams see the spread and think pass, but its much more than that. We have run the ball more than thrown it every year except one in the past 7 seasons, but teams are still giving us 5 and 6 man boxes to attack. A talented QB forces the defense to make difficult decisions.

Honestly I do not envy the defense in that situation. Often they are in a difficult position either way. Our QB this past season, Brett Knief, was the best dual threat QB we’ve had. I say that knowing the the 3 previous guys were all Div. 1 QBs. Steve Levy (Cal), Mike Teel (Rutgers), & Matt Simms (Louisville) were tremendous players that got better everyday. Simms & Teel were incredible throwers and smart QBs that allowed us to do many things, but they had to surprise you with a big run.

We hope that they are both future pros, but the ability to run in HS is crippling. Brett was a threat to run on every down and he killed teams throwing the ball. That dual threat puts a lot of uncertainty in the defense.

7) Play a little devil’s advocate, what are the biggest weaknesses you see in the run oriented spread offense in college and high school football?

The run oriented spread offense is limited. If a team has great perimeter defenders the defense can load the box to force long yardage situations. This limits the play action game. I will stick w/ our notion of balance. It takes a great deal of work to throw the ball successfully. We believe it is worth the investment of time.

Many teams in the “run oriented” spread only throw when they need to or have huge play action opportunities. This will hurt you when you face a team that is as talented as your team. When you are a threat to throw on every down the defense can not commit to one facet of your offense.

I often feel that a lack of balance kills some spread teams in big games. Plus it is hard to find QBs with those talents. If your QB gets injured will the next guy be able to run the offense. Balance is essential.

8) When this run oriented spread offense first arrived on the national spotlight, a lot of critics called it a fade or ‘gimmick’ offense, what made you and your fellow coaches buy into it and eventually implement it at DBP?

We believe in the spread for a lot of reasons. First it is easier to see what the defense is doing when you spread the field. Second, you take defenders out of the box, which means there are less players to block on every play. It also can eliminate confusion for the linemen in blitz pick-up. Third, it allows you to distribute the ball to more players. This makes the game exciting and interesting. There are many other options for kids today. We try to make the game fun and keep everyone involved.

We feel that the QB is central to the success of any offense. With that said we want to make the QB as effective as possible. I mentioned earlier that I have a Run-N-Shoot background. Coach Toal was a big fan of the “I”. This provided an opportunity to combine the 2. We are now running power run stuff out of 1 back formations. The QBs ability to run provides a numbers advantage. It was simple math.

9) Look into your crystal ball and tell us what the state of the shot-gun, run orientated spread offense will be in high school, college, and professional football in five years?

While the game of football will continue to change or at least cycle itself, I believe this offense will continue to be a part of college and high school football for a long time to come. The opportunity to showcase your best athletes is too important, for the spread to disappear.

The development of athletic QBs will also continue to be an important element in HS & college football. This offense has found a way to combine the triple option w/ the Run-N-Shoot. Both of those offenses are essential parts of the HS & college game. Teams use these ideas to hide deficiencies in the line or elsewhere in their personnel. While I believe elements of the spread will be extracted for use in the pros, it will never be a major part of pro football.

The QB is too valuable in the NFL to expose him to as many hits as he takes in the spread. While I love the offense its growth is hurting the development of college QBs for the NFL. It seems many are less prepared for the nuances of a pro offense.

10) Coach, what would be your advice to a High School or Pop Warner coach looking to install and implement the shot-gun, spread offense for the first time?

There is a lot that goes into it. We started by tailoring the formations around our existing offense. We were already big proponents of inside & outside zone. They are still the basis of our run offense. We do a lot now, but when we started we were simple. Less is more sometimes. Too many people want to do everything they see on TV every week. I say find out what fits your team and work at it religiously. Once you master it then add some more. We get better at coaching it every year, through trial & error. We had to take a long hard look at our terminology. We changed a lot of our language to streamline our playcalling and allow for the no-huddle.

We also spent a great deal of time on the snap. Our first attempt at the spread in 2001 was scrapped because we had trouble with the snap. The next year the same center had only one bad snap the entire season. We just stuck with it. Now it is not an option to scrap it. The shotgun has become too integral in what we do to scrap it. We make sure to work on it every day. This game still comes down to fundamentals. If you run the spread it is not a magic solution that allows you to stop working on the little things. Take the stuff you believe and tweak it.

11) How can High School or Pop Warner coaches get in touch with the staff at Don Bosco Prep?

The two best ways would be email or phone. The phone number in the football office is (201) 327-8003 x 155. The number in the athletic director’s office is (201) 327-4704 x 120 that is my direct line. My email is:

Our head coach is Greg Toal and our offensive line coach is Chuck Granatell. We would all be glad to share the little bit that we know, since many people have helped us throughout our time at Don Bosco and before.

12) Tell us how some Don Bosco prep alumni are doing at the college level? And a little about your tough schedule ahead in 2008?

Currently, Mike Teel is the QB at Rutgers University. Brian Toal will be back on the field at Boston College along with Ryan Lindsey & newcomer Alexander DiSanzo. Corey Wootten is playing at Northwestern University, Michael Ray Garvin is playing at Florida State. Matt Simms, Brian Roche, & Darius Mann are playing at Louisville. Matt will hopefully step into the QB role there in the coming years. Marquise Liverpool is playing WR at Temple. Justin Trottau is playing at the University of Florida and Sam Griffin is at the University of Cincinnati. There are a few that I am leaving out and I apologize, but we are very proud of the success that our guys are having at the next level. They are almost all contributing greatly to their programs’ success.

Next season the Ironmen will be hitting the road in the early part of the season. We travel to St. Xavier in Cincinnati, OH. We than play Valley Forge Military Academy at home. Our third game is at De La Salle High School in Concord, CA. St. X and De La Salle are two of the most decorated high school football teams in the country. We follow that by playing some of the best teams in New Jersey including; Bergen Catholic, St. Joe’s Montvale, Montclair, & Ridgewood. We feel that this is probably the most ambitious schedule in the history of New Jersey high school football. We only have that opportunity because of the guys mentioned in the previous paragraph and their teammates. We’re truly honored to be involved in such great games this upcoming season.

13) Coach, final question. You have one game to play to save planet earth vs. the University of Mars and the President of The United States has chosen you to run the offense. You need to pick a dual threat quarterback to lead your spread offense to victory. You have 4 weeks to prepare for this game in the coliseum in LA, and the only rule is you can’t choose a quarterback that you currently coach… who’s in the gun for you for this game?

That is a really difficult question. I tend to favor a great passer that can run. There are many great guys out there, but the dual threat makes it interesting. If it were a current player, I would choose Tim Tebow from Florida. He is not the most accurate passer but he manages the game real well. More importantly he has all the intangibles that it takes to lead a team. I have had the pleasure to meet his high school & college head coaches. Both men raved about his toughness, discipline, dedication, and athletic ability. I want the QB to be the toughest guy on the team. Tebow probably fits that description the best.

About Nunzio Campanile:

Nunzio Campanile is the first year athletic director at Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey, NJ. He has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Don Bosco for the last eight seasons. In that period, the Ironmen have played in seven New Jersey state championship games, winning four. The Ironmen have finished ranked in the USA Today four times in the last eight seasons, finishing as high as #2 in the nation in 2003. The 2007 season had the Ironmen ranked #3 in the nation on Maxpreps. In those eight seasons, the Ironmen have averaged over 40 points per game and have compiled a record of 88-5. Nunzio Campanile played quarterback at Paramus Catholic High School in NJ and at Amherst College. He graduated from Montclair State University in NJ.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spread Offense Run Game Answers vs. The Blitz

Written By Joe Dailey

Today’s discussion will revolve solely around handling the zone blitz in the run game. This has been a very popular topic and I have seen a number of ways people go about handling the blitz. For this discussion we will focus our conversation on the Zone running scheme out of a 2 by 2 formation versus various zone blitzes.

We are all familiar with the interview Rich Rodriguez did for ESPN explaining some of the things they did at West Virginia. If I remember correctly, the reporter interviewing Rich Rodriguez pointed out four distinctive things West Virginia would do on any certain play.

Those being:

1) Hand it off to the back
2) Read the Defensive End.
3) Read-Option with a back
4) Throw Bubble

These are all valuable answers to counter act what defenses are doing to handle the spreading of their defenders. In the video, Rich did not get into great depth schematically on what they will do versus zones blitzes and other situations. I’m sure if he wanted to; he could have done so with great depth. In the absence of his explanation I have proposed a simple solution to handle different types of zone blitz encounters that an offense will face in a given season. Note this is not the best way or the only way to solve some zone blitz problems, but it provides an offense with some decent solutions to the blitz.

The main goal in the Spread Offense, philosophically, is to consistently take advantage of what defenses lack to defend. By this, I mean what can we do schematically to spread a defense thin and ‘gut em’ down after down? And what can we do to counteract their zone blitz packages with minimal effort and communication in the run game? In order to be effective running the ball in the spread offense, you need to have sound answers versus pressure in the run game.

Through research, trial and error, I’ve come to find there are some simple answers to handle the zone blitz in the run game that will allow offenses to stay on course of positive yardage play after play. These answers came to life after simply applying some “common sense” protocol to handling the blitz.

Answer’s to the Blitz

After watching hours and hours of film, reviewing some of the notes I’ve taken over the years, reading books on handling the zone blitz and watching numerous clinic tapes on handling the zone blitz, I’ve come to the conclusion that you can build in answers to the blitz without whispering a single word. You ask how? Simple! By teaching your players to play with their eyes! Sounds cliché? Well it’s true!

As the son of a coach I remember growing up hearing “a smarter player is a better player!” I can remember to this day when I first saw this saying come to life. I was a high school Quarterback in the late 1990’s as a freshman. It was my first varsity game. I played the entire season on the freshman squad and was moved up to start at Quarterback for the varsity teams’ last game of the season. All week long I remember preparing for this game as best I possibly could. My pops watched film with me and we studied the opposing team’s defense tirelessly. Game day came and I was crazy nervous. We received the ball first and took it down to the opposing team’s 30 yard line. Since I was a freshman playing Quarterback for the first time, we expected blitz a lot. On the very first play we came out in 11 personnel in a 2 by 2 formation. We had a toss play strong called but there was an audible out of this formation in case we got pressure. Guess what that audible was? Bubble! The weak side linebacker over the slot walked up to the line of scrimmage and assumed his blitz position. The slot receiver and I signaled to each other the bubble sign and at the snap I threw the bubble and the receiver took it 30 yards for a touchdown!

With that said, let’s get to the solution for handling the zone blitz in the spread running game. I am a big advocate for the Zone running scheme out of the shot-gun spread offense. It gives the offense a solid blocking scheme which will never change. It is a scheme that you can’t ware out. It’s simple for the offensive-line to learn and simple for a coach to teach.

It’s as simple as covered or uncovered for the linemen. As for the backs, they have to simply make one read and stick with it. They have a 3 step decision. On the third step you must decide whether to bounce is outside, hit the hole or cut it back. The Quarterback has to make a decision on whether to keep the ball or hand it off based upon whether the defensive end chases or slow plays the read. Receivers must simply stalk block their defender and climb to second level if nothing shows up.


We want to run the zone play regardless of what the defense does. With this line of thinking you must ask yourself how exactly can we do this? Well we’ve found out over the years that by spreading a defense out, you force them to reveal what it is they are trying to do defensively. Are they trying to play coverage with sound run fits or are they trying to apply pressure to disrupt your run game?

Our theory is to run into a zone blitz and away from a zone blitz! That’s right into a zone blitz and away from a zone blitz! We can do this by simply applying our everyday zone blocking rules. Let’s look at them.

Covered Lineman:
*Never get beat away from your help!
*Press your landmark!
*Climb to the second level if your defender runs to your helper.

Uncovered Lineman:
*Get your eyes on the down lineman beside you!
*Anything that comes to you attack and remove it.
*Nothing comes to you track second level.

Additional Ways to handle the zone blitz

I’ve taken what my father taught me in high school in terms of handling the zone blitz in the run game and what is probably taught to most spread teams out of a 2 by 2 formation when they get blitz into a run and that’s to throw the bubble. The only difference is that we don’t handle signal this, we site adjust! By this I mean, we teach our wide receivers to automatically run the bubble when their defender threatens to blitz. The Quarterback will recognize it and throw the bubble.

Now the way we do this is probably not the same as other people but I feel that it can be done with quite ease. We apply this concept to both slot receivers. This is a change up from what we discussed earlier with the slot receivers climbing to the second level if their defender runs away. This time we tell them that we want to throw the bubble to you if the defender over you blitzes. Our thinking is that we want to get the ball to a speedster in space. Or what my receiver’s coach in college taught me “get the ball to a freak and let em’ eat".


What I’ve proposed here is not the one and only way to handle a zone blitz from the gun and the spread offense. It is merely one of many ways. I see people who check to four verticals or jail-break screens that go the distance. What we have here is a simple alternative way to solve zone blitzes with the least amount of communication. We are simply teaching our players to play with their eyes; our offensive linemen playing with their eyes in terms of defenders rotating to different zones and our slot receivers playing with their eyes when the defender over them blitzes.

I hope this article can help some people out there who are looking for different ways to handle the blitz from the gun. This can be used as a tool for teams who lack experience at the Quarterback position and need to find a answer to the blitz without using an audible or teams who are looking to change up the way the handle blitzes and break tendencies.

For any additional information or questions email me at

View this article with play diagrams at:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

USF Has Advice To Offer - The Spread Offense

By BRETT McMURPHY, The Tampa Tribune

TAMPA - With Rich Rodriguez now at Michigan, the University of South Florida has suddenly become a hot spot for teams seeking help in preparing for Rodriguez's spread offense.

Ohio State has won the past four meetings against Michigan, but the Buckeyes still sent cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson to meet with USF defensive coordinator Wally Burnham and secondary coach Troy Douglas this week.

"Johnson said it was because we've done such a good job against that offense," Burnham said. "And we've had some success."

Under Rodriguez, West Virginia was 22-4 the past two years, including 0-2 against USF. In that span, WVU averaged 16 points, 160 yards rushing and 3.7 yards per carry against USF, compared to 41.2 points, 311.5 yards rushing and 6.6 yards per carry against everyone else.
A Minnesota assistant visited USF last week, and a Colorado assistant - the Buffs play West Virginia this fall - will visit next week.

"They pick our brain and see why we do certain things," Burnham said. "We've done as good a job slowing them down as anybody. With the spread offense, I guess people think we have some answers."

Burnham said he'll only help out so much. "There are a few subtle things I keep to myself," he said. "We don't give away all our secrets."