Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's harder to evaluate spread offense players... PLEASE!

I love football... I've been watching, playing it, coached it, and now have taken it to the internet with this blog and website (

That being said, I read a lot about all levels of football... from Pop Warner all the way up to the NFL, and one thing that's really aggravating me is this term being thrown around prior to this year's NFL draft: "It's harder to evaluate players that are from spread offense systems".

Do you really think an NFL team would pass up an elite football player who happened to come from a college 'spread offense' system??

You hear this term a lot with the quarterback's, O-linemen, and running backs more than any other position.

"The O-line in college are never in a 3 point stance in the spread offense so they'll have a very hard time adjusting to a pro style offense"... well, give them a mini-camp and guess what, they'll go right back to being in the 3 point stance!!

I remember hearing last year that Steve Slaton coming out of West Virginia would have a hard time adjusting to a pro-set I formation coming out of the spread offense. All those lateral movements in the shot-gun zone read and triple option would make for a hard transition to the 'down hill' I formation... HAHA!! 1,282 rushing yards later with a 4.8 per rush average his rookie year with the Houston Texans... tough transition to the I formation Steve... you really had a hard time figuring it out in the NFL.

Come on analysts.... give the spread offense a break, because in a few years you may be saying... "This XYZ player out of X University will have a difficult time transitioning from a pro-style, two tight end college career to the NFL shot-gun spread offense".


Spread Offense

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Congrat's To Chip Kelly - Another Spread Offense Head Coach In Major College Football

With the recent move of Mike Bellotti to Athletic Director starting July 1st at Oregon, Chip Kelly was promoted to head football coach effective immediately. Coach Kelly is a true spread offense coach, with his offensive philosophy being one of the best in the college spread game.

Here's some video clips of the Oregon Ducks from this past season, they can execute the spread run game with the best of them:

Spread Offense

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Using Motion In The Spread Offense Running Game

In the spread offense, wide receiver or slot motion can be used to open up the running game. This article will cover three types of motion, motion to a pistol set, motion to a two-back set, and speed sweep motion. Many of these plays use motion to provide different types of zone read style reads and they are all easy to flip.

To read the entire article, with diagrams please go to:


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bootleg Pass Series Out Of The Spread Offense

My offensive philosophy is that we utilize our pass and screen game to set up the run. This has worked well for us and we always outnumber the defense in the box. Once we start running the football effectively, obviously our play-action is much more effective. One of my favorite play-action looks in the spread offense is the bootleg. The concept of the play is simple and you can run multiple variations of the play without changing the core concepts.

To read this entire article with play diagrams, go to:


Monday, February 23, 2009

The Jailbreak Screen In The Spread Offense

One of my favorite plays in the spread offense is the Jailbreak Screen. It is an integral part of the offensive system that we run. To me, there is never a bad time to call this play. I believe the Jailbreak Screen is indicative of what the spread offense is all about - getting the ball into your athletes hands out in space with room to make a play after the catch.

To read more on this article with play diagrams, go to:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pat White Open To Playing Other Positions

Pat White announced at the NFL combine that he's open to other offensive and special teams positions at the next level other than quarterback. White, who broke the NCAA QB rushing record out of a predominate spread offense at West Virginia University posted an unofficial 4.50 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. With the wildcat formation being introduced in the NFL this past season, White's style of play is being called the next progression of the shot-gun spread offense in the NFL.

West Virginia’s White open to playing other positions

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pass Protection Techniques In The Spread Offense

One of the best attributes of the spread offense is that its formations limit the amount of defensive fronts by forcing them to walk out linebackers to cover receivers. This simplifies pass blocking, because there are only so many things the defense can do without leaving players unaccounted for. It also allows other aspects of the passing game to "assist" the linemen, such as a quick passing attack and easier "hot" reads.

To read the entire article with diagrams, go to:


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jon Gruden Intrigued By The Spread Offense

Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently mentioned in an interview that he's very intrigued by the spread offense run in college and high school, and also had some encouraging words for Tim Tebow and his future in the NFL.

"He's like Brandon Jacobs playing quarterback," Gruden said. "Tim Tebow is 250 pounds, and he's the strongest human being that's ever played the position. He can throw well enough at any level."

Gruden went on to say that Tebow could 'revolutionize' the quarterback position in the NFL running a spread offense, once his chance arrives in 2010.

Gruden said he plans on returning to coaching and didn't rule out a job at the college level. He is also interested in working as a TV analyst next season and would like to attend some college camps to expand his knowledge, especially in the shot-gun, dual-threat QB spread offense.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tackle Trap: An Alternative To The Zone Read

In the majority of spread offenses at the collegiate level, the zone read is a cornerstone of the offense. What do you do if you don’t have the personnel to be successful with a zone run game? I have found that the tackle trap is a great alternative to the zone read in the shot-gun spread offense.

To read this entire article, with diagrams, go to:


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Super Bowl Preview - The Spread Offense Will Be On Display

The big game is one week away in the NFL, The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. The Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl forty three.

One thing we know for sure is that on the offensive side of the ball, both teams will be 3, 4 or 5 wide, with a lot of shot-gun sets. You'll see the classic spread offense passing game with Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger both looking to exploit the other's defense by spreading the field sideline to sideline in the passing game.

I found it interesting when a TV commentator doing the NFC championship game said on numerous occasions: "How is it possible that Larry Fitzgerald is SO wide open out there" - well, I'll tell you how.

It's the spread formations and offensive sets that the Arizona Cardinals execute on offense. They do a masterful job getting Fitzgerald spread across the field in numerous positions. When you add in Anquan Boldin as a major threat on the other side of the field, the defense can only do so much.

Now imagine this... take the arm of a Kurt Warner, throw in the legs of a Terrelle Pryor and blend it into one QB... How would the Steeler's (or any team) defend that!

Spread Offense

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NFL Teams Listen Up... Draft Tim Tebow and Pat White

The days following the national championship have opened up a lot of discussions on this years upcoming NFL draft. The big networks have their experts making predictions on who will be drafted, who will leave college early, etc...

Tim Tebows name has come up numerous times, and all I have heard is "He'll be a situational player", "He'll be an H-Back or Tight End", "He's not a NFL quarterback, a third round pick at best...." and so on.

Bottom line in football.... who are the winners who come together as a 'team' and how will they help you win games.

Tim Tebow in this instance is a first round draft pick in my opinion, an easy top 5 overall pick.

If I was starting the "Hawaii Sharks" in 2009-2010 and had the first pick this year... it would be Tim Tebow.

Another guy I would draft.... Pat White from West Virginia. Again... a winner!!! 4-0 in bowl games (2 BCS games) meaning he's a big game player that raises peoples talents around him.

Offenses in the NFL are moving to hybrid styles, I'm not claiming the spread offense seen in college will be dominating the NFL anytime soon, but a variation or complemental (is that a word?) portion of it will continue to grow.

Wait till you see how many NFL offensive and defensive NFL coaches (especially the ones who've been in the league for over 5 years) flock to college campuses to talk spread offense shop.

I found the Miami Dolphins so interesting this year... not just for the 'Wild Cat' and Ronnie Brown, but also take a look at their coaching staff.

We know David Lee from Arkansas, but what about George DeLeone and Paul Pasqualoni (together at Syracuse during all those years they played Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia).

They've been in the spread offense and defending it for almost 10 years.... I'm sure the offensive staff would keep the door open for Coach Pasqualoni to give some feedback, even though he was the DC.

George DeLeone, I've been at many high school clinic's he has spoke at and he's a spread u'm out junkie... learning a lot from trying to defend Coach Rod at WVU in the Big East.

Back to my point... this will ALL keep evolving in the NFL, college coaches with spread in their blood being hired as Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano have. It's a natural process.

Back to my point point: Tim Tebow and Pat White.

Winners, winners, winners, period. And GM's and Coaches in the NFL get fired if they lose, that's a fact no one can deny.

The Spread Offense

Disclaimer: We're not sure Tebow is going pro this year (he's only a junior and has one more year of college eligibility), but Pat White is a senior and will enter the NFL draft.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Inside Shovel Off The Speed Option - Spread Offense

Congratulations to the Florida Gators ! If you watched the game last night, you saw a great play that Urban Meyer has used for some time now even before coming to Florida, but last night might have been the first time some of you may have seen it.

It's off speed option action to the perimeter... but the backside TE (or H-Back in a different formation) runs the inside shovel pass, with his backside guard pulling or folding up into the hole for a gut or kick-out block. If the defensive end knifes down for the shovel pass, the quarterback keeps the ball and attacks the outside with his pitch relationship to the running back. If the defensive end square shoulders the QB or keeps outside leverage, the shovel pass is executed to the TE.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reprint: Valuable Spread Offense Coaching Resources For The Off-Season

Spread Offense Playbook - Download Now!

Stopping The Spread Offense - Download Now!

One of the best quotes I ever heard and still truly believe is: 'Leaders are Readers' or in the modern era 'Leaders are Readers and watch Video'.

Below are both free resources and pay for resources for coaches looking to educate themselves on the spread offense:

1) Free Resources

I can't stress how important it is to use recording technology to your advantage if you want to learn and study something, especially the sport of football. The ability to tape games via a DVR machine (usually available through a cable company, satellite provider, or telephone TV service like Verizon FIOS) or a standard video recorder right from the comfort of your home is very valuable free resource.

If you're a coach that is passionate about running the spread offense or a coach passionate about stopping the spread offense, I would have to ask if you've taped most or all of the 2008-2009 college bowl games with teams that run the spread offense or some hybrid of it.

That's A LOT of spread offense to evaluate and learn from. It may not be too late if you missed a lot of these because ESPNU and ESPN Classic do a good job of replying these games for a few weeks after the bowl season.

These games are so valuable for learning and seeing what some of the best spread offensive minds are thinking and more importantly what some of the best defensive coaches are doing to stop it (or at least trying to do too stop it).

If you ever read 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu, he mentions a very important point: "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer". If you want to be a great offensive spread coach, you need to know what the defensive coaches are thinking and planning to stop you (and vice versa).

The ability to breakdown film as a coach is a critical skill, not just your teams or your opponents, but what I call 'third party' film. Imagine in your head what you might call that 'third party' play based on your terminology and formations.

When I coached, I had a lot of 'specialty' plays that I stole from the likes of the Ol Ball Coach (Spurrier) and Bobby Bowden, plays like the Gator Counter and the Seminole Toss Pass.

I still have boxes of old VHS taped from the early 90's thru the early 00's that I just can't part from (my wife thinks I'm nuts) with game upon game that I recorded.

Get detailed on paper with notes if you see something you really like, what are the lineman's splits?, are there any influence blocks (or joker type techniques on the O-Line) taking place?, is the slot receiver acting out the bubble screen?, what's the play tempo like?, what's the down and distance?, where on the field is the ball?, what are the backfield splits?, etc.

Try not only praising the video, but be critical of plays when you evaluate 'third party' film. Is the quarterback carrying out his option fakes or carrying out the zone read bootleg fake on the hand-off? Is the tailback carrying out his fakes if he doesn't get the ball on the zone read? Are the X and Y receivers blocking aggressive enough on the bubble screen? Coach the other teams on the video as you would coach your team.

Besides video resources, another free option is to simply call a college or high school in your area that runs the spread offense and ask the coaches if they would clinic with you and your staff. Most staff's are very open to this, especially if you have some solid recruits that may be of interest to them in the future. Even if you don't and you're say a Pop Warner coach, most coaches will be glad to assist.

2) Pay For Resources

There are many good resources that you can pay for, many of these I have personally used and others I am going off references from other coaches.

I personally prefer video over books when it comes to coaching instructional stuff. The ability to rewind, slow mo, pause, and taking notes while watching is very valuable as opposed to reading it.

What I do enjoy reading is more motivational type stuff, life balance, or organizational books to help build teamwork, character, discipline, work ethic, and courage (the 'intangibles' of football).

Before I get into my favorite spread offense instructional videos, let me share some of my favorite motivational, positive attitude, life balance, organizational, and leadership books.

1. Sun Tzu For Success - Gerald Michaelson
2. Turning The Thing Around - Jimmy Johnson and Ed Hinton
3. Power For Living (Christian based) - Jamie Buckingham
4. Finding a Way to Win - Bill Parcells and Jeff Coplon
5. The Education of a Coach - Bill Belichick and David Halberstam
6. The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
7. Creating Your Own Destiny - Patrick Snow
8. You Can Heal Your Life - Louise L. Hay

I have attached below an online search box for your convenience to order these books. Just so you know this is a mix of books that I feel will make you a well rounded leader and person, both on the football field as a coach and in life. To me, balance is the key to be a great leader, motivator, and teacher.

Here is my list of favorite spread offense instructional videos:

1. The Shotgun Spread Offense Series - Bruce Eien, Brethren Christian (CA) High School Head Coach
2. West Virginia Spread Offense - Rich Rodriguez, Rick Trickett, Calvin Magee - West Virginia University
3. The Zone Option Package - Brian Hughes, C.W. Post College Assistant Coach/Offensive Coordinator
4. The Run Game Within the Spread Offense - John Reagan, University of Kansas Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator
5. The Simplified Spread Offense - Dennis Dunn, Louisiana College Head Coach (former Evangel Christian Academy (LA) Head Coach)
6. Transitioning From the Wing-T to a Spread - Lew Johnston, Western Branch HS (VA) Head Coach
7. The Basics of the Single Wing Offense - Mike Rude, Johnston City High School (IL) Head Coach;Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame

Defending The Spread Offense Videos

8. Defending the Spread Shotgun Wing-T Offense - Lew Johnston,Western Branch HS (VA) Head Coach
9. Defending the Spread with the 50 Defense - J.T. Curtis, John Curtis Christian School (LA) Head Coach,2006 USA Today National HS Coach of the Year
10. 12 Keys to Defending the Spread - Brian George, Indiana University Co-Defensive Coordinator / DL
11. Defending the Spread with the 3-5-3 - Bert Williams, Georgia Military College Head Coach

Coaches Clinic's:

Glazier Clinic's 2009 Schedule

Nike Football Clinics 2009

The Spread Offense Coaches Forum - Interact with fellow spread offense coaches throughout the world online

I have produced hyperlinks above so simply click on the titles to view these fine videos and clinics. If you're interested in purchasing them, follow the directions once the page launches.

One area I'm not going to elaborate on but is critical for a successful spread offense is your off-season strength and conditioning program. This not only builds strong, fast, athletic athletes, it also goes a long way in building teamwork, togetherness, and comradery amongst your players and staff.

"The key is not the will to win . . . everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” - Bobby Knight.

Best wishes in your off-season preparation, and keep spreading them!


Monday, December 29, 2008

The Quick Passing Game in the Spread Offense

By Greg Nejmeh, The College Of New Jersey:

One of the big advantages of the spread offense is to use the quick passing game (i.e., slants, stops, speed ins, sticks) as well as other routes and combinations to exploit the defense. At the most basic level, the quick passing game works well because it is high percentage passing, beats blitzes, minimizes an aggressive pass rush, and allows your best athletes – usually your slot receivers - to make moves on linebackers in space.

To read more and view the diagrams associated with this article, please go to:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Combo Passing Sets In The Spread Offense

We're probably all familiar with using a passing tree to describe the routes to be run on a given play. Often, in the spread offense, numbers aren't enough. An example of this would be if you wanted to run a follow pattern, in which the inside receiver runs a short in and the outside receiver runs a deep in; how would this differ from a follow switch pattern, in which the inside receiver runs the dig, and the outside receiver comes underneath on an in ... say your "4" pattern is a down-and-in route -- is a "44" a Follow or a Follow Switch? Is a 4 route a drag, dig, or square in?

For more details and to read the entire article, go to: