Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If The Spread Offense Shot-Gun QB Is Obsolete... I Guess So Is Simple Math??

I haven't been able to find the actual coaches name at 'the' Ohio State University that supposedly called the 'shot-gun by the quarterback' in the spread offense obsolete (no longer in use; gone into disuse; disused or neglected - often by preference for something newer, which replaces the subject; Imperfectly developed; not very distinct).

That's a little scary if this is true, considering one of the most dangerous players at the quarterback position both running and throwing the football is Terrelle Pryor from Ohio State.

You gotta love Coach Rod's replies to the questions asked about this, and the spread offense overall:

“I could care less what he says,” Rodriguez said. “Everybody’s opinion is an opinion. We study everything, and our ultimate goal is to win. We sit down as a staff, and coaches and say what can we do that gives us the best chance to score points and win ballgames. For us it goes back to running the system we know.”

“Because of the so called spread, there’s so many variations of the spread that’s different, it’s going to be an easy mark — ‘They’re not winning because of the spread.’ It ain’t the spread, it’s the execution of it.”

And to get to my point in the subject line, I just wrote an article on the famous 'Power' play run in football.

It's not an encyclopedia of information, but if you know football, you'll get the point ... that being in the single wing spread offense (with a dual threat QB) offers a clear advantage, obvious to even the beginner of American Football.

Keep spreading u'm Coach Rod (aka: The Chairman Of The Board of The Spread Offense) and all you other spread n shred'ers out there....

--Mark (video sharing platform)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Could NFL Defenses Handle All The Pre-Snap Motions and Fakes?

When I started coaching back in 1993, we ran the Wing-T offense, with the classic buck sweep (244, 123), FB gut/trap/bend (130, 239), and waggle pass all there. It was learned by Ricky Rodriguez (not the Coach Rod we all know from West Virginia fame... this was a coach who actually coached me in high school and played football at Northern Arizona - Herb Hand has a funny story about a time at a coaches seminar that both "Coach Rodriguez's" attended and a call from Nebraska I believe came in and the hotel staff directed the call to the wrong Rodriguez) who learned it from Chuck Johnson, a great HS coach in the state of NJ.

All the faking, all the pre-snap motion by the wing backs, the QB carrying out all his fake progressions on the buck sweep ... it was extremely difficult on a defense, a high school defense.

Last year I remember watching a Miami Dolphins game and Phil Simms was calling the game. Simms has attended many New Jersey high school football games, with his sons Chris and Matt playing at two of the best programs in the state.

Simms made a comment that stuck with me: "The Miami Dolphins offense with all the pre-snap motion, wing back sets, wildcat, and hand-off fakes makes me feel like I'm watching a high school football game." Simms was not being derogatory in his comments, because the Miami offense was moving down the field, picking up chunks of yardage both on the ground and in the air.

I was thinking the same thing... and the defense, unlike many NFL defenses that love flying 'down hill' to blow up power plays, ISO's, and inside/outside zone plays was flat footed.

Now Miami wasn't running the Wing-T offense, but the simple execution of carrying out good fakes by the QB and RB's and the pre-snap movement of the 'wing backs' (which in the NFL is now the H-back... excuse me) was tough on the defense. It made them less likely to fly down-hill or hesitant on their reads, which is good news to any offense.

Oh, and this wasn't even the wildcat formation, this was Chad Pennington under center, who to me is an excellent technician at QB, whatever you ask him to do.

I posted a couple of weeks ago a video showing Miami seriously gashing Seattle last year out of the triple option spread set.

Look at the video again (click above)... and keep an eye on the Seattle strong safety (it's a quick blurr... but you'll see him) fly out to the perimeter and literally run right past Ricky Williams who had the ball on the inside zone. Do you think that strong safety was faked out? Possibly told during the preparation week to 'watch the jet sweep out of the wildcat to the perimeter'. It actually reminded me of what I used to see in film sessions coaching high school football against good wing-t teams.

One thing is for sure... easy touchdowns in the NFL are hard to come by, especially in the ground game. Imagine if running the ball becomes easier? How much more will that open up the passing game?... the true jet fuel of NFL offenses.

Just something to ponder, and something we may see more of on Sundays.

Keep spreading u'm!

--Mark (video sharing platform)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Will The NFL QB Protection Rules Help Pat White Run The Zone Read?

Let me lay out a scenario that we may see this upcoming NFL football season, and you tell me what the Referee will do, who's responsibility it is to 'protect the quarterback' in the NFL from unnecessary hits.

It's November 19th and the Miami Dolphins are playing the Carolina Panthers on the NFL Network.

Pat White is in at QB for Miami, with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams joining him in the classic 2 back (3, including White) shot gun spread option set.

The ball is snapped, and White, Williams, and Brown begin running a classic triple option play out of the shot gun. White 'zone reads' the initial inside zone hand-off to Williams, decides to pull the ball as the backside defensive end (Julius Peppers -- yikes!) executes a perfect 'square shoulder' anchor technique in the murky B-C gap area on the LOS.

White... who can run this play in his sleep with all the reps he's had over the past 5 years now attacks the perimeter as his instincts tell him with Ronnie Brown in a perfect pitch relationship, 4x4 (four yards deeper than the quarterback and four yards in front of him).

Peppers, who's instincts like White's are well situated in his DNA to attack QB's decides to coil and fire like a Cobra snake in a static stance at White... landing his face mask into White's chest/lower face mask area.

White gets the pitch off perfectly to Brown who gets the edge and registers a nice 10 yard gain.

The referee, who's one of many jobs in the NFL is to call all roughing penalties vs. the quarterback watches as Peppers and White roll off of each other...

Does the referee ever call a flag on this hit? Is there factors in the hit that would make the referee call or not call this 'roughing the quarterback'??

Would love to hear comments on this... knowing how the NFL is proactive in protecting their quarterbacks.

Keep spreading u'm!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Nick Saban Discusses The Spread Offense at SEC Media Day

Nick Saban was asked at the 2009 SEC media day about the spread offense he's seeing so much in college, and you could tell by his answers he was focused the most on the University of Florida style of spread offense, featuring a dual threat quarterback.

To read the entire article, go to:

Keep spreading u'm!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NFL Defenses Are Too Fast For The Spread Offense Run Game

"NFL Defenses Are Too Fast For The Spread Offense Run Game" - If I have to read that one more time I may have to call Dell for a new computer screen, because this one may take 'the leap'.

Imagine Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson, etc... all conceding to the fact that NFL defenses where just 'too fast' for me to be a productive running back in the NFL? No matter what offense you'd run out of... West Coast, Pro-I, Two Tight End - One back, etc...

Please, enough about the NFL defenses being too fast... all your doing in the shot spread option offense is adding an athletic dual-threat quarterback to the equation, not re-inventing football!

In 2006, Atlanta's Michael Vick became the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Where defenses 'not too quick' that year? No, Michael Vick was just quicker, and more agile, and more athletic... just like L.T. is at the TB position, Randy Moss is at the WR position, or any other superior offensive player.

It kind of reminds me of the bully who you've never actually seen fight, but has the reputation of being the toughest guy out there... I think we may see pretty soon the NFL defenses reputation of "too fast for the spread run game, dual threat quarterback gimmick" be put to the test.

Keep spreading u'm!

--Mark (video sharing library)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Offers A Buffet Of College Spread Offense Articles

Today, July 21 2009 must be 'Spread Offense Day' at They released today a buffet style menu of articles dedicated to the spread offense in college football. A lot of good stuff from some great coaches on 'that dieing offense' ... HA!

Here's the link to all the articles:

We thought it would be fit to put Coach Rod as the picture... still the 'Chairman of The Board' of the shot gun spread option offense.

Keep spreading u'm !


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Does NFL Technology Favor The No Huddle Spread Option Offense?

I was wondering the other day if the NFL with its micro-phoned helmets that allow a coach to communicate with the Quarterback in real-time makes the no huddle spread option offense more conducive then college and high school?

Just to clear up one thing, this microphone communication in the NFL shuts off automatically with 15 seconds left on the 40/25 second play clock, but that still gives the coaches up in the booth time to relay an initial defensive look downstairs that can be sent in to the dual threat QB on the field.

We've all seen it during college and high school games, the QB in a no huddle shot gun spread offense checking with the sideline between one to three times prior to the snap, then audibling the best possible play to the rest of the offense based on the information from the coaches box. At these levels, the coaches and spotters (usually the back up quarterback's) need to hand signal the audibles to the QB on the field.

I believe I once read an article where Rich Rodriguez was asking the NCAA to look into microphoned helmets at the college football level.

One point to bring up, beginning last NFL season (2008), the defense also uses the same microphone technology, designating one player (usually the "Mike" linebacker or strong safety) to get the play call(s) from the sideline.

It'll be interesting to see if this advancement in real-time coach to player communication at the NFL level assists at all as the spread option offense makes its way into the NFL.

Keep spreading u'm!

--Mark (video sharing library)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2009 College Football Schedule - Spread Offense Action Galore

I recently took a look at the 2009 major college football schedule and if you're a fan of the spread offense, get ready for a buffet type feast of action.

Below I decided to list some must see early season games (with TV coverage, if available) showcasing shot gun spread offenses going against one another.

Auburn vs Miss State - Sept 12th
Auburn vs West Virginia - Sept 19th (ESPN 2)
Ball State vs Auburn - Sept 26th
Boise State vs. Oregon - Sept 3rd (ESPN)
Bowling Green vs. Missouri - Sept 12th
Florida vs Troy - Sept 12th
Illinois vs. Missouri - Sept 5th (ESPN)
New Mexico vs. Tulsa - Sept 12th
Oregon vs Utah - Sept 19th (ESPN)
Utah State vs Utah - Sept 3rd
TCU vs. Virginia - Sept 12th (ESPN)
Wyoming vs. Texas - Sept 12th
Texas vs Texas Tech - Sept 19th (ABC)
Brigham Young vs Oklahoma - Sept 5th (ESPN)
Indiana vs Michigan - Sept 26th
Ohio vs. North Texas - Sept 12th
Houston vs Texas Tech - Sept 26th (ESPN 2)
Tulsa vs Oklahoma - Sept 19th (FSN)

I'll get another listing out as the season progresses, but get those DVR's warmed up and set your email calenders with the above for now.

Keep spreading u'm!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Maybe A Taste Of What We'll See? - NFL Spread Option Football

How many times in the NFL do you see a running back go untouched for a 50 yard touchdown? Watch the video below, as Ricky Williams of the Miami Dolphins did exactly that in a game last year vs. Seattle.

Oh ya, the play was ran out of the shot-gun spread option formation, with Ronnie Brown playing QB. Now, imagine putting Patrick White at QB, with Brown and Williams in the tripe option set.

I'm predicting fun times ahead, not only on Saturday's, but Sunday's!

Original Video

"The NFL has always been ahead of the college game, but what's happened now is that so many (college) teams are running some version of the spread, and doing it so well, that it's catching the NFL's attention," college football analyst Todd Blackledge said. "And these talented players the NFL is getting are so accustomed to it, you now have NFL people thinking that one of the ways to get the most out of them is doing what they're most comfortable with."

Keep spreading u'm!

--Mark (video sharing library) (main site)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gators' spread offense catching on in the NFL

This recent article by Chris Harry of the Orlando Sentinel makes a pretty strong statement that the NFL is looking to make an even quicker transition to the current college spread offense you see today.

Remember, we predicted back in February, 2008 (yes, before the 'wildcat' craze even hit the NFL) that by 2011 you would see the transition in full effect, it looks like we may have under estimated the disruptive innovation of the shot gun spread option offense.

To view the full article, go to:

Keep spreading u'm,
Mark (main site) (online video sharing library)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wildcat 2.0 - What NFL Teams May See In 2009 From The Miami Dolphins

With all the OTA's taking place in the NFL the past few weeks, it's a sure sign that preseason training camps will be here before you know it.

As a blog dedicated to the spread offense, I thought I'd let the coach in me take an educated guess at what Dan Henning, David Lee, and George DeLeone are cooking up in the laboratory down in South Florida for 2009 as it relates to the 'wildcat' formation and their new player, Pat White.

First, lets look at the current wildcat formation:

Now I'm not claiming to be smarter than Gus Malzahn and David Lee who ran this offensive set very successfully at Arkansas with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, but I see some real limitations here that can be improved upon, now that you have a dual threat QB like Patrick White who can get into the shot-gun.

1) Strictly related to personnel (nothing to do with the formation itself), with White in the huddle, you will no longer require Chad Pennington to be on the field, which was no threat at all to the defense (though, he did throw an easy reverse pass touchdown out of the wildcat in a game last year, but that play is not a sustainable threat at this stage of the evolution of the formation in the NFL). Remember that White can easily get under center and run the Dolphins 'regular' offense, which is what he's learning now in mini-camps, OTA's, and eventually preseason camp. So in that case, the defense can't 'assume' White is coming out on the field just to run the wildcat or a spread offense.

With Pennington not on the field, you now add another 'athlete' to the offense, someone who can catch the ball, block well on a run to that side (we all know in the spread offense how important stalk blocks are for breaking long runs or screens), and run a reverse/mis-direction play.

2) The 'Y' or Tight End not being an eligible receiver is a crutch in the current wildcat formation. I fully understand the 'over' or unbalanced concept, but trust me the likes of Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan are in their lab's too... sniffing out every weakness and leverage point against the current set. I feel a more 'balanced' formation that allows for equal playmaker's across the entire 53 yards of the field will help this offense, and accent Pat White's skills, as well as the rest of the skill players on Miami.

Note: One play that really caught the Pat's off guard last year was when the Dolphins put Anthony Fasano (TE) at the eligible Tackle position in the current unbalanced wildcat, and sent him on a corner route where Ronnie Brown hit him for an easy touchdown.

See it here:

Lets take a look at what could possibly become 'Wildcat 2.0' in 2009.

In the above formation diagram, you'll notice a more 'balanced' set, and the thing I really like about it is it makes Ronnie Brown (H), Ricky Williams (Z), the flanker (FL), the X and the Y (TE) all threats on every play.

I would call this a 'TE-trips - open, empty' formation if I was still coaching, and one that can accomplish a lot of great things.

First thing is you can motion either Williams or Brown (speed or jet motion) in this set to create mis-direction or simply zone read with White of the mesh (Did you say 'Zone Read' in the NFL!) - Ya, you have the all-time NCAA leading rusher as a QB in the backfield with two seasoned running backs who want to take this thing to the next level... and Ricky Williams really impressed me with how he carried out his run fakes last year in the wildcat, these guys truly love it!

And the pass game, look at the horizontal balance now for White to shoot a ball out to Ted Ginn Jr. or the many other talented receivers on Miami.

Only time will tell, but my impression of wildcat 2.0 should make the Miami Dolphins (or any other team wanting to balance out the traditional wildcat) more effective in 2009.

Keep spreading u'm!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Single Wing Spread Offense Gives You 11% More Blocking Capability!?

It's funny how some things you hated as a kid you grow to appreciate as an adult. I hated math growing up, maybe it was Sister Ann yelling at me in 4th grade math at Queen of Peace Grammar School that set a bad tone, or I was simply not very good at it.

These days things like percentages really intrigue me, like the Dow is up 1.8% today, or this person got a 5% salary raise, or Giants season tickets went up 4.5% from last year.

I was thinking the other day about the advantages a single wing spread offense brings to an offense, and of course I believe there are many, but I decided to let math tell me the advantage.

My handy calculator told me that an offense has an 11% (not exact, but lets round up) advantage or 'upside' when it comes to blocking a defense on a single wing run play where the single wing QB accepting the snap runs the ball and the other 10 offensive players block versus a QB under center handing the ball off to a running back and 9 offensive players blocking the defense.

Just to be clear, the above assumes there is no fake hand-offs out of the single wing (which would eliminate the % advantage, or does it? as the fake causes the defense to second guess there keys? - that's another post), just pure QB power, QB Iso, QB burst, QB sweep plays. Basically hats on hats type plays.

As far as percentages go, 11% is a pretty big number. If the Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 11% today, that would be a 964 point gain, likely the top story on every news channel in the country.

If you lost 11% of your salary on a $50,000 a year job, that would be a $5,500 drop in pay over a year, there goes the vacation and getting the patio fixed this year!

So as a coach, maybe good old math will make you think about a single wing spread offense package when you need a little percentage gain on the field.... it sure hasn't hurt Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators.

Keep spreading u'm!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Spread Offense TV Video Sharing Launches

We are proud to announce the third and most exciting part of our spread offense online franchise, Spread Offense TV.

Now coaches, players, and fans can upload their favorite spread offense videos in an online community
environment. The system can accept all online video files, plus YouTube videos.

We expect this to be an amazing service for the thousands of spread offense enthusiasts out there... to share, collaborate, and learn what others are doing in the football community with the spread offense.

To sign up now for free, go to:

Keep Spreading U'm!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

So Your Spread Offense Quarterback Is Out... What Now?

It's every coaches nightmare, but even more so in a shot gun spread option offense with a very athletic dual-threat quarterback. It's the second play of the game, and your stud QB sprains an ankle, or even worse.... does something bone-headed like sticks a freshmen in a locker on the Wednesday before the big game and is suspended.

You call on your second string guy and he's inexperienced, lacks the proper rep's, and is not as physically gifted.

Here's 3 things we recommend you prepare for, just in case the above happens to you.

1) Have a WildCat type package ready with a Running Back at QB

A good way to keep your offense in 'spread mode' is to have a WildCat set ready with a good headed RB on your team taking the QB position. Obviously the throwing game will not be a big threat, but if you install the traditional WildCat sweep, power, and counter package with a RB at the single wing in the preseason and drill it during the season, it'll be an option for you until things stabilize. Herb Hand, OC at University of Tulsa actually mentioned they have this ready 'just in case'.

2) Have your #2 QB Ready - Pretty Simple

Sounds simple enough, but with limited practice time and new installs during the season, many #2 QB's lack the appropriate rep's. We recommend one practice a week for at least 12 plays with the first team, you yank the #1 QB out and pretend he's not available.... make it a heated session too, put some pressure on the offense and lay out some game situations that will make the whole unit think and support the new QB. I suggest doing this with your #1 center too....

3) Learn How To 'Quick Kick' Out Of The Shot-Gun

Sometimes the first few series with the #2 QB can be disastrous, the defense is feeding off the momentum of you losing one of your best players, and before you know it, you're in a 3rd and 27 at your own 20 yard line. I feel that putting in a 'quick kick' punt package out of the shot-gun with your 1st and 2nd string QB's is a nice way to regain some field position and put the game into your defenses hands until your offense settles down with the new QB. This needs to be practiced though against live reps in practice.... the last thing you want is a quick kick blocked, I've seen it happen. But executed correctly, I've seen field positions change 40 + yards as the defense has no one to field the punt.

Remember, having your personnel ready is the coaching staff's job, don't leave any rock unturned in your preparation.

Keep spreading u'm!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can The Spread Offense Emergence In The NFL Help Michael Vick?

The announcement came today that Michael Vick was released from prison after serving 19 months in jail on a dogfighting conviction in 2007.

Vick will be serve two months of home confinement until July 20th, then will be able to 'get a job' in society.

Being a fan of Big East football, I used to love watching Vick play for Virginia Tech with his athletic style of quarterback play.

Is there a spot for Michael Vick with the 'Wild Cat' making its way into the NFL? Are his skill sets still there that would allow him to get into a shot-gun formation and run some single-wing 'run-pass' option football for an NFL franchise?

Time will tell if this is the case, or if a team will take the chance on Vick and the negative publicity that will surround such a move.

But then again, the young man 'did his time' for a crime he admits committing, no matter how wrong it was.

By the way, I do see Martha Stewart back on the scene, doing well in the free market we call capitalism.

Keep Spreading U'm!