Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Most spread offenses run a zone blocking scheme with their offensive linemen, and 'combo' or 'slam' blocks are a key technique for the success of the run game.
The link is a short video on some combo/double team blocking:
* Go directly to the video page at:
Notice the offensive line coach explaining the 'Lifter' (#76 in the video), usually the offensive lineman that has a defensive lineman directly over him (or being known as "covered") who is trying to get the top of his shoulder pad to the bottom of the defensive lineman's number (the number on the front of his jersey) and 'lift' him, prior to scrapping off to the linebacker.
The other offensive lineman in the double team (or 'combo' block) is known as the 'Driver'. He (#53, the center) continues to drive the defensive lineman who was engaged in the double team.
Keep spreading u'm!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
In an effort to make the piece more interesting in regards to the many pieces of the spread offense in football, I decided to use 'The Long Tail' model to explain the spread offense 'family'.
For those of you not familiar with 'The Long Tail' - it is a model used in business and certain industries to show how front heavy, high frequency occurrences (usually the most popular occurrences) are followed by the events at the far end of the tail, which have very low probabilities of occurrences.
The author, Chris Anderson argues that though the long tail end of the model is the less popular 'occurrence', they can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few popular occurrences, if the distribution channel is large enough and efficient enough to get the message and instruction out.
Has the Internet and speed of communication over the last 10 years accelerated the branches of the spread offense in the long tail?
Lets take a look at our 'Long Tail' model of the spread offense family:
The spread option offense is a variant of the more generic “spread offense.” It has found unprecedented success and widespread employment in college and high school football. Essentially a hybrid of the traditionally pass-oriented spread offense, the spread option is based on the concept of defensive isolation. The offense "spreads" the defense by aligning in three-to-five receiver sets, using two or fewer running backs in the backfield and often setting the quarterback in shotgun.
This “spread” forces the defense to defend more of the field and isolates its players in “space”. To exploit this, the offense employs double or triple option plays which further mitigates the athleticism of the defense and forces it to play their assignments. When used in combination with a consistent passing game, the spread option offense can yield strong results. The means by which option plays are run from the spread option offense vary greatly. The most popular running play employed in the spread is the read option.
This play is also known as the zone-read, QB Choice, or QB Wrap. A type of double option, the read option is relatively simple play during which the quarterback makes a single read (usually of the backside defensive end or linebacker) and decides whether or not to hand the ball to a running back on a dive or slant track. Others have found even more innovative ways to run the option from spread formations.
The "Spread Offense" is a generic term used to describe an offense that operates out of a formation with multiple wide receivers, usually out of the Shotgun, and can be run or pass oriented. One of the goals of the spread offense is to stretch the field both horizontally and vertically, and to take what is normally most teams best defenders (linebackers) out of the game or out of the box (TE to TE at the Line of Scrimmage) by utilizing three or more receivers.
As a result of the Pro Spread influence, the New England Patriots (for example) will frequently run their offense with five potential receivers and an empty backfield should a favorable matchup present itself. With Randy Moss and Wes Welker in the Patriots offense, the Patriots have placed an emphasis on a wide open passing attack.
Now lets look at some of the popular 'Long Tail' spread offense systems:
Although the Single-wing has lost much of its popularity since World War II, its characteristic features are still prevalent in all levels of modern football. They include pulling guards, double teams, play action passes, laterals, wedge blocking, trap blocking, the sweep, the reverse and the quick kick. Many current offenses, such as that of the Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer, use Single-wing tendencies for running plays, while using wide receivers instead of wingbacks.
Once a strong running formation, the single wing has been replaced by formations that facilitate passing, while minimizing the running aspect of the game. Today the single-wing has evolved in what coaches call the spread offense or shotgun, with the emphasis on passing. The most noticeable feature that remains of the powerful Carlisle formation is the long toss from center to the main ball-handler. The main talent and field general has become the quarterback instead of the tailback. The other single-wing backs have moved close to the line of scrimmage and are split farther from the main line. Wide receivers are called split-ends, flex ends, slots, and flankers.
Also, linemen spacing has increased in distance. Moving offensive players farther apart serves the purpose of also spreading the defense. The goal is to make defenses cover the whole field on every play.
The wildcat formation, (or wildcat offense) a variation on the single-wing formation, is an offensive football scheme that has been used at every level of the game. The general scheme can be instituted into many different offensive systems, but the distinguishing factor is a direct snap to the running back and an unbalanced offensive line.
The wildcat is an offensive package rather than an offense, in that it uses the same pre-snap motion coming across the formation on every play in the package and every play initially looks like a sweep behind zone blocking. However, after the snap several things may happen once the motion man crosses the player receiving the snap.
The Wildcat was popularized on the college level by current Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, and current Miami Dolphins quarterback coach David Lee in their former jobs as offensive coordinator with the Arkansas Razorbacks. In 2006, Malzahn, and in 2007 Lee, was the offensive coordinator for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Relying on the experience of quarterbacks coach David Lee who had run the scheme at Arkansas, the 2008 Miami Dolphins implemented the Wildcat offense beginning in the third game of the 2008 season with great success, instigating a wider trend throughout the NFL. The Dolphins started the Wildcat trend in the NFL lining up either running back Ronnie Brown (in most cases) or Ricky Williams in the shotgun formation with the option of handing off, running, or throwing. Through eleven games, the Wildcat averaged over seven yards per play for the Dolphins.
"It could be the single wing, it could be the Delaware split buck business that they used to do," Dolphins offensive coordinator Dan Henning said. "It comes from all of that." On September 21, 2008, the Miami Dolphins used the Wildcat offense against the New England Patriots on six plays, which produced five touchdowns (four rushing and one passing) in a 38-13 upset victory.
Some reading this may say... "The Run and Shoot Offense is one of the foundations of the spread offense, how can you have it so low on the tail?"
Well, I'd have to say that the popularity of the run and shoot has diminished significantly, sort of like the Sony Walkman to the Apple iPod. That doesn't mean they're not important parts of the family, they just lost their popularity due to either advancements in innovation or technology.
You'll notice in between the Spin Offense and the A-11 Offense I placed the wording 'More Developments'. I truly feel the long tail of the spread offense will develop and evolve more variations, and those new variations will hit the information super highway, landing into coaches laps.
So I guess Coach Rod was right.... the spread offense has so many variations, and expect more to continue to develop.
Keep spreading u'm!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
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....
http://www.spreadoffense.tv/ (video sharing platform)
Saturday, August 1, 2009
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!
www.SpreadOffense.tv (video sharing platform)
Sunday, July 26, 2009
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
To read the entire article, go to:
Keep spreading u'm!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
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!
http://www.spreadoffense.tv/ (video sharing library)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
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
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!
http://www.SpreadOffense.tv (video sharing library)
Thursday, July 16, 2009
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
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!
"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!
http://www.spreadoffense.tv/ (video sharing library)
http://www.spreadoffense.com/ (main site)
Sunday, June 28, 2009
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,
www.SpreadOffense.com (main site)
www.SpreadOffense.tv (online video sharing library)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
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
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
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: www.SpreadOffense.tv
Keep Spreading U'm!