Thursday, October 29, 2009
With USC, you have the classic pro set , quarterback under the center offense that features a lot of "I" formations and one back sets with at least one tight end in the game at all times.
With Oregon, you have a classic spread option offense, with the dual threat quarterback exclusively in the shot gun with a lot of zone reads, bubble screens, powers, counters, and sprint out passes.
“They feature the quarterback running, even more so than Ohio State,” Carroll said. “This is a team that’s dedicated to having the quarterback run the option, so he’s much more part of the normal running game than just a guy who scrambles around.”
Here's some clips of the Oregon Ducks spread offense vs. California this year:
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Saturday, October 24, 2009
One area that has been expanded/improved on already is running the formation out of a more 'balanced' look, as opposed to the traditional unbalanced wildcat in the "1.0" version.
I actually wrote about a predicted 'WildCat 2.0' from the Dolphins back in June based on the success and failures of the '1.0' version created by Gus Malzahn, now at the University of Auburn.
My next prediction is that the final piece of the puzzle for Miami, Pat White will get more and more snaps as another dual threat change of pace.
Below is a grouping of all of the WildCat plays the Dolphins ran against the Jets, enjoy!
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009
If run correctly, the Sprint Out is an effective and essential weapon in a high school offense. Unfortunately, it is usually run incorrectly. Perhaps this is because coaches don’t see it run in the NFL and rarely see it in major college football. *However, the reasons you don’t see it run in the NFL are the very reasons it is so effective in high school football. You, as a quarterback, can learn how the sprint out should be run, and in turn, make it more dangerous as an offensive weapon for your team.
Let’s examine the reasons you don’t see the sprint out run in the NFL:
1) It utilizes the quarterback as a running threat.
* When run correctly, the quarterback attacks the corner with the option to run or pass; if you were paying a pocket style quarterback $4-$20 million, you wouldn’t want to leave him alone on the perimeter where a strong safety or outside backer can lay him out.
* NFL quarterbacks are rarely good runners or comfortable carrying the football in space.
2) In the NFL, the hash marks are the width of the goal posts.**
* A sprint out takes away the portion of the field in the opposite direction of the play; in this case, even if you sprint to the wide-side of the field, you are eliminating 2/3 of the field as a threat.
3) The defenses in the NFL are much more sophisticated than high school.
* In the NFL, they run more man-to-man, combo, and zone blitzes; I don’t mean to imply you can’t run the sprint out against a man-to-man defense, you can, but in this case, the quarterback will be running most of the time.
As I stated before, these are the very reasons it can be extremely effective in high school football:
1) It utilizes the quarterback as a running threat
With the quarterback attacking the corner, it forces the defense to commit to either the run or the pass with a split-second decision; if the defense covers the receivers, they can’t stop the run; if they commit to the quarterback, they must come out of coverage. Normally, even if the QB is in a one-on-one situation against a defensive player, chances are he will gain positive yardage.
* Usually, a high school quarterback is a good runner or comfortable carrying the football in space.
2) In high school football, the hash marks divide the field into thirds
In high school, a sprint out pass to the wide side of the field still leaves roughly ½ the field as a threat; the receivers have more room to get open, and the quarterback has more field to elude the defense if he chooses to run.
3) High schools predominantly run zone defenses
With a sprint out, you flood the zone with the receivers and compile the defensive troubles with the quarterback’s threat to run.
Now, you might be asking, “How is the sprint out run incorrectly?” By examining how it is run incorrectly, we can see how it should be run in order to be most effective.
The most common mistakes when running the sprint out:
1) Not sprinting
By definition, the sprint out requires the quarterback to SPRINT. The QB should be sprinting to a specific point (about ten yards laterally and seven yards deep) before turning and attacking the corner. With few exceptions (an extremely talented QB against specific defenses with a designated “hot” receiver), the quarterback should not even look at the defense or the receivers until he makes the turn at that point. Often, what you see is more of a roll out in which the QB either drops too deep or runs too slowly; this minimizes the immediate threat to the defense, allowing them time to adjust and pursue, and reduces the running threat the QB should pose.
2) Not attacking the corner
When the QB reaches that turning point (10 x 7 yards), he MUST turn and attack the line of scrimmage. Too often, you see the quarterback running toward the sideline instead of toward the line of scrimmage; that is not a sprint out, it’s not really a roll out, I don’t know what it is, really, except a bad football play. The defense is taught to “string the play out” toward the sideline; in this case, the quarterback is doing it for them. If properly run, the quarterback is running TOWARD his receivers when he decides to pass or tuck it and run.
In order for the QB to be a true and immediate threat to run, he must attack the line of scrimmage, thereby forcing the defense to make a decision. This is what the whole play is predicated on: making the defense commit!
3) Waiting for the receiver to make his break/make eye contact with the quarterback
The sprint out is a quick hitting play. The quarterback often must throw the ball BEFORE the receiver makes his break. Too many high school quarterbacks wait too long to throw the ball, not only on the sprint out, but on other passes, too.
The quarterback must be trained to throw the ball to the spot his receiver is going to be open (aka: anticipate the route and throw), whether or not the receiver is looking at him when the pass is released. This ability is deadly to a defense; failure to do so allows the defense time to react to the pattern. This requires precision, timing, and familiarity with the receivers which is only accomplished through practice and repetition.
The receivers, as well, must be trained to look for the ball in the air, to be ready to catch the ball as soon as they make their breaks.
4) Bad throwing mechanics
No one said football was going to be easy. The throw on-the-run is a skill that has to be developed through much practice and repetition.
While running, the passer must twist his torso perpendicular to the target in a quick, cocking motion. Many passers do not get their shoulders far enough around – while still running – especially when sprinting out in the opposite direction of their passing arm.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The throwing motion and subsequent release must immediately follow the cocking motion. This uses the momentum of the motion to assist the throw, like loading and releasing a spring. Many times QBs hesitate, creating two distinct motions, back and forth, which depletes the momentum and causes the pass to sail or flutter.
When running in the same direction of the receiver, the passer does not have to “lead” the receiver. A lot of quarterbacks don’t realize this. It’s simple physics. The ball is already traveling that way when it’s released, so it naturally “leads” the receiver.
The Sprint Out Drill
Set up the cones as shown in the diagram above. The quarterback should practice the sprint out portion of the drill to the point where he can do it by 'feel' (Kinesthetic Awareness) before receivers are added. As always, the proper stance, represented by the “X”, is the beginning of the drill (refer to the stance section). Use the cadence you will use to start each repetition. The explanation is for a sprint out to the right, simply reverse the drill when running to the left.
Here's a video below of Tate Forcier from the University of Michigan executing a sprint out pass out of the spread offense.
Pushing off with the ball of the left cleat, open the hips to the right wide enough to allow an immediate sprint toward the cone.
Sprint! Put the head down and sprint directly at the cone, keeping the ball chest high. At this point your job is to GET TO THAT CONE NOW!
When you get to the cone, lift your head and make the turn toward the line of scrimmage; this is when you’ll pick up your receivers and read the defense. Don’t slow down.
Attack the line of line of scrimmage (D)
Use a STEEP angle of attack, as shown on the diagram. This forces the defense to commit NOW!
Make your decision to throw or run QUICKLY. Don’t hesitate. It’s more important to make the decision to run or pass quickly than to always make the right decision. If you throw the ball on the receiver’s break, you have a good chance to complete it even if he is covered. If you decide to run, the sooner you decide, the more yardage you will pick up, even if it turns out you should have thrown it. The more practice and experience you get, the better your decision making will be. For starters, just decide FAST.
Throw or Run
If you run, tuck it, protect the football, and go. You are now a running back. Use the field in front of you to your advantage.
If you pass:
* Cock your shoulders perpendicular to the receiver by twisting your upper torso quickly, bringing the ball to your ear. Keep sprinting!
* In a continuous motion, snap the shoulders 180 degrees while releasing the ball with the proper throw (refer to the throw).
* Although your legs are moving, from the waist up the throw should look no different than any other throw. You must practice this until your upper body is almost separate from the lower body.
* Throw it hard. Get it there fast. It’s your job to get it there, it’s the receiver’s job to catch it.
At first, repeat the drill 10 times, then switch sides. If possible, have someone time you from the snap of the ball to the cone; try to decrease the time. When you become proficient at the sprint out, add a receiver. It is incredibly valuable for a quarterback to drill with at least one of his receivers. That can really make or break a season. However, if no one is available, set up targets to throw at. Use your imagination.
If you have a receiver to work with, run different routes – short outs, curls, medium outs, deep outs, flags … whatever you will run off this during the season. Mix it up. Have fun. Try to get multiple receivers to drill with you. Have someone play defense; if he commits to you, throw, if he covers the receiver, run. Make a game out of it. But always, ALWAYS, follow the steps precisely.
*The reason you don’t see it much in major college football anymore is because they are usually grooming pro football players (though with the spread offense and the popularity of the 'dual threat' QB, this is balancing out). Also, many of the top college coaches now have either worked in the NFL, or want to, so they run what they know, or what they think will look good for their careers. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Arizona State and Air Force that run the sprint out as a regular part of their offense.
**In college football, the hash marks are between the pro and high school hash marks.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Over the past two seasons, you are now seeing this effective run play become a staple out of the shot gun spread offense, like the zone read option. Whether out of a single-wing/'wildcat' set or out of a traditional shot-gun set with running back(s) flanking the quarterback, this play is allowing for some very creative play calling by coaches at all levels.
As you will see at the end of the video below, the Florida Gator 'inside shovel' pass is power blocking by the offensive line.
This video is a great collection of 'Power' plays out of the spread offense.
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Monday, October 12, 2009
What was most unique about it was it resembled the 'wildcat' that is spreading in the NFL, but was more of a balanced set (as seen below), and it allowed for the quarterback, in this case Kyle Orton to shift back under center once the defense showed its hand on how it would defend the single wing with Knowshon Moreno at the Superback (or single wing QB).
Here's a look at the basic 'power' out of the Wild Horse that we've learned to love out of the Wild Cat or any other single wing type set across football the last few years.
I really like the double tight end set out of the single wing, it creates some serious gap issues, not that the single wing doesn't do that already with the '11th gap' it creates, but double tights really amplifies the effect.
Here you'll see that Kyle Orton shifted back to an under the center QB set from the flanker (FL) position once the defense showed its hand versus the single wing wild-horse with Moreno staying put in the one back set.
This play above shows Orton and the Denver offense executing a pass play after the shift back into a more traditional set. Even Phil Simms who was calling the play-by-play was very impressed with this 'shift' back wrinkle by the Broncos out of the Wild Horse as every play after them shifting produced positive yards with the defense being somewhat out of position.
Good stuff !
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Sunday, October 11, 2009
I just got done watching a little NFL football on this lazy Sunday afternoon in October and I thought to myself... "Man, this is kind of boring?" Series after series of pro-set I formations with the quarterback under center. A lot of ISO's and Power's out of the 'I' just doesn't cut it for me anymore.
Then, I thought about yesterday (Saturday) and all those great spread offense college teams I was watching... Houston, Florida, Michigan, Texas, etc... had me turning the channel like a mad man, trying to catch all the action. Even on Friday nights, watching ESPNU and the national high school football games, with most of those teams in the shot-gun spread offense.
I think that's the keyword... the 'action' that the spread brings to a football game. I'm sure there's no conclusive evidence out there, but I believe that spreading the formation with offensive players horizontally across the field and using a dual threat quarterback out of the shot gun does 'excite' the game.
Of course we all like to see great plays on the field no matter what formation players are in, because at the end of the day it is a players game... that I agree with 100%.
But I relate it to a fast break team in basketball, pressing the action and being aggressive on offense, this I feel the spread offense in football does cultivate.
Now don't get me wrong, the NFL does have its exciting coaches and players like Josh McDaniels in Denver, the 'wildcat' in Miami, and of course Peyton Manning when he's running the no huddle spread offense of the Colts to perfection.
I guess I'll just have to wait until Urban Meyer becomes a head coach in the NFL.
Keep spreading u'm!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Below is a video of a simple, but effective unbalanced spread offense set with a shot gun zone read play. I always like to use unbalance early in a game, maybe the second series or sometimes even the opening drive of a game when the excitement (and sometimes lack of mental focus on the defense) could pop a big one for you.
Keep spreading u'm!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
New head coach Gene Chizik's team is 5-0 after an important SEC win last night over Tennessee.
New offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and his potent high pace spread offense has been very impressive this year. During the Tennessee game, the Vol's needed to call time out twice as a result of pure exhaustion from defending such a high pace spread offense.
Here's a video of Auburn's offense vs. Mississippi State
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Below is some clips of Oregon vs Oklahoma State last year in the Holiday Bowl.
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Monday, September 28, 2009
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Saturday, September 26, 2009
Michigan vs Indiana is a great spread offense game to watch today. Both teams are undefeated, and you'll get to see the spread option offense of Michigan, and the pistol formation of Indiana. The game is at 12 noon (Eastern) on ESPN2.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Think back to the creation of the the 'zone blitz' on the defensive side of the ball, when Dick LeBeau, Defensive Coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers unleashed it on the NFL in the early 90's... was that called a 'gimmick'.. or 'brilliance'?
Think about it... what's more 'gimmicky', dropping a 300 pound defensive linemen into pass coverage, or putting an athletic running back into a single wing shot gun formation?
In Super Bowl XLIII when James Harrison returned an interception 100 yards for the Steelers on a zone blitz call, I don't remember any of the TV announcers saying: "Boy, that zone blitz gimmick really had the Cardinals offense off balance on that play".
Anyone who knows anything about football knows that schemes are only as good as the execution of the players performing the scheme.
Lets start praising the player execution of the wildcat formation, and not some made up 'gimmick' pixie dust that TV announcers and certain journalists will have you believe is the only thing making the wildcat a success in the NFL.
Keep spreading u'm,
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Coach Rod, in his second year now at the University of Michigan is seeing similar success as in his second year at West Virginia University with his spread offense system.
Below is a video of Coach Rod back in the day explaining his 'Outside Zone/Perimeter Game'
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Sunday, September 13, 2009
Well on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Michigan it was hard not to start thinking about a great future ahead for Tate Forcier and the Michigan Wolverines.
Matt Millen was surely impressed, doing the game in the booth for ABC who has seen his share of talented football players as a player and NFL executive.
I got the feeling I was watching a little of Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Colt McCoy mixed into one very confident college quarterback, a true freshmen quarterback at that...
His decision making was excellent in the spread offense devised by Rich Rodriguez, aka Rich Rod or Coach Rod.
Is he a physical specimen? No.. but neither was Montana, Tarkenton, or nor is McCoy and Romo.
Forcier just seems to have that 'it' factor... you know, those intangibles that are hard to measure, but result in positive plays and an uncanny knack for raising the rest of the teams ability and intensity.
As for Coach Rod, I'm very happy for him. First off if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be running this 'spread offense' online franchise and the likes of Urban Meyer, Butch Jones, Herb Hand, and many others likely wouldn't be coaching at such a high level either.
Isn't the spread offense fun when fun players execute it?!
Keep spreading u'm!