Saturday, January 2, 2010
This dual threat QB out of the Mid-American Conference is the only player in NCAA history with over 12,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards (he could break 3,000 yards rushing in the bowl game) and is currently third all time in total offensive yards. He also holds the FBS record for total touchdowns with 148.
If you haven't seen LaFevour play, you have one last chance Wednesday night (January 6, 2010) in the GMAC Bowl. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM (ET) on ESPN. CMU will take on Troy, champions of the Sun Belt Conference.
Here's some video of LaFevour in a game versus Eastern Michigan this past season.
Keep spreading e'm!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We all know the accomplishments, the stats, the records, the trophies, the good will missions, etc... over that span. Will we ever see that again, the 'whole package' like I explained above... I highly doubt it.
I guess we can consider ourselves blessed, to have witness it and been around for this special time of Tim Tebow at the University of Florida.
My hope is on Friday in the Sugar Bowl vs Cincinnati, we could see one last jump pass, one last stiff arm, one last bomb for a TD to Cooper, one last bulldozer-ing of a defender, one last inside shovel option pass to Hernandez, one last Gator chomp after a big run, one last explosive speech in the defensive huddle on the sideline, one last biblical eye black, and finally ... one last Gator win for #15.
Enjoy the video, a tribute to Tim Tebow:
Keep spreading e'm.. and Go Gators!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Lets take a look of some of these moments and games over the past decade:
1) Appalachian State University vs the University of Michigan -September 2007
The 2007 Appalachian State vs Michigan game was held on September 1, 2007 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
It pitted the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines against the two-time defending champions of the Division I FCS (1-AA), the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
In what was hailed as one of the biggest upsets in all of sports, the Mountaineers shocked the Wolverines 34–32. It was the first win by a team in Division I FCS team over a ranked team in Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) since the NCAA split the divisions in 1978. The game has been referred to by one sports writer as the 'Miracle in Michigan'.
Appalachian State ran a potent spread offense, lead by sophomore quarterback Armanti Edwards. Many college football experts credited the spread offense system that ASU ran as the ultimate equalizer and the reason for the win.
The game made the front page of The New York Times, which called the game "one of the biggest upsets in college football history" and drew a comparison to David and Goliath.
2) University of Pittsburgh vs West Virginia University - November 2005, December 2007
November 2005 - The 98th version of the Backyard Brawl saw WVU dominate a much slower PITT team 45-13, as admitted by head coach Dave Wannstedt: "They're just faster then us out there, we need to get faster in order to compete".
Pat White rushed for a record 220 yards and two scores, while Steve Slaton rushed for 179 yards and two scores in the game for the potent WVU spread offense.
December 2007 - The 100th edition of the Backyard Brawl had national implications, with West Virginia ranked #2 in the BCS, all they needed was a win over there rival PITT to get into the BCS Championship game vs Ohio State. The Mountaineers were a 4 touchdown favorite in the game.
With the Mountaineers dominating the two previous match-ups in 2005 and 2006, Dave Wannstedt and his defensive staff engineered a great game plan, boxing in the high powered spread option offense of West Virginia, not allowing any big plays as in previous years.
After the 13-9 upset victory, Wannstedt reflected back on the comments he made after the 2005 game, "I guess we finally got faster".
3) University of Oregon vs University of Michigan - September 2007
This game was Michigan's worst defeat since 1968, a 39-7 loss in Ann Arbor. Dennis Dixon threw for 368 yards and a career high 4 touchdowns passes, he also rushed for 76 yards and one touchdown.
The Ducks led 31-7 at halftime, and faced little opposition in the second half. According to Oregon coach Mike Bellotti the game was a "good win because I think there were some questions about how Michigan was going to bounce back, and whether we would be competitive. I think our players took that to heart." This game caused Michigan to open the season with two home losses, both to spread offense teams featuring dual threat quarterbacks.
4) West Virginia University vs University of Georgia - Sugar Bowl, January 2006The 2006 Sugar Bowl featured the Big East champions, the West Virginia Mountaineers and the SEC champions, the Georgia Bulldogs. The game is thought to have raised the Big East's profile in the wake of losing 3 members to the ACC, and being called by some in the media as 'The Big Least'.
The game was played in Atlanta as the Louisiana Superdome was still unfit to host a game in the months after Hurricane Katrina. Georgia was favored by 2 touchdowns, and had a home field advantage playing in Atlanta.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese proclaimed the win the most significant football victory in conference history because it gave credibility back to the revamped league.
True freshman Steve Slaton, now with the Houston Texans in the NFL rushed for 204 yards and three TDs in a 38-35 win for WVU.
5) University of Florida vs University of Oklahoma - BCS Championship, January 2009
Tim Tebow's two touchdown passes and Percy Harvin's two-yard run led the Florida Gators to their second BCS National Championship in three years. The Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 24-14, in front of a record crowd of 78,468 in Miami.
Urban Meyer became the first coach to win two BCS championship games, and one of only five coaches in NCAA history to win two titles in his first four years at a college.
Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford, two high profiled spread offense quarterbacks combined for four interceptions in the game despite throwing for just eight combined over the course of the regular season.
6) New England Patriots vs New York Giants - December, 2007
In their final regular season game, the 15-0 Patriots traveled to Giants Stadium, trying to win a record 16th game of the season. With the game scheduled to air on NFL Network, not available on some cable providers, the NFL arranged a three-way simulcast of the game with CBS and NBC, the first time an NFL game was broadcast on three networks, and the first national simulcast of any NFL game since Super Bowl I.
The high powered pro spread offense of New England lead by Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker won a hard fought 38-35 game. In this game, Randy Moss set the record for most touchdown receptions in a season with 23, and Tom Brady set one for touchdown passes with 50.
These teams met again in Super Bowl XLII a month later, with the Giants upsetting the Patriots 17-14.
7) Texas Tech University vs University of Texas - November 2008
Number 5 ranked Texas Tech led the Texas Longhorns for most of the game, and by as much as nineteen points at one point. Texas rallied to take a one-point lead with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game.
Graham Harrell's last pass of the game was to wide receiver Michael Crabtree who caught the ball near the right sideline and somehow broke away from two Longhorn defenders to scamper in for the winning score with second left to play. The extra point gave Texas Tech a 39–33 lead with one second remaining.
8) University of Texas vs University of Southern California - BCS Championship, January 2006
The University of Southern California (USC) entered the game with a 34 game winning streak, the longest active streak in Division I-A, having won the 2004 BCS National Championship.
Texas brought the second longest active winning streak into the game, having won 19 straight, and also entered as Rose Bowl defending champion, having defeated Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl. Their combined 53 game win streak was an NCAA record for teams playing each other.
Vince Young, possibly the most dynamic dual threat quarterback in NCAA history accounted for 467 total yards (passing and running) in the championship game, which is the best performance ever in a BCS Championship game.
Facing 4th and 5 from the 9 yard line on the games final drive, Young received the shotgun snap and found his receivers covered. He then scampered towards the right sideline and received a critical block from WR Justin Blalock as he won the footrace to the end zone. The score, Young's third rushing touchdown of the game, gave the Longhorns a one point lead with 19 seconds left in the game. Young successfully reached the end zone again on the following two point conversion, giving the Longhorns a 41–38 victory.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Lets take a look at the decade and some of the major coaching influences on the spread offense.
1) Rich Rodriguez -West Virginia (2001-2007), Michigan (2008-present)
In 2001, Rich Rodriguez was named head football coach of his Alma Mater, West Virginia University. In Rodriguez's first season, the Mountaineers went 3-8. The 2002 team registered the greatest turn around in Big East football history with a 9-4 record, with back-to-back road wins against ranked Virginia Tech and Pitt, and a Continental Tire Bowl berth. The Mountaineers finished second in the nation in rushing with 283 yards per game out of the spread offense that Rodriguez created at Glenville State College, and refined at Tulane and Clemson as offensive coordinator under Tommy Bowden.
Rodriguez was one of the most successful coaches in West Virginia University history. He lead the first consecutive Top 10 finishes in school history, four consecutive New Year's day bowl appearances, the school's first BCS bowl win over SEC champion Georgia in 2005, three Big East championships, eight wins over Top 25 teams, twenty six straight weeks in the Top 25, a 30-6 record from 2005-2007.
It could be argued that Rodriguez invented the 'zone read' concept out of the spread offense, which places a dual threat quarterback into a read situation out of the shot gun, with a split second decision required on whether he keeps the ball or hands it off at the mesh point with the tailback running a zone play, depending on what the backside defensive end on the line of scrimmage does on the play. This play alone has spread in popularity amongst hundreds (if not thousands) of college, high school, and junior football teams throughout the United States over the decade.
The triple option has since been added to the zone read, see Coach Rod explain it here back in 2007.
2) Urban Meyer - Utah (2003-2004), Florida (2005-present)
In his first year at Utah, Meyer was named the Mountain West Conference football Coach of the Year, posting a 10–2 record. He also earned honors as The Sporting News National Coach of the Year, the first University of Utah coach to do so. Meyer's success can be attributed to his spread offense system. At Utah, Meyer's base offense displayed three, four, or five wide receivers and showcased the quarterback in the shotgun formation. With the Utes, he introduced the concept of motion into the backfield from perimeter skill players and turned it into an spread option attack, adding elements of the traditional run oriented option offense.
In 2004, Meyer led the undefeated Utes to a Bowl Championship Series bid, something that had not been done by a team from a non-automatically qualifying BCS conference since the BCS' creation in 1998. He remained at Utah long enough to coach the team to a Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh, capping off the Utes' first undefeated season (12–0) since 1930.
In 2005, Meyer was hired as the head football coach of the University of Florida. Immediately, people in the media and some football coaches claimed that the style of spread offense Meyer ran at Utah could never make it in the tough SEC, known for its great defensive speed.
Urban Meyer has compiled a record of 56-10 since 2005 at Florida, winning two national championships and two SEC championships in that period. The Sporting News has just awarded him college football coach of the decade.
3) Joe Tiller - Purdue University (2000-2008)
Joe Tiller was the head football coach at Purdue University from 1997 to 2008. During his tenure with Purdue, Tiller led the Boilermakers to ten bowl games in twelve years. Prior to Tiller's arrival in 1997, the Boilermakers had played in only five bowl games.
He was the first to use the spread offense in the Big Ten, a more pass oriented spread then run. Under Tiller and his spread offense, Purdue annually had one of the best offenses in the Big 10.
4) Mike Leach - Texas Tech (2000-present)
Under Mike Leach, Texas Tech has been known for its high-scoring, pass oriented spread offense. In a 2004 game vs TCU, the Red Raiders fell behind 21-0 late in the 2nd quarter, later to put on an offensive show and eventually win the game 70–35.
Texas Tech ended the 2008 regular season with 11 wins and 1 loss, the best in school history. The season also marked the first win over a #1 ranked team (Texas). The Red Raiders, along with Oklahoma and Texas, shared the Big 12 South division title. On December 2, 2008, the Associated Press named Mike Leach the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Mike Leach is a disciple of Hal Mumme, known for developing the Air Raid offense.
5) Mike Martz - St Louis Rams (2000-2005)
Mike Martz became the head coach of the Saint Louis Rams on February 2, 2000 after Dick Vermeil retired immediately after winning Super Bowl XXXIV. He led the Rams to a 10–6 regular season record in 2000, but they lost in the 1st round to the New Orleans Saints 31–28.
The 'Greatest Show On Turf' went on to post a 14-2 record in 2001, before losing in Super Bowl XXXVI to the New England Patriots on a last second field goal.
Martz's spread offense relied on getting all five receivers into pass patterns that stretched the field vertically and horizontally, setting up defensive backs with route technique, and the quarterback throwing to a spot where the receiver could make the catch and turn up field for large 'run after catches' or RAC.
Pass protection was critical, because at least two of the five receivers would run a deep in, skinny post, comeback, speed out, or shallow cross pattern. Mike Martz credits the offensive system as being influenced by Sid Gillman and refined by former NFL coach Don Coryell of the San Diego Chargers.
6) Chip Kelly - University of Oregon (2007-present)
Chip Kelly's potent spread option offense attack was an instant success at the University of Oregon. In 2007, his first season with the Ducks as Offensive Coordinator, they led the Pac-10 in scoring (38.2 ppg) and total offense (468 ypg), and also amassed the most yards in the history of Oregon football.
In March 2009, Chip Kelly was named head coach of Oregon, his first head coaching job at the collegiate level. Kelly became the first Pac-10 football coach to win an outright conference championship in his first season, sending the University of Oregon to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1995.
On December 7th, 2009 Coach Kelly was named Pac-10 Coach Of The Year. He is the second Ducks coach to earn the honor, the other one being Rich Brooks , who won the award twice.
Chip Kelly's spread offense is a favorite here at SpreadOffense.com, check out some of the video clips of the Ducks at Spread Offense TV
7) Gus Malzahn - University of Arkansas (2006), University of Tulsa (2007-2008), Auburn University (2009 - present)
Gus Malzahn is known as one of the innovators of the wildcat offense, and has been described as one of the games most innovative offensive minds, not just in the college ranks, but in all of football.
Malzahn joined Houston Nutt's University of Arkansas staff after the 2005 season, as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Malzahn was part of the Razorbacks 2006 successful season in which they won the SEC Western Division championship, and installed the 'WildCat/WildHog' formation with the help of quarterbacks coach, David Lee.
In January, 2007, Malzahn received an offer from the University of Tulsa to be co-offensive coordinator (with Herb Hand, formally of West Virginia the other coordinator) and Assistant Head Coach. During the 2007 at Tulsa, Malzahn emerged as one of the premier offensive minds in college football, as Tulsa ranked first in the nation in total yards per game, ahead of Texas Tech and Hawaii, and with a more balanced spread offense attack.
The 2008 Tulsa Golden Hurricane offense was the nation's most balanced spread offense attack, ranking 5th in the nation in rushing and 9th in the nation in passing.
On December 28, 2008, Gus Malzahn was named offensive coordinator of Auburn University.
Gus Malzahn's spread offense is also a favorite here at SpreadOffense.com, check out some of the video clips of Malzahn's offenses in action at Spread Offense TV
8) Josh McDaniels - New England Patriots (2005-2008), Denver Broncos (2009-present)
Josh McDaniels will go down in spread offense lore as the offensive coordinator who lead the New England Patriots 2007 offensive squad to 67 touchdowns (50 passing and 17 rushing) and 589 total points.
The New England Patriots in 2007 became the first NFL team to pass more than half the time from the shotgun spread offense formation. That offense was perhaps the most dynamic single season group in NFL history.
9) David Lee - University of Arkansas (2003-2006), Miami Dolphins (2007-present)
David Lee was named “Innovator of the Year” in 2008 by the Sporting News for introducing the “Wildcat offense” to the National Football League.
Bill Parcells, the VP of Football Operations for the Miami Dolphins hired Lee to be the Dolphins quarterback coach for the 2008 season, where he still holds that position.
In college, Lee worked with Gus Malzahn in 2006 at Arkansas where they installed the 'WildCat or WildHog' formation, showcasing Darren McFadden in the single wing formation.
Currently with the Miami Dolphins, David Lee works closely with Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning and Tight Ends Coach George DeLeone to implement the Miami WildCat formation.
This formation features Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, and Pat White as the 'wildcat' or single wing back accepting the snap.
10) Greg Davis - University of Texas (2000-present)
Greg Davis is currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the University of Texas. In 2006, he was awarded the Broyles Award for the nation's top assistant coach for the 2005 season which included a national championship victory in the Rose Bowl over USC.
In that season, Vince Young established himself as one of the most dynamic dual threat quarterbacks in NCAA history, and Coach Davis implemented many zone read concepts into the Longhorn offense, using Young's dynamic running and passing ability out of the spread offense.
One of Davis's best known skill sets is his ability to coach the quarterback position. During his 11 years at Texas, Davis has developed Chris Simms, Major Applewhite, Vince Young, and Colt McCoy.
In the next two posts, we will look at some of the biggest players and individual plays in the last decade dominated by the spread offense.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I always like to use Steve Young, the great QB from BYU in college and the 49ers in the NFL as an example of having a QB who can excel in both offenses. Now Young never played in the modern day spread offense that uses the dual threat QB on designed running plays, but there is no doubt he would have excelled, just as he did in the West Coast Offense.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009
In 2009, nine of the league’s 12 teams have seen their scoring averages fall, and eight of those have dipped by at least 4 points per game.
Now one area you have to look at is the quarterback position, Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) and Chase Daniel (Missouri) both graduated, and Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) has been out of commission since opening day with a shoulder injury.
The only returning quarterback out of the 'big 4' QB's from 2008 was Colt McCoy.
“Graham and Chase graduated and Sam got hurt,” McCoy said, outlining the star quarterbacks lost from last season’s record run of scoring.
“Every year is going to be different. It’s not normal to have a year like last year,” said McCoy, whose Longhorns rank second in the nation in scoring. “I think we had four or five guys we were talking about the Heisman every week, all in the Big 12. That’s rare in any conference.”
Well this year, two players will represent the Big 12 in New York City Saturday night at the Heisman trophy presentation, those being McCoy, and Ndamukong (his first name translates to: 'House Of Spears' - Nice!) Suh.
Suh, a defensive tackle out of Nebraska is a rare combination of size, strength, smarts, and speed on the defensive side of the ball.
Here's some of Suh's stats in 2009:
Total Tackles: 82
Solo Tackles for loss: 16
QB Hurries: 21
Big Suh is a 3 technique defensive tackle, and the stats above are just incredible from that interior defensive position. He is so versatile, that he can easily play the 1 or 5 technique positions also.
Here's a video on Suh, courtesy of ESPN
In last Saturday's Big12 championship game vs Texas, he sacked Colt McCoy 4 and a half times and tied a school record with seven tackles for loss.
In a year when defenses around the country made great strides in slowing down the spread offense, Big Suh gets our vote at www.SpreadOffense.com for the 2009 Heisman trophy.
Keep spreading u'm,
www.SpreadOffense.tv (video sharing platform)
Friday, November 27, 2009
1) Isn't it great to see Vince Young back starting at quarterback for the Titans and playing at such a high level in the NFL?! There was a play on Monday night that caused me to have a flash back of the the 2006 Rose bowl game. Brian Cushing (USC), now with the Houston Texans was chasing Vince Young (Texas) down the sideline on a scramble, and it was like 'Hey, I've seen that before!"
2) Tim Tebow plays his last game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, or “The Swamp" Saturday at 3:30pm vs Florida State. Urban Meyer has shown a lot of emotions this week in press conferences when Tebow's name has been mentioned.
To see videos of Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators over the years, Click Here
3) Nevada takes on Boise State Friday night for the WAC championship (10:00pm on ESPN2), immediately following the 'Backyard Brawl' with Pittsburgh traveling to West Virginia (7:00pm on ESPN2).
Nevada (8-3, 7-0 WAC) is the first team in NCAA history to have three 1,000-yard rushers in one season. The Wolf Pack lead the nation with an average of 373 yards rushing per game. No one else is within 60 yards of them. Nevada is known as the inventor of the 'pistol formation', a spread offense extension that has really become popular though all levels of football.
To see videos on the pistol formation run by various teams, Click Here
Have a great rivalry weekend folks!
Keep spreading u'm!
Monday, November 16, 2009
As suspected, the Titans secondary began to creep up into the box when they saw Jackson in the shot-gun pre-snap (thinking run), and could not adjust to the play-action pass.
See the video below:
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www.SpreadOffense.tv (video sharing platform)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Click Here to be directed to the segment, good stuff! Also, Click Here to listen to Bill Belichick 'mic'd up' for the game Sunday... and his classic pregame prediction: "I kind of got the feeling this is going to be a little bit of a Pat White game". Damn, that guy is a great, smart, prepared football coach.
Keep spreading u'm!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
For our loyal readers, you know we predicted this occurrence would hit the NFL by 2011, so much for our Nostradamus moment... how's 2009 hit you doubters who pelted us back in early 2008 for saying 2011!
For those of you who didn't see Pat White's first play on Sunday afternoon, it was a 33 yard option keeper down the left sideline (see video below).
Now kudos to the Patriots, they adjusted very well to the spread option ... much better then last year when the Phins launched the 'wildcat' on them. To me, that's the ultimate complement to the spread option offense, when Bill Belichick admits that they spent 30% of their defensive practice preparing for the wildcat/spread option offense the week before the Dolphins game.
As for Pat White, he finished the game with 45 yards rushing and 0-1 passing. I think the '0-1 passing' needs to be the next part of the package that's worked on and refined to truly round out this 'WildCat 2.0' series for the Dolphins.
Below is the video of Pat White and Ricky Williams executing the spread option offense for a touchdown versus the New England Patriots.
Here's Pat White's first snap of the game, a 33 yard gain off the pistol speed option play.
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http://www.spreadoffense.tv/ (video sharing platform)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
As the article explains, "Reading the 3 technique DT player is not unknown in football by any means. In fact it is quite common with option teams that run midline option especially from under center. The play can be devastating when executed with the right players. To the best of my knowledge however it is relatively uncommon in Division I college football to read the 3 technique DT out of shotgun with more of a zone blocking scheme like Oregon employs."
To read the full article with some great frozen video clips, Click Here. (Courtesy of Trojan Football Analysis)
Here's a video piece of all of Jeremiah Masoli's runs versus USC
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www.SpreadOffense.tv (video sharing platform)
Sunday, November 1, 2009
All last week, many college football writers felt the urge to open up the 'spread option offense is figured out or even dead' dialogue again, dusting it off and deciding that 'this time' finally in 2009 it has been figured out.
And I guess I really couldn't blame them.... since around the country it seemed the likes of Florida, Auburn, and even Texas had shown serious kinks in their spread offense armours.
But then came yesterday, Auburn scored 33 (vs Ole Miss), Florida scored 41 (vs Georgia), Texas scored 41 (vs Okla State), and oh ya... Oregon scored 47 (vs USC).
Click here for highlights of the game, courtesy of ESPN.com
Post game interview with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly below:
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www.SpreadOffense.tv (share your videos here)
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!
Keep spreading u'm!
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.