On one of the worst sports days of the year, I imagine many of us are still starving for any kind of football content. I came across this article describing some of the concepts used by both Arizona State and Texas A&M ahead of their season-opening battle in Houston. I thought it would be appropriate for this fan page since this is the type of content presented consistently here and the forum posters across the board are generally sharp.
Many on this site have an affinity for the spread. I, myself, love many of the concepts and philosophies that the spread employs. Way back before Harbaugh was hired to lead Michigan, I had talked about my optimal offense being something very similar to what Harbaugh runs in San Francisco. The offense of the 49ers, while in many ways similar, was not the same as the one that Harbaugh utilized at Stanford. While with the Cardinal, Harbaugh began implementing many spread concepts into his heavy formations. For the 49ers, he still utilized a lot of FBs and TEs, but also began spreading the field a bit more and incorporating even more read option concepts.
I expect his offense at Michigan to be a bit of a mix of the two: a bit more spread out and a bit more utilization of the athletes he can pull at Michigan, but closer to the simplified schematic ways of his time at Stanford. Still, Harbaugh has never lost sight of an important concept: utilizing width and space. The spread utilizes width by positioning athletes along the line of scrimmage at the snap. Harbaugh does that too, in some ways. He loves to have wide splits to the field while utilizing multiple TEs on the opposite side. Borges talked about preferring to get to the edge through blocking rather than throwing to the edge, and Harbaugh does a lot of that. But Harbaugh also utilizes a few WR screens to get to the edge.
And at the heart of the pass game is the preferences for gaining width to support the interior run game, and gaining depth to keep the safeties honest. That’s what a West Coast passing attack does. And while Harbaugh is still very much run to set up the pass (rather than the Walsh view of pass to set up the run), he maintains that constraint and element of his attack to keep defenses honest.
So here’s my look at how Harbaugh utilizes space, width, and athletes outside of the Power O and Inside Zone that he’s most famous for.
I found these remarks interesting, as we continue the war on semantics: spread vs. manball.
With Keith Price at QB Washington ran pretty much a spread offense with a ton of zone read.
According to Sarkisian, USC will be instituting a more up-tempo, no huddle, but pro-style offense:
Sarkisian says there are some similarities in the offense he runs and that which Drevno is accustomed to with the 49ers.
"We're similar in a lot of the different schemes that we run," Sarkisian said. "(The 49ers are) a power running team, we love to run the power play. They love to run the counter. We love to run the counter.
"I think both of us, over the last couple of years, have invested time into sprinkling the zone read in as part of your offense to make the defenses defend the quarterback and to defend the shotgun runs, the pistols runs which is an area that we invested in the last couple of years. The difference was our tempo this year that we used at Washington as opposed to what they've done with the 49ers."
It seems most posters here are like me and don't know much at all about KSU or Bill Snyder, other than the fact he's been around a long time and he seems every year to win more games than most expect him to. I came across this great article about Snyder, the influence he has had on the game and his coaching tree. It's really quite impressive. Now, perhaps this article gives him more credit than he is due, but it certainly goes a long way to showing why year after year the old guy puts quality teams out on the playing field.
Something I hadn't realized is that he and Rich Rod both developed very similar spread concepts at about the same time, independent of each other.
There's also a link to an SI article with this interesting tidbit (with added bonus of discussion about Jermy Gallon and his High School coach if you click on the SI link) :
While Meyer and Rodriguez would eventually become confidants, Meyer's most direct inspiration for his ground game came from Kansas State, where coach Bill Snyder had made a direct-snap running back out of quarterback Michael Bishop and contended for the 1998 national title. "I went out to visit Kansas State and saw what they were doing with the quarterback, and I came away from there amazed," says Meyer. "That stuff really impacted me."
I'm sure that most of us read Smart Football, but in case anyone missed it, Chris Brown (=Smart Football) has a great article on the Baylor offense and its architect, Art Briles:
There's some really interesting stuff here. For me, this was the big eye-opener:
Superficially, Baylor is yet another shotgun spread that pushes the tempo and rarely huddles. But when you watch the Bears, it's evident that this is an offense unlike the others. While more and more college and NFL teams are adopting the same up-tempo spread philosophy Briles used at Stephenville, Baylor has stayed one step ahead by taking these ideas — from formations to play-calling aggressiveness to pace — to their extremes.
The first thing to notice when watching Baylor is the splits of the wide receivers. While most teams put their wide receivers on the numbers, the Bears line theirs up well outside, sometimes directly on the sideline. By doing this, they force defenses to account for the entire width of the field.
The fascinating advantage of Baylor's splits is the effect they have on pass coverage. Defenses now use lots of complex, hybrid pass coverages, but most still reduce to a basic distinction: Is it man-to-man or zone? By taking such wide splits, Baylor puts every pass defender on an island, transforming most zone defenses into a type of de facto one-on-one man coverage.
And this play (play-action inverted veer, with the inside receiver running a slant-and-go) is just plain nasty:
OT ESPN Interview of RichRod Offensive Philosophy: Fast break, Urban Meyer, Northwestern vs Michigan & Denard
I can remember Urban [Meyer], when he first got the Bowling Green job, we were at a coaches convention hospitality bar. He told me, ‘I’d like to run some of your offense.’ So he sent his whole staff for a week, we traded some ideas and so we always traded ideas.