The Spread Offense

Submitted by Marley Nowell on October 12th, 2008 at 10:26 PM

I am sick and tired of hearing about how Rich Rod has done us some great dis-service by installing the spread offense this year.  Anyone in the media will simply say Michigan is bad this year "because of the system."  This team was going to be terrible regardless of what offense we ran.  Would running a pro-style I-Formation make the O-Line block any better?  Its ridiculous to blame basic flaws in execution on an offensive system.  People have also been complaining about how Rich Rod has been calling too many running plays and refuses to play to the our strengths.  What QB have they been watching all year?  How can you have Threet throw more when he can't even throw a simple screen.  How does the offensive system matter when you a redshirt freshman QB who clearly needs to work on his mechanics.  McGuffie and Odoms have shown they will be stables of this offense for years to come.  We need Shaw and Stonum to see the field more so they can improve, and the O-line needs to establish some consistent play.

 As for the defense I think Shafer is not playing to the strengths of the defense.  Basically the only strong part of our defense is the D-line.  Our LBs are all terrible at reacting to plays.  They can be exploited in outsides runs and pass protection.  These players need to be given one assignment when possible, and players should not be passing off coverage.  Its become clear that reaction and communication on the field are simply not there.  Morgan Trent has not shown the confidence I expected of a 5th-year senior, and is bad in run support.  Warren has shown flashes, but is still a sophmore.  Brown has been bad early, but he have Harrison have shown to be more competent.  We really need out LBs to improve, because there is no depth there.  Its unbelieveable that our best LB was a low 3-star running back recruit from a small catholic school with no other big time offers except michigan state.  Whoever was in charge of recruiting LBs the past few years really dropped the ball.



October 12th, 2008 at 10:33 PM ^

Whoever was in charge of recruiting LBs the past few years really dropped the ball.

So it really was coaching that caused all of those fumbles...


October 12th, 2008 at 10:33 PM ^

I think you have some points man. This,"inheritance," RR got was a mixed bag you know. Storied program+Hype+mad money+New Stadium+Virtually no returning Skill Players+and a whole new Conference= Potential Disaster. Unfair to be rash in this situation to the coaches. But Michigan is a tough place to coach. The expectations are wayyyy to high and that is part of the problem. You can be firm with your expectations but we as fans need to be more realistic. And also more patient with the players and coaches. Throwing people under the bus only gives more negative energy into the system and further feeds our current dilemma. 


October 12th, 2008 at 10:55 PM ^

My beef with the offense is that it has been sold as this fast-paced offense, with guys hustling back to the ball for every play... and I'm not seeing it. Now, I know I'm a moron, but the pace of the game when Michigan has the ball does not seem any faster than any other team gathered in a huddle... With all the sideline checking that's going on, it sure seems to me that defenses have plenty of time to get themselves ready for whatever might be coming their way... this may fall on the players, not being certain of their offense, but could it also be from coaches who are second and third-guessing their offense, so that in the end it's not the defense that is caught off-balance, but the Michigan offense?

I'm not trying to be silly here... does anyone think that this offense looks faster getting from one play to the next? with the obvious difference being the simple lack of a huddle...


October 13th, 2008 at 7:28 AM ^

"My beef with the offense is that it has been sold as this fast-paced
offense, with guys hustling back to the ball for every play... and I'm
not seeing it."

They're still learning the offense.  With all of the current problems they are having with execution and mental errors do you really think they should attempt now to run the offense at warp speed?  Do you really believe that that's going to solve anything?


Hell, if anything, I wish the play clock was two minutes or they would give each team fifteen timeouts per half.


October 13th, 2008 at 9:48 AM ^

It's their first year in the system.  On top of that, half our offense is made up of freshmen.  Those things will come in time.  Rodriguez is one of the innovators of this spread offense.  His teams run/will run it well.  But you can't expect it immediately.

Anonymous Coward (not verified)

October 12th, 2008 at 11:34 PM ^

I have recorded EVERY game this season and watched it all the way thru and again frame by frame on many offensive plays. What I keep seeing and can't for the life of me understand is how many primary blocks are missed on almost EVERY running play. McGuffie is getting blown up in the backfield at a 30% clip and 90% of those are missed blocks, by gurads, tackles and other backs.

Against Toldeo alone in the 1st quarter, three key blocks were missed in the first series. What are they watching in film and what are the lineman not getting. I understand they are young and inexperienced, but if you understand nothing else about playing the line, you block the first guy in front of you.

If the "scheme" says block player X, but that player is a line backer 3-4 yards in the d-backfield and the D-end is blowing right past untouched and stopping McG as soon as he gets the ball, is the scheme right.

I know I am used to the old Michigan running game, but all these other schools running the spread don'e have these blocking problems.

Anonymous Coward (not verified)

October 12th, 2008 at 11:38 PM ^

When I saw the post heading I was getting ready to scream, but you laid it out perfectly. The scheme means nothing we need to block and execute.

Hard to say the D is kiling us considering they gave up no touchdowns yesterday, but they have been getting worse. To let Toledo control the ball like they did was sickening. Our back 7 has no idea hard to cover anyone in a zone defense they run back wait for it to be completed then make a tackle. Toledo continually kept 7 in to block and ran 3 man routes that were open continually it was disgusting watching those LB's and safeties give up pass after pass.

West Texas Blue

October 12th, 2008 at 11:39 PM ^

How much can our D-Line do when teams are going max protect on every play? As good as they are, four lineman aren't going to get great penetration on 7-8 offensive blockers. Since our LBs can't tackle in space and are slow, teams are exploiting this by throwing short route passes to challenge them instead of our cornerbacks. Implementing a new scheme is difficult; the players aren't going to master Shafer's scheme overnight.


October 13th, 2008 at 2:32 AM ^

To everyone who asks about the "system" is - do you really think this offense would be any better if they lined up in the I-formation and ran right at the defense? With this offensive line?

I will say this, however - I've heard a number of people whose opinions I didn't care to trust say that RichRod should have run something other than his spread in Year One in order to help with the transition and maximize success during the year. But when Gerry DiNardo said it on BTN after the game - and mock his record if you will, but this is a former D-1 head coach at a couple of different programs - for the first time, it made me think twice. I still think that RichRod is well within his rights to install his offense this year with this team, but I no longer think it's out-of-bounds to question him for doing so.

The Claw

October 13th, 2008 at 8:30 AM ^

I look at it this way. We are bad because of RichRod and his stupid system. You can't tell me that if we would have gotten Les, Schiano, or someone else who stayed with a pro-style offense that we would have had the purging we had. Mallet would be our qb and he's 100x better than our 2 jokers. Boren would have stayed. The 2 other senior lineman probably wouldn't have quit, making our o-line a strength and we would have one of the better qb's in the Big Ten.

Rod did this to the team, no one else, because he likes this crazy system. I personally hate it. I'm old school. A qb should hand off the ball and throw it, not run the stupid thing.

And his running plays are basically 80% sweeps. The sweep is the hardest run to execute and yet, that's all we run along with the qb keeper up the middle.

Now in 2 or 3 years we might have a hell of a team, but I ask you this, why should we have to wait? That's how screwy his system is. And I don't care if we win a NC with this system, I'm still going to hate it and wish Rod would have never came here.

I'll never stop cheering for my team, but god, this is ridiculous!

Anonymous Coward (not verified)

October 13th, 2008 at 10:40 AM ^

if my aunt had nutz she'd be my uncle...

 I got news for you jr..Mallet was GONE. he mad this clear at the capital one know when we though we were going to get LES MILES. And you blame RR for a quitter like Boren leaving? why b/c of conditioning? c'mon....WEAK.