Hoke against zone blocking and the spread

Submitted by Victors5 on January 12th, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Hoke has said that he is against zone blocking being an offenses main blocking scheme. I hope he realizes that that you can run power football out of spread formations. Nevada does it out of the pistol and Auburns base running plays are the power and counter, which are used by all pro style teams.

Here is a link on Auburns offense http://offensivebreakdown.blogspot.com/search/label/Gus%20Malzahn

I hope that Hoke and Borges decide to incorperate some spread power running game into their offense, so we can increase our chances of keeping Denard.



January 12th, 2011 at 6:48 PM ^

One reason I was excited about the possibility of Miles coming was the spread/power run look they run at LSU. Hopefully we can incorporate something similar with Hoke.


January 12th, 2011 at 6:57 PM ^

Michigan has had that could not or would not adapt to the existing players on the team has been RR. Jerry Hanlon said it not that long ago, do not ask your players to do something that they cannot be successful at. Hoke knows what he has or will soon; and , he knows what he is doing.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:13 PM ^

Unless that coach had previously adapted his systems to his former players.  Perhaps the pro-style offense he ran before was best suited for his personnel.  Remember, not every team has a bevy of slot ninjas and a QB powered by dilithium that can also throw the ball.  


January 12th, 2011 at 9:07 PM ^

Every coach adapts, including Rod. The offense this year was very different with Denard then it was with Tate last year and both were different on the heavy zone read systems used with pat white and different from the Clemson and Tulane offenses also. But the philosophy remained the same. Our new OC has run a west coast system for 25 years. Hiring him to run a new philosophy would be idiotic. It's an odd hire in my opinion based on the current skill set, which is young and very good at running an offense based on a dramatically different philosophy.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:08 PM ^

He's allowed his OC to run whatever he wanted.  The spread stuff at BSU was because Stan Parrish wanted to run it.

So don't look for Hoke to impose anything on Borges.  It's going to be Borges' call as to what happens with the offense - and to the best of my knowledge, Borges has never done any spread-type offense of any kind.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

He didn't say he would mold his offense around Denard.  In fact he suggested exactly the opposite.

He said when you have special players you have to mold them to what's best for the team, and "usually that's also what's best for the player".

Which suggests to me he's going to flop him to WR because long term (i.e. for the NFL) that's what's best for Denard.


January 12th, 2011 at 6:48 PM ^

Borges does not appear to have run much of anything other than straight plain-vanilla pro-style from all I've been able to gather. At Auburn, his QB's were immobile statues who either threw it or handed off. When Hoke's done spread stuff before it's always been because it was his OC's preference.

In other words, don't hold your breath.

Mitch Cumstein

January 12th, 2011 at 6:51 PM ^

I've heard the description "student of the game" for some of the best coaches.  Surely a coach worth anything forced into a roster can adapt his perceived "best style" to fit into the talent he has.  I can't imagine there aren't schemes and plays that combine the style of play the coaches want with the talents of Denard.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:12 PM ^

and is generally credited with popularizing the scheme. All their backs ran wild b/c the concept was relatively new. But D's have caught up. As someone says below, most pro teams run a combination (ie almost all run zone). Don't think it will be a problem.
<br>I think this statement was meant more to speak of his admiration of MANBALL than any particular blocking scheme. I'm hoping for a MANBALL-y spread system (or a spread-influenced MANBALL).


January 12th, 2011 at 9:51 PM ^

I recall Lloyd's implementation of zone blocking as being his great "innovation" as he was killing off the program and regularly losing to OSU.

I look forward to a repeat of being an over-rated top 10 pre-season pick, then ending the season with 9-10 wins and an over-rated 15-25 with nothing to show for it. 

Ahhhh, the good ol' days, the comfort zone for a Michigan Man.

Zone Left

January 12th, 2011 at 6:51 PM ^

FWIW, I don't think Michigan ran much zone read at all last year.  I think the look was employed a lot, but that the handoffs were programmed for the most part.

That QB off tackle play isn't a spread play, it's a power running play that Michigan ran out of a 3-4 wide formation.  They'd be crazy not to use it some.


January 12th, 2011 at 6:57 PM ^

Just reading between the lines when DB was talking about his conversation with Hoke, plugging in current players to a suitable scheme was a pretty big point when talking transition.

I really would like to think Brady Hoke is not under the impression that Denard is Griese/Brady/Henne.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:37 PM ^

Rodriguez ran plenty of non-zone stuff, especially this year, and Denard doesn't need to be in a spread formation to be successful.  Any offense that gives him opportunities to throw the ball and run the ball, keeping the defense off balance, has a chance to be wildly successful.

S.G. Rice

January 12th, 2011 at 7:40 PM ^

The "ZOMG BRADY HOKE IS AGAINST ZONE BLOCKING AND THE SPREAD" meme grates on me like the whole "Michigan Man" thing grates on some of the rest of y'all.


Oh, yeah, Brian linked this article, in which some San Diego columnist says:

When Cal players clumsily faked injuries to slow Oregon’s high-octane offense in November, Hoke departed from the euphemistic diplomacy of the coaching fraternity and openly criticized the ploy as a “disservice to the players.” This may not have seemed like a big deal, but it showed that Hoke recognizes priorities higher than the protection of his peers. That’s pretty rare in the coaching profession.

When asked recently about the influence of Oregon’s offense, Hoke subtly revealed his disdain for the tactical shift Michigan experienced under Rodriguez. He is convinced that modern spread option offenses can be counterproductive to the core values of smashmouth football and are, therefore, to be avoided.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, when you’re zone blocking all the time -- when you’re playing basketball on grass -- you practice against that all spring, you practice against it all fall and then you’re going to play a two-back team that wants to knock you off the football,” Hoke said. “I don’t think you’re prepared.

“I think there’s a toughness level (required in college football). I still believe you win with defense. That’s been beaten into my head a long time, but I really believe that. The toughness of your team has to be the offensive front and your defensive front.”

Read it again.  It's the columnist, NOT HOKE that says he's against the spread.  And he doesn't say he's against zone blocking at all!

If you read what Hoke actually says, he says it's not a good idea to practice against zone blocking all the time because then you're not prepared to face other blocking schemes.  That is 100% totally logical.  And why is mentioning "basketball on grass" an insult to the spread?  He was a coach in the state of Indiana during the Tiller era FFS.

He doesn't say UGGGH HULK SMASH.  Although god forbid he should advocate something like ZOMG TOUGHNESS.

By saying "Brady Hoke hates the spread and zone blocking" you're buying in to what some columnist wrote.  He could the San Diego Drew Sharp for all we know.


Do you think Hoke has ever had an athlete like Denard Robinson at his disposal before?  Really?  Who was it?

Could it be that just maybe one time a guy might adjust his "system" to take advantage of a special talent?


Look at the stats.  The SDSU QB threw for nearly 4000 yards.  Think he ran the TE waggle 35 times a game?

Michigan ran the ball 556 times versus 385 rushes.

SDSU threw the ball 439 times verus 426 runs - a more balanced attack than Rodriguez's offense but not in the usual way -- they THREW more than the maize and blue..

When some cuts a SDSU Offense every play video, you'll probably see some spread.  And you'll see some I.  You'll see some zone blocking.  You'll see some drive blocking.  Whatever they did, it WORKED:  Their QB averaged 9.1 YPA, better than Denard.  They had a RB gain 1500 yards at 5.8 per pop.  Our RBs as a group managed 1300 at a little better than 4.

If you go by extra points, each team scored 58 TDs.  SDSU of course made more FGs.


Bottom line:  Think a little bit.  I know I'm going to get negged into Bolivian for this post but I can deal with that -- If I had any mgopoints left I would probably end up using them to track down and neg every single post by any author who posts this stupid opinion.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:52 PM ^

I agree with your sentiment, but just because the columnist didn't quote Hoke doesn't mean he didn't profess that sentiment or otherwise confer that to the author.  I'm fairly certain that Hoke passed along the sentiment that he didn't see the spread as a viable base offense, and that can be troubling for some.  Saying you'll neg people for noting this idea is unnecessary.

But that is kind of irrelevant.  Hoke seems like a smart guy who will try to win with the talent that is here, and that will include running some option in addition to the classic 2-TE, single back stuff.  The concern, though, is that he'll do what RR did - try to fit square pegs into his round-hole offense, and it won't work that well.  But again, we won't know until Spring Ball at the earliest, so I'm not going to freak out.

I will say, though, that Hoke's concerns about "always practicing against one type of offense and then being brained by the classic 2-back MANBALL offense" works both ways - you don't practice for spread attacks and you get UM versus basically any spread team since 1998.  That means you don't stop App. St., you get blitzed by Oregon, you give up chunks of yards and points to Florida, Texas runs over you, etc.  My biggest issue with the Carr era was his inability to evolve with college football, to acknowledge that some of those "basketball on grass" teams could kick your butt if you tried to just out-talent them all of the time.  I'll reserve my judgment about Hoke's approach until I see him on the UM sideline, but it is a very real issue how he'll handle the offensive and defensive schemes.


January 12th, 2011 at 8:41 PM ^

I think with this hire (and the assistants being brought in), that we've given up on trying to compete with the Oregon, Texas, USC, Florida crowd.  We've hired a coach that was being considered by Indiana and Minnesota, we aren't pursuing any of the top OCs or DCs, and we do not seem interested in getting any big-time recruiters.  And limiting ourselves to people who know the campus?  If we had given RR another year, and Urban Meyer had decided to come back to coaching next year, would we honestly have disqualified him and chosen Hoke because of Meyer's unfamiliarity with the campus?  We've given up playing on the big stage.  

On a separate point, considering how well people here thought Greg Robinson taught the 3-3-5, how well is Borges going to teach an offense in which a QB does any running?

I'm hoping for the best, but I think we need to start the expectation lowering.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:37 PM ^

Mack Brown was 69 and 49 overall when hired.  He never won a conference title despite 14 previous years of head coaching experience.  How have we given up competing with Texas?  Let's see when they replace Mack Brown what they do.  BTW-they didn't go to a bowl game this year....

As far as Florida goes, don't forget the Zooker...


January 12th, 2011 at 11:16 PM ^

With how many teams run a Spread offense now, the sentiment that you won't be prepared for  power running i-form kind of teams when you run a Spread seems illogical to me, simply because you could easily turn it around the other way. I could easily say that if you practice against a power 2 back offense all the time that you won't be prepared to play against spread teams. I honestly think it is more about having defense players who are versatile, who can try to match up against both styles than anything.