Interesting Article on the Apex of the Spread in Smart Football

Submitted by DamnYankee on October 30th, 2009 at 8:14 AM

This is an interesting article in Smart Football. The most informative parts are the quotes by Mack Brown on defending it. "All players in the secondary, safties included, must be able to shut down receivers in man coverage. Linebackers have to be fast and able to cover running backs or receivers coming out of 5 receiver sets. The lineman all must be effective pass rushers so the need for blitzing is reduced." I know we don't have the defensive players yet, but it does give a blueprint of the direction in which we are headed. We will probably need a couple of more recruiting classes to start reaching that point.

From an offensive standpoint, I am confident that we will continue to evolve and develop effective counter-punches to what is thrown at us.




October 30th, 2009 at 8:36 AM ^

"The offense has arguably become the opposite of an equalizer, it has become an amplifier: if you are talented you can really rack up the points because no one can cover Vince Young, Ted Ginn or the like one-on-one. But if you’re not, you just get sacked and no one gets open."

I guess we need better receivers


October 30th, 2009 at 9:41 AM ^

someone neg-bang this post? Are we really at the point where if someone says something you disagree with it is an auto neg?

What is objectionable about saying we need better receivers? I bet the coaches also think the offense would work a lot better with more talented / more experienced receivers. Our current core is not bad by any stretch, but you are crazy if you think that Matthews, Hemingway, and a bunch of freshmen and sophomores is ideal for running a spread offense.


October 30th, 2009 at 9:57 AM ^

I didn't down vote it, but I could see someone doing that because the thought is too narrow or maybe off base. They are probably too lazy to form an argument, so here's mine...

The point of that quote is that having exceptional athletes on defense negates the ability of one great player in a spread system (designed to get that one player one-on-one) to hurt you. Teams like Texas have such great athletes all over their defense that regular spread teams don't really pose a true threat to upsetting them.

In the opposite sense, Michigan struggled with Toledo last year, and many teams this year, because our dearth of talent on defense. We're very susceptible to spread attacks that might be inferior.

So while yes, we could obviously use some better wide receivers, no team would ever turn down better receivers, that's not the problem.

I think you also touched on the other point, explaining that our wide receivers aren't terrible, but we could use improvement. Just leaving it as "we need better receivers" doesn't generally go over well with the board at large.


October 30th, 2009 at 8:54 AM ^

Very interesting read. I don't think though that Texas is a good example of teams ability to stop the spread. Their defense could stop most offenses no matter what the scheme. Especially one lacking Jeremy Macklin. And if you are on your way to a 35+ point beating then you tend to become more one dimensional. But I do agree that teams are becoming more capable at recognizing and defending the spread.


October 30th, 2009 at 9:02 AM ^

The spread doesn't give the Northwesterns or Missouris on the food chain quite the advanatage that it used to, but it is still the most effective offense, especially if a team has better personnel. RR is still an innovator, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with in the next few years. Having his personnel in place on both sides of the ball will really help.

Hemlock Philosopher

October 30th, 2009 at 9:41 AM ^

Texas has a deep and talented team on defense along with a great DC in Muschamp. This is why they are able to defend against the spread with success. If you noticed, they can also defend against other offenses quite well too.


October 30th, 2009 at 10:16 AM ^

My issue with the quote from Mack Brown is that if you had that level of talent on across your defense you could stop any type of offense. You have 7 guy in the back that can that can cover man to man and 4 guy up from that can get pressure without a blitz. If you had that, on any running play you could run/ pass blitz all day with 6 or more, depending on if the TE stays in for pass protection.

Am I confused about this?


October 30th, 2009 at 10:40 AM ^

there is simply a lot less offensive talent on their schedule.

UL-Monroe... bad
UTEP... bad
Wyoming... bad
Colorado... bad

Texas Tech...
Graham Harrell -- graduated
Michael Crabtree -- NFL

Sam Bradford -- injured
Jermaine Gresham -- injured
Juaquin Iglesias -- NFL
4/5 Oklahoma OL -- graduated/NFL

Chase Daniel -- graduated
Jeremy Maclin -- NFL
Chase Coffman -- NFL

Wolverine In Exile

October 30th, 2009 at 11:05 AM ^

is that you are trying to get the ball to playmakers where there is less of a mass of defenders, ideally, 1 on 1 in "open space". This is valid if you have the assumption that in general, offensive players are more skilled / elusive / athletic than the average defender that would be assigned to guard that person in an ideal 1-on-1 scenario. Mack Brown's theory is that if you deny that assumption of offensive player superiority (b/c the defenseman is now equally athletic as the offenseman), then the odds of a 1on1 matchup between a offenseman/defenseman become exceptionally more equal. From a strategery perspective this is sound.

Now the counter to that is a general assumption is that when you increase the "athleticism" of a player, you generally accept a decrease in "strength/power". So the trade is that teams that play "power" football would then be able to exploit this weakness. Mitigating this thought though is that faster/more athletic defenders may be able to "flow" to the play faster creating a greater mass of defensive strength to power football team's attacking area, thus negating the advantage of individual power advantages of offenseman vs defenseman.

Who said that class in military history and strategy wouldn't be useful???


October 30th, 2009 at 3:59 PM ^

and more offensive diversity amongst all FBS teams would return some of the advantage of the spread. The novelty advantage is gone forever, unfortunately.