I just finished reading Swing Your Sword (thumbnail review: even if you don’t care one whit about the whole Texas Tech/Craig James kerfuffle, it’s a quick, entertaining read) and there’s one passage that really jumped out at me, for reasons which I doubt I’ll have to explain:
… To me, a balanced offense is one where each skill position touches the ball, and every position contributes to the offensive output. There is nothing balanced about running it 50 percent of the time and throwing it 50 percent of the time if you are only utilizing two or three offensive skill positions and only attacking part of the field…[Emphasis added.]
… I think it’s almost imp0ssible to have a great offense if you have only one or two guys touching the ball. That one guy had better be really, really special, a Hall of Fame type of talent, like Herschel Walker was at Georgia in the early ’80s…
… People get overly impressed by that artificial balance, where it’s half run, half pass, but with only a couple of players touching the ball. You can run the ball every snap, but if you’re in the wishbone, and everybody touches the ball, that’s real balance. Or you can throw the ball every snap, and if everyone touches the ball, that’s real balance.
– Swing Your Sword, pp. 99-101.
Now Mike Leach knows a helluva lot more about moving a football up and down the field than I’ll ever know, so in response to the question “what if you have a super star like A.J. Green – don’t you have to focus on getting him the ball?”, I’ll assume he’d respond by pointing out that spreading the ball around makes it more difficult for a defense to key on said star. (Don’t forget that Leach enjoyed the services of Michael Crabtree for three seasons. There never seemed to be a problem getting Crabtree the ball.)
So Mike Bobo, if you feel like you absolutely have to keep track of something Saturday night to adjust in the fourth quarter, why not try counting who’s getting touches? It can’t be any worse than calling a few futile rushing plays into a stacked defensive front that every single person in the stadium knows are coming because you think the pass count’s gotten out of whack.