Needs more power.

Count Matt Hayes in the group that thinks those powerhouse Big 12 offenses are destined to flop in the SEC.

The SEC is all about controlling tempo on both sides of the ball.

On offense, that means a power run game. This, of course, is foreign to both Missouri (four and five-wide, no fullback) and Sumlin’s pass-happy teams at Houston (and now at Texas A&M).

Both Sumlin and Pinkel said in June that playing in the SEC won’t change their style of play. That’s what Urban Meyer said, too. Then he lost three games in his first season at Florida because he couldn’t get tough yards by spreading the defense and finding seams.

A year later, his spread offense suddenly became an option-heavy, power run game with a 245-pound quarterback bulldozing opponents and setting up quick, change of pace tailbacks.

You’re not surviving in the SEC without a lead blocking fullback and/or a tight end. And neither Missouri nor Texas A&M has a true lead-blocking fullback on the roster.

Ummm… maybe.  His Florida example is a bit strained – Tebow played in 2006, when the Gators won a national title, but didn’t become the starter until the following year.  It wasn’t so much that Florida’s offense was remade into a power attack as that Tebow’s attributes uniquely fitted the scheme (and even then, note what happened to the offense after Harvin and Mullen left).  But as far as survival goes, Florida never had a lead blocking fullback or tight end who played a significant role in Meyer’s offense.

That all being said, it’s clear that the current trend in the conference is towards the power running schemes Hayes tips his cap to.  Florida and Auburn have gone that way.  Spurrier has remade his offense in that direction.

But I can’t help keep hearing that Mumme siren song.  The Air Raid has worked before in the SEC.  Have things changed that much in fifteen years?  We’ll see what TAMU, Missouri and Ole Miss have to say about operating a pass-oriented spread attack.  All I can say is it’ll be a shame if Hayes is completely right about this, because it’ll make for a more boring conference.

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23 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

23 responses to “Needs more power.

  1. Go Dawgs!

    “But as far as survival goes, Florida never had a lead blocking fullback or tight end who played a significant role in Meyer’s offense.”

    Uh, sure they did. You just said in the previous sentences that they had Tim Tebow.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Also, you’re absolutely right about the Air Raid working in the past in the SEC. If Kentucky had anything resembling a functional defense in the Hal Mumme years, they would have been a very scary team. Scoring quickly puts a lot of strain on a defense, but if you put Alabama’s defense out there with Hal Mumme’s Kentucky offenses, you might have had something really special. They certainly would have won a few more of those shootouts, and maybe even challenged for an SEC title.

      • James Stephenson

        Defense is about staying off the field and in an Air-Raid situation, staying off the field and rested is the problem. 2 or 3 3 and outs and ints, and you might have Smart punching Mumme in the mouth, ala Buddy Ryan.

        • adam

          Grantham hasn’t tried to punch Bobo for that yet, has he?

          • James Stephenson

            Haha, if anything he might punch him for not throwing enough passes up late. But you can not tell me UGA is pass happy with a lead? If you do, I would like to know what you have been drinking.

            • adam

              UGA is definitely not pass-happy with a lead. I was just referencing the 2 or 3 3-and-outs in a row and dumb interceptions thing.

              No matter where you place the blame, our offense has had the tendency to occasionally go 3-and-out repeatedly until the defense is exhausted. Then we lose the game because of a “defensive meltdown”. No team can win if the offense keeps doing that.

    • JN

      They had Tebow, but just as SB alludes, that offense was only above average without Harvin. Tebow still got all of the press in 09 even to the point of being invited to the Heisman Ceremony, but he was just an above average qb that year (only accounted for 21 td’s compared to 30 & 23 in 07 & 08. I absolutely believe he deserved the Heisman in 07 so I’m not trying to only find details to support my opinion). Simply put, Tebow did provide the tough inside yards but it took Tim Tebow for that offense to work in the SEC and often do those guys come around?. Harvin was the straw that stirred that drink.

  2. eagledawg

    I would say Aaron Hernandez played a significant role in that offense.

  3. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Air Raid et al rely on finding an athletic hole or two in the defense and pushing those buttons all game long. Oklahoma’s 2008 offense was in my opinion the best version of that genre the college game has ever seen – and it never developed a rhythm against Florida because the mismatches that offense depends on weren’t there.

    At some point, an SEC offense has to just line up and push the other guy out of the way if it wants to be an elite SEC team.

    But that’s where I think Hayes misses the point. If TAMU or Missouri want to be annual contenders for conference titles, then their scheme probably gets in the way of that. But that’s not their goal right now. I think both programs will end the season with winning records in conference this season.

    • Dawg in Beaumont

      Perhaps Missouri will, but I’d be pretty surprised if A&M finished this year at 5-3 or better in the SEC.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        New QB, new conference, new coach – yeah, it’s definitely a stretch. But I would consider them favorites against Ole Miss, Miss St and Auburn, and I think they could take 2 out of 3 against Florida, Missouri and Arkansas. They could also lose all 3.

        I think Arkansas runs off the rails early this season and completely falls apart before finding a way to upset LSU.

  4. charlottedawg

    I’d argue Meyer’s offense never worked without a qb who was a threat to run between the tackles a la Tebow or Cam. Even in 06 I remember the offense being pretty pedestrian they just had a dominating defense.

  5. Krautdawg

    What I think Hayes is saying is that UNLESS you have Tebow or Cam reincarnated, you’ll need a fullback/tight end/H-back to run the ball. And unless you can run the ball, the other team will control the game’s tempo.

    I have no problem with sentence one. But sentence 2 seems incomplete. There will be times where the other team is too good against the run — for example, not even Bama could run for much vs. LSU in either game. In those situations, if you stick blindly to the run, you’re handing control over tempo to the other team.

  6. The other Doug

    I don’t think you need the blocker as much as a threat to go up the middle in the tough short yardage situations. Once Tebow left there was nothing to keep the defenders inside. Remember Brantley running the option? Good stuff. That Urban Meyer is an offensive genius!

  7. scrambledawg

    Urban Meyer figured out the need for a FB one week before GA/FL when he put Latsko in there, who remained a feature in the offense (blocking) until he graduated. Hayes embellishes the point a bit too much, but he’s largely right.

    • Junkyard Dawg '00

      yep. that was the dreaded off week for FLA before the WLOCP. Its a little vague because I’ve tried to kill all those particular memory cells with alcohol but didn’t they add double TE’s as well?

  8. Jrod1229

    My major concern with Mizzou is gonna come out and spread us out and find seams in the same manner than Boise did last year. It wasn’t the long ball it was the 4 WR sets and the run underneath that doomed us that game. We have a very different defense now, I get it (of the players that will be there).. but still a concern.

    • mp

      Definitely a risk, but while James Franklin is likely to improve in his junior year, no one is going to confuse him for Kellen Moore. Moore was a 4 year starter and one of the most accurate passers in the history of the NCAA over his career. Moore was 74% completion and 43 TD/9 INT last year. Franklin was 63% 21 TD/11 INT.

      The worry about Franklin that you didn’t have with Moore would be him taking off if no one is open and the pocket breaks down. Plus the run out of the spread set is still a worry.

      • Jrod1229

        I’m not as worried about him running.. that is an issue if they plan to feature the deep ball, and my guess is his shoulder strength/accuracy from not having thrown in so long will negate that (not to mention our All SEC safeties if available).

        Gonna be harder to run when they are only running underneath routes.

        I just want to see Jarvis Jones eat.. my guess is they avoid his side completely when they do run. Easier that way.

  9. Good lord, Matt Hayes is an idiot. Meyer’s offense worked when he had a quarterback who could run the ball. (Note what happened when he had TEs and FBs, but also the immobile John Brantley at QB.) Malzahn’s offense worked when he had a quarterback who could run the ball. (Auburn didn’t have a FB during the national title season. They used Lutzenkirchen as an H-back to cover both the TE and FB roles, right?) Mullen’s offense has worked reasonably well at Mississippi State, at least by that program’s standards. TE and FB has nothing to do with it.

    Let’s reverse Hayes’ construction: which offenses like Missouri’s and A&M’s have not worked in the SEC?

    Last point: Missouri uses the tight end all the time. Perhaps Hayes has heard of Chase Coffman? Or maybe Michael Egnew, who caught 140 balls over the past two seasons?

    Idiot.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Good points. Coffman and Egnew are both gone. Waters is untested at TE with two catches last year. I think Georgia’s LB’s will be able to cover him.
      just sayin’