The spread congeals?

Gary Danielson thinks so.

… Danielson, 57, also recently made a comment to a newspaper in his native city (Detroit) that should enrage Michigan followers and warm those in these parts who are reveling in the 2-4 start at the Big House by former WVU Coach Rich Rodriguez, who took his spread to Ann Arbor.

“What I said, and it was before the season, was that I think the spread has peaked, like the wishbone did in the mid-70s,” Danielson said by phone Tuesday. “I predict that Michigan will be the last of the top major programs running only the spread…”

To which MGoBlog’s Brian Cook tosses back a pretty good *Oh, Snap!* response.

The always-incorrect Gary Danielson:

“I said it before the season — and I was out there by myself — I think we’ve seen the spread has peaked, like the wishbone did in the mid-70s,” Danielson said Thursday.

The top ten teams in total offense so far, spread teams in bold:

  1. Tulsa
  2. Texas Tech
  3. Missouri
  4. Houston
  5. Louisiana Lafayette
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Nevada (pistol variety)
  8. Oklahoma State
  9. Penn State
  10. Illinois

Might want to cancel the funeral.

Semantics?  Maybe somewhat (the term “spread” is broadly used these days, no doubt), but it also sounds like Danielson backtracks a little bit on his statement when he says this:

“Instead of teams going more to it, I think you’ll see teams going to it as part of an offense. The top schools can get the best talent. For them, there’s no need to do it … I love it as a part of my package, not as the only package.”
There’s actually a decent point in there, in that almost every team out there incorporates some spread components into its offense these days.  I also think Danielson makes a good point about Rodriguez’ use of the spread at West Virginia.

“What has West Virginia gotten, maybe three of the top 150 players in the last five years?” Danielson figured. “When you’re in that situation, I can see it, because you need to keep people off balance, and the spread can do that…”

But I think he misses in comparing the situation at Auburn with that at Michigan.

Danielson said Auburn’s move to the spread “just didn’t fit the mindset there. To (Coach) Tommy Tuberville’s credit, he properly cut it out quickly.”

The mindset at Michigan is similar.

Danielson’s opinion is that Rodriguez’s introduction of the no-huddle spread at Michigan “was just too much of a culture shock. I’m not saying Rich won’t succeed there.

“What I’m saying is that he shouldn’t put all of his eggs in the spread basket. He doesn’t need that. Michigan can get the players so he doesn’t need to do that…”

The mindset at Auburn is that of the coaching staff and I think Danielson is correct in pointing out that Franklin was a bad fit from the start in that regard.  But whose “culture shock” at Michigan is he referring to?  Surely not that of the coaches there; Rodriguez believes in his system, obviously.  And he was brought in to install it.  Certainly both schools have suffered this season from not having the personnel to run the spread properly, but it seems to me that that’s as far as the similarities go.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Strategery And Mechanics, The Blogosphere

7 responses to “The spread congeals?

  1. Kit

    Good Senator,

    I agree with you in that the spread is more of a hodge-podge of various sets and formations and all of them have been lumped together to run what is now erroneously called a “Spread Offense.”

    True spreads like what Rich Rod and Urban Meyer run (and Malzhan…sp?…at Tulsa runs), are not incredibly commonplace in my mind throughout college football. I guess you could call a “Spread/Option/Motion Attack” type of offense a true spread IMO. Other schools just normally run 3-4 wide with the QB in the shotgun, which was the spread in the most basic form.

    To finish my randomly argued point, I guess I’d just say that just because you put a fullback in doesn’t mean you’re running a power formation. Therefore just because you have speed at the WR position and you run WRs across the formation doesn’t make it a “spread” either.

    Is the Spread Motion Offense dying? It might be because teams are defending it better more consistently. However, is the Wrinkle Offense growing in its place? I would say so right now.


  2. NM

    I’d like to see Brian analyze those spread teams’ defensive ranks — spread teams never seem to play good D. Anecdotally, only a couple of those teams on his list strike me as good on that side of the ball, and since we’re talking about winning…

    I think GD’s talent argument is right. Look at Brian’s list — other than OU and Penn St, I would guess all the other spread teams play most of their games (at least in conference) against more-talented teams. Once the spread starts being defended effectively on a regular basis, the Floridas and Michigans of the world will have to branch out or else… end up like Michigan this year…


  3. It might be news to the Bama teams of 77-80 that went 44-4 to know that the wishbone was passe by that point. Too bad they didn’t know they needed something else to meet GD’s approval.


  4. FDB


    In that era Bama played 3 complete OLs, 2 or 3 QBs, and 7 or 8 running backs, all in the FIRST HALF in most games, with no drop off in talent. They could have run any offense they so chose and still gone 44-4.

    It means a lot when you don’t have any scholly limitations and can have your pick of any player you want from Bama and surrounding states, and even cherry pick the rest of the nation. Impossible in today’s college game.


  5. Thomas Brown

    Let’s look at this from the BCS Rankings’ Perspective, since the BCS comes out tomorrow.

    Southern California plays Washington State who is 1 of the most God-Awful Football Teams of all-time along with the other 9 PAC-1 Teams.

    Florida is off today. Alabama plays Ole Miss, in the depleted SEC West.

    Watching the mid-week games this week prior to our game today, it has become clear that indeed there are 11 Conferences and the Independents and that all these teams deserve a shot at Being The Best.

    That’s going to take money away ? The teams who play (or do not play) the spread offense, will be the only ones who deserve a shot at Being The Best ?

    The Weenie Bowls, which already cost the football teams who go to them more than they make on the lousy bowls, are going to be hurt they say. I don’t buy that. Those games would have some meaning.

    It is no longer Notre Dame and then everyone else.

    It’s not just Michigan anymore.

    For the Alabama poster, when Alabama has the easiest schedule of any SEC team, it is no longer Alabama and then everyone else, either.

    As a matter of fact, it is not just the Big 10 and the PAC-10 and then everyone else any more.

    The hype about the Big XII is proven every single year at the end of the season as these bowl games are played, that the voters – both coaches and sportswriters – vote the Big XII as a block. It’s collusion, plain and simple and proven every single year. Not a one of those teams can play any defense. It doesn’t have anything to do with the spread. It has to do with where you are ranked in the BCS Rankings.

    The Top 6 in the BCS Poll released Sunday will most likely contain the Pick Two Mythical National Championship Game Contenders. There is an outside chance with Four (4) BCS Top 6 Teams today all being from the Big XII South, that some team not ranked in the Top 6 will compete for The Mythical Pick Two National Championship Game for the Football Bowl Subdivision made up of 11 Conferences and the Independents.

    Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State.

    Missouri is 13th, Kansas is 18th.

    Kansas has played 1 team who has a winning record. And, they lost to them.

    Missouri has played 1 team who has a winning record. And, they lost to them too.

    Oklahoma State beat Missouri who has beat no one, played 1 team, and lost. That’s their claim to fame ? Beating Missouri ? That makes them a BCS MNC Game Title Contender ? Get Real.

    Oklahoma has already Lost. And, they clearly have zero defense like every one other of these 6 Big XII Top Football Teams in the nation. Oklahoma has to play Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Texas Tech – NOT 1 OF WHOM HAS BEAT ANYONE – and if Oklahoma wins these 3 games, they deserve to be in the Mythical Pick 2 National Championship Bowl Game ? I hardly think that is fair.

    Texas hasn’t played any 1 with a winning record except for Oklahoma. Texas has games with Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas coming up NOT 1 OF WHOM HAS BEAT ANYONE – and if they win these 4 games, they deserve to be in the Mythical Pick 2 National Championship Bowl Game ? I hardly think that is fair either.

    Texas Tech is 1 of the BCS Top 6 Teams who has played not 1 football game all season long to prove its hyped fluffed up puffed up rankings. This will be proven out with them too over the course of the next 4 games after they play BCS Rankings Number 89 Texas A&M Aggies today who are 2-4 and a woeful football team along with the 6 bottom dwellers in the Big XII not a 1 of whom is ranked in the BCS Top 75 football teams in America today. Texas Tech’s next 4 games are Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State and then Oklahoma. In the name of God Above, what is Texas Tech doing being ranked Number 5 in the BCS Rankings today ?

    Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech all 4 in the BCS Top 6 teams today and all 4 in the Big XII South.

    These are the Best Football Teams in America ? Or, instead, is it the list provided on this blog this morning discussing the top offenses and almost every one of them running the spread ?


    The Best Football Teams in America are spread out across this great nation and include teams from all 11 Conferences and the Independents – and every single 1 of these teams deserves to have a fair shot at Being The Best.

    The Best cannot be determined when there is bias and collusion among all Big XII sportswriters’ votes and all Big XII coaches voting their teams up there, not a single 1 of which plays any defense whatsoever.

    But, there is 1 certain fact, and that is that a team must have both an offense and a defense along with special teams and a soft schedule to be the BCS National Champion.


  6. Thomas, one thing you’re right about – Southern Cal is about to take a couple of awful hits to its SOS with games against Washington State and Washington. I’m not sure any other BCS title game contender has that bad a pair left on its schedule.


  7. I’m going to try to tackle the spread defense thing in the offseason, adjusting for number of opportunities and field position. I don’t expect to see any negative correlation, FWIW.