Maybe we’ve already arrived in a post-spread era. What I mean by that is that the freshness has worn off. Defenses are beginning to adapt; conservative coaches like Tuberville have embraced what is clearly becoming a mature strategy.
So I get what Gary Danielson is trying to say here.
“I know that the (Tim) Tebow spread works,” Danielson said. “I’m still not sure any other spread will work in this conference. They cannot have John Brantley getting hit 12 15 times per game. He’s too valuable. It will be a different spread. We will see how it unfolds.”
“It was tough for (Tebow) to take the punishment of this conference,” Danielson said. “This conference is more and more simulating the NFL, with sophistiated (sic) defenses to put hits on people.”
That echoes something said by a guy who makes a career out of film study for NFL Films, talking about evolving offensive strategies in the NFL:
What major schematic trend do you see teams doing offensively?
“The game has evolved into a chess match between spread concepts on offense and pressure concepts on defense, which is why it is so important to come up with pressure concepts that rely on fewer defenders rushing, not more defenders rushing. The poster-child for that is Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. The whole idea is to rush as few as possible while still getting someone free to the quarterback.
“I think because of the emphasis on pressure with fewer people and a lot of times smaller people, the trend will be on lighter and quicker offensive linemen who can adjust to the movement.”
What do I take from this? Two things:
- Defenses are beginning to see that there are two sides to the spread philosophy of opening up the field to get isolation for playmakers; there are playmakers in the defensive front seven, too. With enough speed, getting those guys open can be deadly to an offense.
- I can see why someone running a spread offense would counter this trend with greater mobility on the offensive line, but I also think that going small on defense to counter spread attacks plays into the hands of teams that run traditional (if it’s still worth using that word in this context) power offensive schemes, like Georgia.
As an intriguing aside, read this about Tebow from the Danielson piece…
Florida will likely tweak the spread to incorporate two quarterbacks, perhaps a mirror of the 2006 national title season with Chris Leak and Tebow. But there’s no guarantee Florida can command the same power running game it had with Tebow’s bruising style…
and this about Tebow from the film guru:
… in college he did not throw with timing or anticipation because the offense that he was in did not require it. In the NFL, there are certain throws in certain situations that necessitate that the ball is delivered before his receiver makes his break. He wasn’t asked to do that at Florida. Thirdly, pocket movement in the NFL is far more important than running. Pocket movement is the ability to move within the confines of an area about the size of a boxing ring while at the same time maintaining your downfield focus so you can deliver the football. Tebow did not exhibit that trait in college, probably because he was a runner…
Tebow’s great value was in giving Meyer a power runner and a passer in his offensive scheme in one package. So with people acknowledging that’s no longer the case, it’s worth asking how much are they going to have to change the Florida offense this season?