A couple of spread thoughts

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

13 responses to “A couple of spread thoughts

  1. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    This article kind of makes me think point guards in basketball. Some can shoot, but they’re weak in passing. Others can pass, but aren’t effective shooters.

    In Tebow’s case, he was a power foward running the point.


    • 81Dog

      so in other words, Tebow was Florida’s Magic Johnson.

      How well did the Lakers adapt to Magic’s retirement? It only took them about 15 years to win another title. Replacing a “unique talent” isn’t as easy as just plugging another guy in and running the same plays. If Tebow was anywhere near as good as they all claim (and there’s no doubt he was very, very good), I can’t see how they just snap a new part in there without missing a beat.


  2. Derek

    This is why coaching in the SEC is tougher than the NFL. In the “league” you are going to see the same basic offensive concepts every week. Some may execute better than others, but its basically the same thing every week. In SEC you’ve got to play spread teams and pro style teams and variations on both and, if you’re UGA, you’ve got to play the triple-option too. This is very difficult to do with the same defensive alignments and strategies week in and week out. I think that the 3-4 will help us vs. UF, Auburn and USC, but I worry about it vs. Arky, Bama and Tech.

    While our ability to deal with speed and finesse will be improved, what happens when we play teams that can block our ILB’s and thus effectively run inside? What happens if the inside run is effective and that team also has a qb and wr’s that can beat man coverage? I think that power teams with good qb’s and wr’s are going to be a threat as we look forward.

    This is where your offense can be your best defense. In those games where the match ups aren’t as favorable we need to control the ball and put up lots of points and adjust the defense to slow down rather than shut down an opposing offense. I like the attacking language that we are hearing out there, but beating the hell out of Miss St. and then losing games to the UT’s and Bama’s of the world because we can’t post 30 isn’t necessarily an improvement.

    In the end if we are to be a team on the national stage we need to be a team that can score 30 on anybody and a team that nobody can post 20 on. How do you get there: talent, talent, talent and more talent. New schemes may bring new attitude, but ultimately its about Jimmies and Joes not X’s and O’s.


    • JC in Powder Springs

      Is it a given we are weak up the middle on D? Maybe Tyson isn’t a monster at nose, but I believe he’s a legit NFL DT prospect – he should be coming into his own after 2 years as a solid backup contributor. Geathers and Bean are unproven, but both are potentially huge space-eaters. Incoming Thornton (or Smith) is a possibility.

      I’d be the first to say our MLB’s have been a disappointment during the Jancek years. I won’t list the names again ’cause y’all likely know them, but the dawgs have plenty of bodies here – some with plenty of experience. All we need are a couple to step up. Belin’s tackling fundamentals will be badly needed at ILB.

      Lastly, I hope we’ll see a return to the hard-hitting Thomas Davis/Greg Blue safety play we’ve had in the past.

      Overall, things could be better up the middle, but it’s not a terrible situation by any means. Just need a few players to step up. The special teams should put us in good field position most of the time, and yes, those 10 returnees on O need to eat clock and score points.


      • Urban Meyer has herpes (or so I heard)

        DeAngelo Tyson has the physical ability to handle the nose in a 1-gap 3-4. However, that is a B-R-U-T-A-L position to play for 1 game, much less week after week in the SEC. It takes a very strong work ethic and a whole lotta obstinance to be able to handle the physical (not to mention mental) rigors of constant double & triple teams. I recall during his recrutiment that there were concerns regarding his work ethic. Obviously, that’s high school where physical superiority goes a lot farther than in the SEC… I just hope he can get pissed off enough every week to keep fighting… tough, tough position.

        And NTs that don’t have good depth behind them have been known to get their knees/ankles rolled by guards in the 1st Half.

        But Kwame will be special over the next 2 years… Believe dat!


      • Urban Meyer has herpes (or so I heard)

        I LOVED watching Blue, Davis, and Jones lighting guys up from the safety spot.

        However, I HATED watching QBs going going over the top of those guys after a couple of big hits… We need a good enough front 7 to allow the safeties to play pass first… or else.


  3. Mayor of Dawgtown

    ” Ain’t never been an offense that was worth more than two really good halfbacks.” Frank Howard, 1968


  4. shane#1

    Urban Meyer said that all offensive schemes are designed to score points, if the proper personel are in place. All defenses are designed to stop the opponent IF the proper personel are in place, and they have been well taught and understand the DC’s scheme. Smart Football had an illustration of the cover 2 defense complete with video of the UF DB’s excecution of said defense. Willie was correct that the cover 2 was a good scheme but the Dawgs were not excecuting it properly. Watch the Gators on those videos and see how the FS flies to the ball. Then watch the Dawg DBs looking lost at sea!


  5. shane#1

    One more thing, I can’t wait to see the chess match between Grantham and CPJ! Johnson adjusts his offense on the fly, changing blocking assignments and setting up plays. Grantham looks for mis-matches and will make situational substitutions. It should be one hell of a Tech game.


    • 81Dog

      it’s hopeless, hopeless, I tell you. The Mini Skipper is an unmatched genius who scoffs at your puny adjustments. He’s seen it all. He’s beaten it all. Just ask him.

      Why, he’ll probably teach Coach Grantham the same lesson he taught UGA last year at the Joke By Coke. I don’t know about you, but I know I felt chastized after that unstoppable offensive juggernaut rolled all over our defense.

      PJ should spend a little less time crowing about his offense, and a little more time worrying about his sad sack defense that will be minus its two best players from last year.


  6. 69Dawg

    Just remember the 3-4 quickly becomes a 5-2 or 5-3. If you have the speed it will stop the power teams you just have to have players that are aware of the TE’s and backs out of the back field.


  7. Sep

    Any good d.c. can adapt. I think our ex-pro guy has experience enough to make adjustments as needed.

    If I remember correctly, BVG was hired for that reason by Coach Richt. Halftime adjustments. He felt BVG was great at it.

    We recruit athletic guys so I’m not concerned.


  8. Mike

    ” 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?”

    During spring, there were a lot of timing passes thrown. I am encouraged to think that is going to be a part of the offense this year.