In the land of defending the spread option, the I-formation is king.

This is a recurring theme at GTP, but Baylor coach and spread guru Art Briles makes an observation about college football offensive schemes that’s worth noting, Georgia fans:

The spread really took off in the college game early in the 2000s. Offenses enjoyed a lot of success for several seasons, but last year, it seemed like defenses found a way to at least slow down the spread. Do you think the spread is here to stay in college football, or will it be like the wishbone or West Coast offenses that were en vogue for a while before fading away?

I definitely think it will continue to change, but I also think it’s here to stay. I think the game has become a lot faster from the standpoint of putting people in space and letting them make plays. I don’t think that we’ll consistently see people lining up with a full house backfield, handing the ball to a guy who’s running downfield. I think that part of the game is definitely valuable. You can have some advantages doing that today, because people don’t recruit defensively to stop teams that pound the ball at you. [Emphasis added.] But I don’t think the spread offenses are going anywhere for a while.

I’m looking forward to seeing what a healthy offensive line along with a deep backfield can do with some of the smaller/lighter defensive fronts the Dawgs will see this season.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

11 responses to “In the land of defending the spread option, the I-formation is king.

  1. I’ve definitely noticed a slight shift back toward power, at least with Missouri (whom I obviously follow a little closer than everybody else). They’ve been going after a lot more 6’1/230 RBs instead of 5’8/180 (though they still signed a couple of smaller ones in the last class too), plus they just signed an honest-to-god H-Back. Not a fullback, but … not Chase Coffman either. I do think the coaching staffs who are paying attention are noticing that defenses are getting lighter and faster in attempt to counter the spread, so it would make sense that if you’re no longer faster than the defense, you need to be bigger/stronger.


  2. Reggie

    Don’t we just recruit sick athletes and try to coach them up? 10 pounds here or there on a nose tackle? Let’s get back to Grantham putting the 11 best on the field. I think GA’s 11 best, regardless of scheme put it on any team we play.


  3. JasonC

    I’m no Chris Brown, but it’s not like the West Coast Offense is extinct and even a couple of teams still run the wishbone. The spread won’t disappear completely. There will be a few teams that still use it, but many teams will use elements of it.

    However, I do agree that as defense over(?) adapt to the spread, teams that can line up with a strong line, a TE, a bruising fullback and a strong RB will be able to gash the lighter defenses.


  4. Mike

    In addition to the smaller, fast D-linemen many SEC teams are recruiting, defensively the 3-4 is designed to stop the spread. It is vulnerable to a powerful running attack. As a result, there are several teams that are re-emphasizing I-formation type offensive sets.

    Back to the future


  5. The Realist

    That was always the gameplan versus early 2000’s Miami. Their defense was faster than your offense, but they didn’t take a punch in the mouth all that well. That’s how a team like 2002 Ohio State was able to compete against the superior athletes of Miami long enough to get a call and win the game.

    You negate a speedy defense by running over them.


  6. ConnGator

    Just curious, what would you say is “smaller” when it comes to linemen? Here are the stats on Florida’s d-line:

    Kedric Johnson DE 6-4 230
    Samuel Johnson DE 6-1 266
    William Green DE 6-3 250
    Duke Lemmens DE 6-3 253
    Earl Okine DE 6-6 280
    Justin Trattou DE 6-3 252
    Lerentee McCray DE 6-2 240
    Gary Beemer DL 5-11 265
    Brandon Antwine DT 6-0 297
    Leon Orr DT 6-4 324
    Omar Hunter DT 6-0 307
    Jaye Howard DT 6-3 295
    Terron Sanders DT 6-1 312

    The lighter ones are probably not going to play much, but this does not look a bunch of pushovers to me.


    • Zdawg

      Seems we had some luck a few years ago pushing the line around with Moreno…but point well taken. That D ain’t feather like….


      • Mike

        Yep, that was the year Florida lost 9-111 starters on defense from the previous year. UGA just manhandled the Florida defense, particularly along the line.

        Interestingly, the next year, Florida returned most of the same players on that UF defense. UGA also returned to the WLOCP with the same players on offense.

        Anyone remember the score of that game? The score is a bit murky, but I do remember something about time-outs at the end of the game.


    • HamDawg11

      Looks like a few LB’s in there according to size…


    • JC in Powder Springs

      I’m not making a judgement of talent, just size. But just about any college team’s O-line would dwarf florida’s D-line, with the possible exception of Orr.

      If size is what matters, the Dawg’s Geathers and Anderson would be all-SEC.


  7. JC in Powder Springs

    Well, who’s the champ? Bama isn’t using the spread and they were pretty successful with the 3-4 D. Same can be said for the pros with teams like NE & Pit winning plenty of recent super bowls with the same approach as bama.

    Variations of the spread have allowed teams to maximize specialized talent – i.e. small fast players like demps or rainey, or QB’s who would have substantial problems in an I-formation like tebow or Pat White.

    But it seems to me the I-formation & 3-4 is the most successful combination you’ll find in NCAA & NFL championship football in recent years.