It’s always great when Chris Brown gets in the swing of things at Smart Football, and this post about packaging different passing concepts in the same play is no exception. You should read the whole piece, but there’s a part at the beginning that I really liked.
… The goal is to try to tilt the advantage back to offenses. There are essentially three strategies:
- Line up in a formation and let a coach or a quarterback change the play. You see this whenever Peyton Manning or some other NFL guy audibles at the line (though his options have usually been narrowed to two or three before the snap), or when a no-huddle team lines up and looks to the sideline for guidance. The idea is that, while it is still pre-snap and the defense can still move, it has given away certian clues, including personnel and general structure.
- Use multiple formations and motions to confuse the defense or gain an advantage in numbers or leverage. This approach tries to turn the defense against itself by never giving the defense a chance to get settled or to identify what the offense may do. Moreover, sometimes the defense simply fails to adjust, and the offense gains some new advantage. The downside of this approach is it leaves little time and fewer clues for the offense to make adjustments, but the idea is that “motion causes emotion” (to use the old adage) and the offense has an advantage in that it knows where it is going. This is the method employed by Boise State.
- Gives your players options on their assignments for after the snap. Just as it sounds, this is the principal governing all “option”-esque attacks. The macro idea here, pioneered by Tiger Ellison, is that backyard football is not played in a static, overly orchestrated way, and instead the natural inclination of kids to run around and make decisions on the fly — and so should it be in real football. This can manifest itself in different ways, from the triple option to the spread option to the passing game. Each play provides a superstructure but freedom within it. The idea is you don’t need much else, except for the players to begin adapting and making the rights reads. As said in Remember the Titans, “I run six plays. Split veer. It’s like Novocain. Give it time. It always works.”
Georgia’s offensive approach under Bobo started out in the second of the categories Chris lists, but mixed in some aspects of the first as the season progressed and the coaches’ comfort level with Murray’s command of the playbook grew. Clearly, Georgia’s passing game benefits from that; Murray’s passer rating, yards per attempt and completion percentage improved from month to month over the course of the season. (Although there may very well be some chicken-or-the-egg aspect to that, as not even Matt Stafford, who had broad authority to check off at the line in his breakout 2008 season, managed that particular hat trick that year.)
Offensively, the big question for 2011 may turn out to be how much Murray’s continued growth offsets the loss of A.J. If Yogi Berra’s right, we may wind up being pretty pleased with the answer.
UPDATE: Chris Low is sold.