Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.

Honestly, I’m not trying to obsess over HP’s comments in defense of his now infamous “10 Worst” head coaches list, but little things keep popping up which serve to make me want to rebut his arguments.  For instance, here’s what he had to say in response to my point that Florida’s change to a pro-style offense might prove beneficial as a contrarian move in a conference where more and more defenses are gearing up to stop spread attacks:

… As to the point I had made earlier, I definitely saw that as a possibility in the trend line. But it hasn’t happened yet. Teams are not rushing to go to the pro style offense. It could turn out well for UGA, but why wait to find out? No one really knows. As for Alabama’s offense, it really isn’t a true pro style offense. It is a simple, one-read, grind-it-out offense that utilized spread elements at times. Its beauty is that it does a few things and does them VERY well. This is not a characteristic of pro style offenses, that rely on multiple reads, blocking assignments, audibles, and complex nomenclature and large playbooks.

Now I know what you’re thinking:  isn’t he criticising Florida for the very thing he says teams aren’t doing?  But that’s not where I’m going here.  Rather, it’s his observation that ‘Bama doesn’t run a pro-style offense.  You’ll understand why that clicked in my brain when you read this quote from Julio Jones about the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive scheme:

… The Falcons’ offensive attack is not foreign to Jones.

“I recognize everything,” Jones said.  “It’s the same pro-set that we ran at Alabama. Matt and all of the other guys, the other receivers, are helping me out as well.”

Um… one of those characterizations is not like the other.

My point here isn’t to play gotcha so much as it is to wonder about how we see these things.  I look at Alabama and see a pro-style offense being run with a few wrinkles tossed in.  HP’s description, as you can read, is quite different.  Is that merely a matter of emphasis, or is it more profound than that?  Is the vocabulary for what we’re discussing inadequate?  You tell me.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

20 responses to “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.

  1. Biggus Rickus

    He has a preconceived narrative and fits what he needs to into that narrative. His point about the spread is not terrible, but it’s overstated. And he refuses to accept any information that runs counter to it.


    • Doug

      Pretty much. When HP came up with the “Gang of Six” back in 2004-05 or so, he was a mild Pac-10 partisan (USC specifically) who took great pleasure in stereotyping the SEC as a conference full of troglodytes because they refused to roll with the new and embrace the all-important spread. Six years later, USC is on its way to also-ran status while the SEC has won the last five national titles and clearly established itself as the nation’s dominant league. So HP has to retroactively conjure up all these ways in which the SEC succeeded not in spite of, but because of, all the mumbo-jumbo he was spouting in ’05. Even if that means making the ludicrous characterization of Alabama as a spread offense, which is sort of like branding Bill Clinton a right-winger because he signed welfare reform.

      It’s historical revisionism, pure and simple. The spread has had an effect on the SEC, to be sure, but to claim that it’s responsible for the five straight national titles (and two Heismans, as if anyone really cares) is the action of a pundit who’s just desperate to be right about something for a change.


      • “He has a preconceived narrative and fits what he needs to into that narrative.”

        Honestly, he’s no different than the average message-board wonk. And his arguments are just as poor.


  2. Spike

    Let’s move on to something else.


  3. Irishdawg

    How is what Alabama runs that much different than Georgia? UGA spreads their offense out at times, with the QB in the shotgun and making zone reads. How is Bama’s O that much more progressive?


    • CityDawg

      “Because they won a national championship in the last 5 years. Therefore, they run a spread offense. You can’t succeed in college football unless you’re running a spread offense. QED.” – HP


  4. vincent

    Seriously? you run too intelligent and informed a blog to respond to this guy and the outlet for his incoherent ramblings. There’s no use arguing with idiots.


    • Macallanlover

      Sometimes you have no choice. Gotta argue with someone during the off-season. Thankfully, only 9 more weeks to go!


  5. James Stephenson

    Of course, Alabama runs a pro style offense. It’s Nick Saban, he’s a pro guy who happens to coach college. And to be honest, if you want in the pros, you need to coach pro-style offenses.

    That guy was an idiot.


  6. DawgPhan

    He just seems to think that everyone is running some form of spread. Though the idea of spreading the field and making the defense cover from sideline to sideline is about as “pro” as you can get. All those “pro” throws that the spread QBs can’t make are there to spread the field out.


  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    HP takes himself, and his superior intellect, very seriously. I wonder what his qualifications are for being able to judge the base of a college offense.


  8. Stoopnagle

    Just, you know, watch this and tell me what you sorta kinda see:


    • James Stephenson

      I see one spread team throwing the ball to the wrong team. Another spread team throwing lasers to their own guys. And probably the 3rd and 4th year of AM’s tenure at UGA.


  9. HK

    Just because a pro style offense is dumbed down so its easier for college kids to run doesn’t make it a spread offense. It simply shows a coach isn’t foolish enough to presume his college kids have the same football IQ as pro players. A true pro offense is over the heads of most college kids, particularly since they’ll only be in your system for a few years.


    • 69Dawg

      +1 Added to that the coach only has 20 hours per week during the season to try and teach the O and a college coach (Richt) that does it is just not going to be consistently successful at it. The spread has worked because it is so easy to teach. Mike Leach is the best KISS coach in college football.

      Monty Kiffin humiliated us in 09 because he knew the pro-style 100 times better than UGA did. He could have called that D from home that day. He gave UA all they could stand for the same reason. Monty was lost against the spread because his D was a pro-style D.

      I think Nick has simplified the O and I also think that Nick has placed more emphasis on the running game than we have. It doesn’t take a genius to run smash mouth football, just a well coached O line.


  10. watcher16

    You say tomato, I saw tomahto


  11. Dog in Fla

    Slowly, it dawns on HP that his last remaining defense is the spread variation of