“I think football (philosophies) for the first time are going up instead of coming down (from the NFL)…”

Interesting story here about how Charlie Strong has had to ditch his preferred offensive philosophy and embrace a spread attack because that’s about all that coming out of the state’s high school systems.

But as Strong heads into Year 2 off a 6-7 debut, he has already conceded that his initial plan won’t work. When Texas debuts at Notre Dame on Sept. 5, the Longhorns will be another convert to the speed-and-spread style of football that has become rather homogenous in the Big 12. He’s not trying to re-create Louisville on a bigger stage; the Texas of 2015 is trying to emulate Auburn. Texas is no longer setting the agenda for football in the state; the Longhorns are adjusting on the fly just to keep up.

“It was just so hard; the scores were coming so quickly and it’s hard to match,” Strong told USA TODAY Sports. “I’d say probably 95% of the high schools in this state are all from the spread. A young man coming in here has been accustomed to the spread, so let’s not bring him in and all the sudden change it when he’s grown up with that the whole time. In the recruiting process, kids want to see that. They want to see you’re going up-tempo, so it’s almost like for recruiting alone, you had to go in that direction.”

That’s a heck of an admission from a Texas coach, but it’s also reality.

That’s also a little strange.  If Strong were that wedded to his offensive scheme, why not look outside the state of Texas for a quarterback who fits it better?  Maybe I’m a bit jaded from watching where Richt has plucked his starting quarterbacks over the years, but it’s not as if Strong wasn’t able to do that very thing with Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville.  Is it that unthinkable for the Longhorns to have a non-Texan starting quarterback?


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

8 responses to ““I think football (philosophies) for the first time are going up instead of coming down (from the NFL)…”

  1. Honestly I love seeing this for UGA. The more college teams that go to this the harder it will be for defenses geared to stop the spread to stop UGA as we are actually the team with the more unique offense now.


  2. Chadwick

    To me he’s waving the white flag and marrying his defensive philosophy to an offensive it doesn’t fit. Man, UT isn’t the job it once was.


  3. reipar

    Wow. If this is true sounds like he will not be around at UT long. I thought he was a great hire at the time, but now having second thoughts.


    • Cousin Eddie

      Was thinking this all along. Some very good coaches have went down that road for the wrong reason and failed, Tubbs (trying the spread on plains), Muschamp (he is a good DC, head coach maybe not but he lost an identity on O and that cost him his job)


  4. Bulldog Joe

    The spread has been a huge equalizer for Texas Tech, and now TCU and Baylor in the Big 12. Years ago, they were doormats.

    Charlie is a defensive coach and recognizes the need for his team to get more reps against the spread in practice. It’s the reality of his league.

    The biggest problem is he doesn’t have a Vince Young on his roster right now.


  5. Addr

    It goes far beyond the quarterback. At least for the past few years, it has been obvious that even the best defensive minds haven’t come up with a winning strategy to stop the spread. The best they can muster is the bend-don’t-break mentality, which means that the defense is no longer an equitable component of a winning strategy.

    Nowhere has this been more obvious than at Alabama. Their identity under Saban had always been a dominant defense, with a punishing offense that wears you down until you break. Only now, this doesn’t work. Alabama can’t rely on its defensive dominance against the spread, which means the offense has to become more effective at putting points on the board to win the game. And while the spread isn’t necessary for a high scoring offense (Bobo certainly showed us that), in today’s game it is certainly easier and faster to build a spread offense.

    I think this is Strong admitting the same thing. He needs to adapt quickly if he wants to keep his job, and moving to the spread is really the only viable strategy. Anything else is an uphill battle that would take more time than he has.


  6. Michael

    It’s not just quarterbacks. If most Texas HS programs are running some variant of the spread and they are doing it very well because of the advent of seven-on-seven, then Texas HS players at every position will be most comfortable with that system. Texas Tech, A&M, Baylor, and TCU have all had great success running variants of the Air Raid or whatever we would use to categorize Art Briles’ offense. Texas was the last holdout and even then, was only a recent convert to the pro-style because Mack had his biggest success using the run-based spread with Vince Young and then the pass-based spread with Colt McCoy (until Agent Muschamp convinced him to move in a different direction). Texas has roots in running spread-y offenses and their recruiting base practically demands that offense. If Texas were to go pro-style and thereby had to look outside the state for most of their offensive players, then they would be essentially sacrificing their biggest advantage, which is one of the top recruiting bases in the country.

    I have a piece in the hopper at SBN about the Texas and Florida offenses. They are, by far, the most underperforming units – offense or defense – in the past five years. It makes perfect sense that Texas would transition away from what has been an unmitigated disaster, one that has been amplified by the success of smaller Texas programs. Additionally, they have a pair of spread-y quarterbacks on the roster, so it isn’t that hard for them to make the transition. If you read Bill C’s preview of Texas, he is a little mystified that Texas called so many passing plays with Tyrone Swoopes last year. The offensive transition this year accounts for both existing talent and HS talent in the pipeline.

    And selfishly, I’m happy because the transition caused Zach Gentry – Michigan’s likely QB starter in the future – to switch from Strong to Harbaugh.


  7. Macallanlover

    This pretty much leaves Big Game Bob as the only option for traditional QBs in that league but wait, he just brought in the coach from ECU. If the whole league goes pedal-to-the-metal, wide open spread, how will that impact their defenses should one of their teams ever get into the playoff and face a pro-style offense? The West Coast has already changed to the basketball on turf concept, with the exception of USC and Stanford. Other leagues are still mixed, but the trend is definitely on a sharp incline.