The spread spreads, a continuing saga.

The spread offense – it’s not just for passing anymore.

… The NCAA record book shows that FBS teams averaged 176 yards rushing per contest last season — the highest total since 1980. According to STATS, through the first full weekend this season, FBS teams averaged 194.5 yards rushing per game, up from 191.1 the first weekend last year. Regardless of the run or pass emphasis of today’s offensive systems, spreading the field has created running lanes that coaches are now more willing and prepared to exploit.

“The old thing was, you spread to throw,” Rodriguez said. “I think people are spreading to run just as much as anything else. You’re getting really talented guys with the ball in space, so numbers are up everywhere — passing yards, rushing yards.”

As recently as 2006, teams rushed for just 140.1 yards a game, the lowest average since 1939, and teams ran just 35 times per contest, the lowest total since the NCAA began keeping track.

You can point to factors like the hurry up and the increasing numbers of running quarterbacks, but in the end, a lot of this gets down to what a spread offense dictates to a defense.

The fear of the spread passing game has opened up the run.

“You have to defend more guys on the perimeter,” Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson said. “The perimeter screen game is integrated in almost everybody’s offenses. You’ve got to cover everybody now, you can’t just load up the box, so the run looks are better.”

… Offensive coaches have found that spreading the field makes it difficult for defenses to disguise their plans. Adding up-tempo and no-huddle elements to the spread makes it difficult for defensive players to get into proper position. That helps the run game as much as the passing game.

“When you run a lot of plays at different speeds, it’s tough on defenses to make a lot of adjustments,” Oregon State offensive coordinator Mike Baldwin said. “They get into certain calls and they get stuck in those calls. We put the defenses at a disadvantage because they don’t have the multiple adjustments they can do when you’re in a huddle.”

It’s a nightmare, I tells ‘ya!

It’s also one of the things I love so much about the college game, the variety of ways we see offensive coaches skin the cat.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

11 responses to “The spread spreads, a continuing saga.

  1. This makes guys like Leonard Floyd so important now. They can play in the box against the run and move from sideline to sideline against the screen game. That wide receiver screen is nothing more than today’s toss sweep.


  2. The only thing that can stop the spread is overly ambitious assistant coaches. The Gators got what they deserved when they hired Weis.
    When I see how rangy and thin our outside linebackers are I wonder if what is designed to stop the spread will actually be able to stop an offense like Bama.


    • Jenkins and Carter look rangy and thin to you?


      • sorry for slow reply, but yes Carter isn’t even 240. Hell I weigh that much. Stunningly good athlete but some of Bama’s pulling guards have 100 lbs on him. I know he’ll defeat the block early but when tired mass will prevail. I don’t believe teams will get the edge on us but some massive lines might wear us down. 6’6″ 237 is a great power forward or tight end but can get shoved around at LB.


    • Macallanlover

      I agree jd, the stress on recruiting different body types and teaching different techniques and keys have really made the job of DC more of a headache. Currently, the offense is winning significantly and I wish some rule changes would restore balance.

      The number of points and yards allowed are certainly impacted by the number of plays run and the bias in rules, but it is also driven by the type of mismatches that caused Alabama to be embarrassed on defense by Georgia Southern, Auburn, TAMU, etc. If you play in the PAC12 or Big 12, you definitely have to go with more mobile defenders because of the preponderance of spread offenses that attack the whole field, in the Big??, it is more rare to find the new style offenses in league play. We are in a bind in the SEC, where the split is more pronounced.


  3. Austin

    Just an observation, but with the spread of the spread, I have noticed more tweener players especially at DE. When we played ULM last week, I noticed on several plays Carter was lined up at DE and seemed to be a bit over matched on the zone read plays. I know the speed pays off, but on a true power run game, I really hope we can plug those holes made by a 310 tackle blowing off a 245 linebacker. Don’t get me wrong, Carter is and will be a great player, but it keeps me up at night more than it should.


  4. Buz

    I’m one of those guys that thinks that more important than the spread is the tempo. You run on average 4 more plays of offense you should have about 12 more yards of offense – especially if you can get the defense in a position where they can’t sub out of an inferior position.


  5. Sides

    I know not many people were impressed by SC vs NC but SC is the model for how you have to beat the spread. It is impossible to stop these teams from putting up yards and moving the ball. SC’s defense gave up plenty of big plays and were gashed at times, but always between the 20’s. Once the D was settled in the red zone NC scored 1 touchdown (tipped pass), 2 FG, 2 Interceptions. A lot was made about how far the DB’s were playing off the receivers but the secondary kept everything in front of them, and the D-line had some sacks that resulted in punts and another INT.

    On offense, control the ball and the clock. SC actually put up almost as many yards as NC and held the ball for 10 minutes longer. It was not as flashy but if SC were more efficient on offense the game would not have been close. Those 3 turnovers resulted in 0 points and there was another drive that was stalled in the red zone.


    • As we all know here, it also helps when your playcaller has a brain fart in the red zone. 😉


      • Sides

        It does help but a lot of good coaches seem to have that problem. I think of Pete Carroll in the Super Bowl. Sometimes it is not so easy to run it in when the D expects it. Everyone remembers Gurley running all over the D but they forget he gets stopped for a loss/no gain too.