If you’re posing the question which team is most likely to follow in LSU’s footsteps in the coming season by making a leap due to a change in offensive philosophy, it’s not hard to think of Georgia. But that means you have to think about Kirby Smart.
“Nick Saban basically admitted this on the broadcast…Talking about the RPO and spread and how it’s really kind of just changed the game. He’s basically said that if you aren’t hip with the times that you just aren’t going to be able to have the explosive play rate of these other offenses. I think that if you’re a team that can recruit elite players, you almost have to run this. Because think about it — if you’re running a ton of plays — it increases the sample size. If you have better players, the more plays you are going to run. There’s better chance the talent is going to run to the top instead of shrinking in the game and kind of putting it in the chance whether you get turnovers or you’re worried about field position.”
If you’re recruiting at a better clip than almost every team on your schedule (remember, Alabama’s on the program this season), what’s the best way to use that to your advantage? Manball says, play like an anaconda, slowly squeezing the life out of the other team by subjecting them to a physical pounding on both sides of the ball and play slowly to limit the number of opportunities each offense has, thus putting more pressure on the opponent to play each series efficiently.
Saban says college football is now in an era where explosive plays have a greater impact, making manball a less effective approach. Is he right? Well, neither he nor Kirby made an appearance in this year’s playoffs, but the four teams that did certainly had more explosive offenses than did Georgia.
I don’t presume to know if that’s enough to sway Smart, but I do wonder if something else may matter to him. “… if you’re running a ton of plays — it increases the sample size” also means that your offensive players have the opportunity to play more. Forget about the way that also puts pressure on the opponent and ask yourself what sells on the recruiting trail. I’ve got a feeling that telling some star receiving recruit or a quarterback that you’re running 75 plays on offense instead of 65 might make a difference these days. Does Smart?