When it comes to strategery, I’m always a sucker for contrarian talk, so this Barton Simmons/Bud Elliott discussion of whether teams will be able to find a market inefficiency with the run game as teams recruit to stop the pass is right up my alley.
Along the way, they make a lot of interesting points, such as Simmons’ note that the inside linebacker position has become deprioritized (“They’re just kind of there. You have to put somebody at linebacker to occupy some space.”), but ultimately I think Elliott makes the best one:
I can’t wholly dismiss the idea that we could go back to smashmouth. But there has to be a reason to go back. And to me, the only two reasons would be either a rule change which makes passing more difficult, like a roll back of the illegal contact stuff, or if we were to reach peak passing efficiency, where clearly we have topped out and it starts to backslide as defenses figure it out. I know there is a lot of narrative about teams running base dime and base nickel, but passing games keep getting more efficient every year despite defenses recruiting specifically for a half-decade to stop them. There is no evidence that defenses are figuring it out, and in fact it is going the opposite way. Until we reach a point where passing becomes less efficient, I can’t see it happening.
The rules create so much incentive to throw the ball that it’s practically counterproductive to ignore them.
Of course, it would be the most Georgia thing ever if Smart allows his offense to evolve to take advantage of that, only to have the NCAA finally amend the downfield blocking rules, for example, to lessen the advantage. Not that I think that’s gonna happen. Everybody loves scoring too much.