What’s in store for Georgia’s defense Saturday?

You know, it’s worth mentioning that Georgia won’t be the only team trotting out a new offense in Fayetteville.  Sam Pittman’s offensive coordinator is Kendal Briles, who is Art’s son and runs the old Baylor offensive scheme.

If you want to get the baggage part of the story out of the way first, yes, Briles has been carrying it, as evidenced by his resume since leaving Waco.

Including his final season at Baylor, Arkansas will be his fifth school in five years. Since leaving Waco, Briles had one-year stints as the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic, Houston and Florida State before landing the same job with the Razorbacks under first-year head coach Sam Pittman.

He keeps getting jobs for one reason.

Despite not being anywhere long enough to establish sustained success, Briles has been in charge of some dramatic Year 1 turnarounds.

As illustrated in the graphs below, the Owls, Cougars and Seminoles each saw a jump in scoring and total offense – as well as yards per play and the SP+ offensive rating – with him calling the shots.

So, whatever he’s running has worked.  What, then, is his scheme?  It’s not the Air Raid.  Instead, as Ian Boyd explained in his 2013 primer about Art Briles’ philosophy, it’s a spread scheme designed to do a little of everything.

And it’s not the air raid. It’s not the run ‘n’ shoot. It’s not just a spread offense. It’s a blend head coach Art Briles has been cooking up for decades now…

Baylor’s hybrid offensive approach essentially combines many of the greatest tactics in offensive football into one cohesive and simple package.

First is Baylor’s employment of the spread offense. Baylor’s spread is more intense than most, with even the inside receivers lining up outside of the hash marks. Most every team in college football utilizes some aspect of spread tactics, but everything Baylor does is built around spacing out defenses so that individual matchups can be hammered.

On the outside, speed is king. Baylor sends every receiver vertical early and often in every game. In particular, they love that most defensive schemes match safeties or linebackers in coverage against their slot receivers, so they make a habit of using play action or vertical routes. That makes safeties have to turn and run with 4.4 sprinters like Reese.

Who supports a safety in that task? By definition they are already the support players, the last lines of defense, the reinforcements. Briles attacks them first.

The Bear attack to the middle of the field is all about power. Right guard Desmine Hilliard weighs 330 pounds. Preseason All-American left guard Cyril Richardson weighs about 340. Baylor’s run game is primarily based in inside zone and power-O blocking. Meaning, defensive linemen are constantly getting blocked at an angle or by double teams coming straight at them.

Baylor then pairs these running concepts with quarterback reads. Bryce Petty can either throw a perimeter screen or quick pass or keep the ball himself, based on his read of “overhang” defenders. These are the players who are being stressed to choose whether they’ll align outside to run down a screen pass or inside to fill an interior running play. Read-option concepts guarantee those defenders are always wrong.

Of course, Baylor also has some of the best play-action as well. Old school, new school, it’s all there in Waco.

The point is to spread defenses out to an extreme, make quick reads and exploit the numbers.  And they go fast, too, which makes adjusting and substituting harder.  (That’s probably going to drive Kirby crazy Saturday.)

Here’s how what Kendal Briles calls was described at a Nole blog last year:

The Briles offense is among the more unique schemes in football. Some have dubbed it “The Veer and Shoot”– a reference to Art Briles’ experience playing in the Houston Veer offense under Bill Yeoman in the mid-70’s. I personally find “spread iso” to be more fitting of the scheme’s general philosophy.

The offenses’ primary objective is to use spacing to create one-on-one matchups for receivers while also dictating favorable box numbers for a varied run game. The offense operates at a hyper speed, regularly having one of the faster tempos in the nation. Plays are run within 15 seconds of each other, often leading to confused defenses and coverage busts. This is honed during practice, which is conducted at an even faster pace.

Coaches often tout their tempo and attacking mindset. In Briles’ case, it’s not lip service. This offense is one of the more aggressive mindsets I’ve seen in football, at any level. The stated purpose of the offense is to try to score on every snap. Whether it’s the regular deep shots, the tempo or going for it on 4th down, the foot rarely if ever comes off the gas. At its peak, the offense isn’t just among the best in the nation, but aggressive to the point it plays mind games with opposing defenses.

Briles is flexible when it comes to personnel, but there’s only so much he can do in that regard considering Georgia’s defensive prowess.  Speed at linebacker, a dominate defensive front and a secondary that can handle single coverage is going to make for tough sledding. That being said, Arky’s offensive line is decent and he’s got one of the best running backs in the conference in Rakeem Boyd.  We’ll see how Smart and Lanning handle it.



Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Strategery And Mechanics

32 responses to “What’s in store for Georgia’s defense Saturday?

  1. gastr1

    This will be a good test for how Kirby deals with depth and substitution. I was worried about that issue last year vs. LSU, in that they didn’t sub pretty much at all, allowing them to go against a gassed D on sustained drives. Does Briles sub a lot? I kinda hope they don’t so we can see how Kirby gameplans for that.


  2. Biggen

    I see lots of quick 3 and outs in the Hogs future if they think they can try and go fast with our D.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Leggo5

    If they play this style on Saturday, then add 7-10 points to both team’s score from whatever prediction you HAD in your head. Personally, that takes me from 34-7 to 41-14.



    I know what’s in store for Arkansas Saturday, PAIN.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

    Man, imagine if Kirby had been running an offense like that from the beginning with all our talent and speed instead of his love-letter to 1960’s manball offenses.

    At Arkansas it should make winning some upsets a little easier once they get a good baseline of talent there in a year or two, much like Leach having his pure Air Raid at Mississippi State.

    Glad we don’t play them next year or the year after.


    • Derek

      Imagine if CKS could see the value in having his two big 12 conference championship teams lose to UCF and Michigan State in their bowl games, then he’d really have it all figured out. Like Art did.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

        You ever notice how your analogies never make sense even at a first glance because you just don’t do the work, Derek.

        What’s the thing that Baylor (and almost every Big-12 team) is missing that Georgia has had in spades from 2017-on.

        I’ll answer for you because you obviously don’t know which is why you made this dumb analogy:


        Seems to me an offense like that paired with the kind of defensive depth Kirby and Co. recruits would create an unstoppable juggernaut. Would they give up some more points because the offense moves so fast? Probably. Would they blow teams out of the water so it wouldn’t matter? Definitely.

        Would you rather beat Bama 31-27 in regulation or lose to Bama 26-23 in OT? I know which one I want.


        • Derek

          Seems to you that Zeus would make a fine triple option qb too.

          There is literally no analogy there, literally.

          The element that the scoring/stats aficionados always miss is that you lose something on defense if they’re practicing against a finesse offense all the time. They also forget how often the teams who aren’t built to be physical lose second half leads for lack of being able to grind out first downs and bleed clock. Often they will be heard to complain “just never back off the accelerator!” without taking into account that at 19 years old these kids know when they’re up 18 in the third. They lose urgency. They lose focus. They’re human.

          They also too often assume that Greyson Lambert can be Tua with nothing more than play calling. More often than not, your starting qb is going to lie somewhere in betwixt those polar opposites and you have to have an identity that accounts for the times when you have a more typical qb.

          I’m sure that Meyer and Saban would go to the Leach/Briles/Westhead philosophy if they had any interest in winning national championships tho. I bet they both look at the pirate’s trophy case and swoon, literally.

          Meanwhile, they will both go about their business winning games and titles even when their qb is the 22nd best starter on the roster. Or a third stringer.

          Like we would have done but for that asshole blind dumb ass big 10 line judge! Simmons was onsides!!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

            Derek, Meyer and Saban have adopted a lot of those philosophies.

            Leach’s Air Raid predates the zone read spread option, which incorporates a ton of how the WRs line up and run routes from the Air Raid. Yes, they run the ball, especially with the QB, in the zone read spread option, but when they throw they ball it’s a lot of quick, short passes caught in space which is straight out of the Air Raid playbook.

            As for Saban, when he brought Junior to T-town, the mandate was to bring a pro-type spread offense, which again, incorporates a ton of properties from the Air Raid as well as the zone read spread offense.

            It’s like you think you’re making a point, but you wind up making mine.


            • Derek


              We’ve also been doing “some.”

              You started with “running an offense like that.” That’s literally not “some.”

              I assure you that Alabama’s playbook and ours were not very different under Cheney or Coley. Fromm/Tua/Hurts can make that playbook look very different based upon execution.

              While Meyer has adopted some modern concepts, the power run game remains the central focus. Everything works off of being able to hit the other team in the mouth up the gut.


              Taking pieces of gimmicky offenses and installing them in a physical first, but if we’ve got Tua and 4 gazelles we’ll open it up, offense is not the same thing as “running an offense like that.”


      • I’m not sure games where the offense scored 41 and 42 points really proves that Briles couldn’t score points.


    • J.R. Clark

      Leach is a mouth-breathing moron who will struggle to win 4 games this year. Corch, you ride Leach’s dick so hard and so often I imagine it makes Mrs. Leach feel relieved.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

        Who are you? You must be new, or if you’re not, you’re in serious need of a spanking. When we talk to people here, even if we don’t like them, we leave the ad hominems at home and address the point, not the person.

        I don’t give a shit if you’re King of Dawg Mountain, this is the best place for Dawg fans to gather because we don’t have to deal with people who act like you. Take this tired garbage back to the DawgVent where it belongs, Junior.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Dawg in Austin

    The Boyd piece was from 2013 and the FSU piece was before the season last year. What actually happened last year was that Briles had a crappy QB and an even worse OL and the offense was absolute garbage against quality defenses (of which, admittedly, there are few in the ACC). They also had Cam Akers who dominated all the weak competition on their weak schedule. They were unable to spread out and go as fast as Briles likely prefers, and I’ll bet we see something similar on Saturday. They didn’t get spring practice either, so they’re in the same boat as we are, with less talent. 31-7 Dawgs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. He’s a good O coach who can scheme early, but just like at FSU, he only can do so much if the OL can’t hold up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It sounds to me like it will be enough of a test to hold our interest, while not ever causing too much heartburn.


  9. Austen Bannan

    41-10 score. Arky trails 7-3 at end of Q1, but the UGA defense shuts them out the rest of the way until the 4th quarter.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. practicaldawg

    All I know is that the QB for Arkansas doesn’t do well when the defense gets in the backfield.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. His offenses have reminded me of what I DON’T want our offense to be- an offense that scores, sure, but also one that scores quickly and leaves their own defense on the field a lot. It was the only problem I ever had with Bobo’s offenses at times. Of course, the current Georgia D is better but I still much prefer an offense that compliments your D and vice versa. I still like sustained drives.

    All that said, I don’t expect Arkansas’s offense to be anything close to that this Saturday. I somewhat feel the same about our offense which is why I’m not certain we cover.


  12. 69Dawg

    Well maybe we are getting them at the right time. Pittman will have, given time, a very good Oline. The same thing goes for Leah at MSU and Laner at Ole Piss. This year is not going to look good for anybody except the guys who have not changed what they have been doing. I’ll wait and see how much we will change this year. I personally think we will run the same offense but with a play caller that can actually call plays that work. He knows how to window dress the offense so the defense is out of position. I don’t think you will see manball to the extreme.


    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      If you think we’re running the same offense, man, you haven’t been playing a lick of attention. Nothing about this offense will be the same outside of some personnel grouping.

      The WR splits will be much wider as well as playing off the line to create space before the ball is snapped.

      The QB will have less responsibility pre and post snap, meaning the coaches will be helping with the audibles and alignments and protections. This allows the offense to play faster to stress the defense.

      There will be much more purposeful motion and not just window dressing movement.

      The WR routes will be like nothing we’ve ever seen at Georgia. A premium is made on using scheme to create space so your WRs don’t have to “win” every matchup on their own.

      The entire o-line blocking scheme has changed to a zone blocking scheme all the time, which is what Bobo used or what the NFL offenses like Shanahan or Sean Payton use.

      Nothing about this offense is the same. Nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This was interesting to read. enjoyed.