Daily Archives: July 6, 2022

What is a pro-spread offense?

Ian Boyd looks at the key elements that comprise a state of the art college offense these days, which he labels a “pro-spread”:

Pro-spread tactics generally work along these lines:

  • The goal is to break down defenses with dropback/progression passing.
  • The key to doing so is with receivers who can reliably get open in 1-on-1 matchups.
  • A deep threat is the most valuable piece, as in every offensive system, but then your “running back” or “run game” is often divided between the literal run game and then your possession receivers who do heavy work every week moving the chains.
  • Hybrid weapons, particularly at tight end, often do some of the heavy lifting by moving around to create distortions in the defense the quarterback can use to diagnose the structure and find the open man.

Given that last characteristic, I thought he’d spend some time talking about what Georgia did last season.  I mean, this kind of rings a bell:

The emergence of the RPO (run/pass option) has been key here. When you can pair a power run from 11 personnel with a fullback/tight end hybrid in the backfield and a vertical threat in the slot, you can really put safeties and defenses in a bind.

Defenses are getting wise to RPO football and run/pass conflicts though. What they don’t have great answers for is problems like “how do we cover Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney at the same time if the offense insists on throwing the ball to them regularly?

As I argued in the last post, dropback passing from the spread is a higher form of offense with fewer answers from defenses. If you can get a skilled quarterback on the same page with NFL caliber receivers and multiple hybrid weapons at tight end and running back, you can solve most anything the defense tries to do.

The catch is that building these offenses is very difficult. You need a left tackle, for one, to build your protections around so your five-man crew can keep the quarterback upright long enough to get to his second or third read.

A deep threat wide receiver is extremely valuable as well. There’s no better way to clear out space underneath for your timing or option routes than to hold at least one safety deep on a hash to prevent a one-throw score.

The hybrid tight end who’s a matchup problem in space is sort of akin to a star running back in a power run game. You want a volume chain-mover who can pick up first downs regularly. Overall you want two really high level passing targets and then a few others who can do something when the defense focuses elsewhere.

But, no, it’s all about you know who.

Alabama went all-in on sophomore Bryce Young last fall and were still pretty sporadic on offense until the end of the year when they started to put it together. Watching them in their close loss against Texas A&M I could seen signs they were close to breakthrough and made a note they might have the best team in the country by the playoffs. They did, obliterating Georgia in the SEC Championship game, but then they lost their NFL receivers and couldn’t get the ball across the finish line.

Can we go ahead and elect Metchie and Williams to the College Football Hall of Fame already?

Sigh.  Well, if you can get past that, there’s good stuff from Ian there, as usual.  Take a minute and read it.

33 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

I love the smell of flop sweat in the morning.

The funniest quote from yesterday, by far, was this:

“George [Kliavkoff] is bold,” a source said. “I’m curious what he’s working on right now.”

If there’s a fine line between genius and panic, I’m pretty sure I know which side of the line Kliavkoff finds himself right now.

On the one side, he sees the Big 12 trying to poach several members of his conference.

The Big 12 is involved in deep discussions to add multiple Pac-12 programs as a way to shore up its membership in the wake of the USC and UCLA defection to the Big Ten, sources tell CBS Sports. At least four teams are being considered with the potential for the Big 12 to add more as realignment continues to shake out.

Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah were mentioned specifically as the teams being targeted by the Big 12, sources tell CBS Sports. There is also consideration of adding Oregon and Washington to make the Big 12 an 18-team league, the largest in the FBS.

A merger of the Big 12 and Pac-12, in some form, is also a possibility.

“Everything is on the table,” said one Big 12 source.

Ya’ think?

So, what’s Bold George got to offer in response?  Media negotiations.  Accelerated media negotiations.

The Pac-12 is pushing up negotiations for its next media rights agreements in the wake of the decision by UCLA and USC to leave for the Big Ten.

The Pac-12 announced that its board of directors authorized negotiations after a meeting Tuesday morning.

The conference’s current media rights deal expires in 2024, but the Pac-12 accelerated the timeline for negotiations for the next one with two of its marquee programs headed out the door.

It’s very thoughtful to allow the four schools weighing their options the opportunity to evaluate a real dollar value on their choices, but, considering that the conference is bound to negotiate only with Fox and ESPN, it’s hard to see that as a way to staunch the bleeding.

It turns out that’s not Bold George’s real ace in the hole, though.  Unbelievably, this is.

The ACC and Pac-12 have discussed what has been termed a “loose partnership” that could end the season with the conferences playing a “championship game” in Las Vegas, sources confirm to CBS Sports.

The concept, believed to have been proposed by the ACC, is seen as a way for the conferences’ common rightsholder, ESPN, to increase the value of their current media rights contracts.

It’s not likely this proposal would have much impact considering ESPN has cost certainty with the ACC in a contract that lasts through 2036. The Pac-12 is trying to survive after the loss of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in 2024. Rights for Pac-12 teams without the California powers are now worth about $30 million annually, down from approximately $42 million per program with the Trojans and Bruins in the fold.

John Canzano first reported the proposed the Pac-12 discussing a “loose partnership” with another conference Tuesday afternoon, noting some regular-season crossover games could be played in addition to the “championship game.”

Sources indicate the proposal is viewed as a “strength in numbers” move. While the 24 combined ACC and Pac-12 teams wouldn’t have nearly the clout of the 32 programs combined in the SEC and Big Ten, it would be something to combat the growing financial gap between those burgeoning superconferences and everyone else.

What a cool idea!  Maybe they could come up with a catchy name for it, something like, you know… The Alliance.  That Kliavkoff is supposedly willing to enter into another loose partnership, or whatever you want to call it, after just seeing the last version explode into flames is mind boggling.  But such is the intellectual level of the people running college football, I guess.

Anyway, a couple of final thoughts on all this maneuvering:

  • First of all, geniuses don’t put all this stuff out there for public consumption.  Just ask the Big Ten and the SEC how that should work.  Kliavkoff is desperate to avoid the collapse of the Pac-12.  All he’s got is this open flailing to show he’s trying.  It’s not a good look.
  • As far as the “loose partnership” goes, it may be an attempt by the Pac-12 to grab a lifeline, but what it really looks like is an effort by the ACC to force ESPN to renegotiate its rights deal with the conference.  Hard to see how it would move the needle, though.  And does anyone besides me think that if this were to become a reality somehow, the ACC/Pac-12 “championship game” would be a full-fledged invitation for the Big Ten and SEC to go down that same road, with far more impactful results?  Mickey isn’t your friend, George.

21 Comments

Filed under Pac-12 Football

2022 SEC Coach Rankings

From Barrett Sallee, here’s what he has to say about Kirby Smart:

Kirby Smart (2 overall): Smart led the Bulldogs to the program’s first national title iin 41 years when his squad topped Alabama in Indianapolis in January, and he has the program set up for long-term success after stockpiling talent in the Peach State. The Dawgs have four SEC East titles, one SEC title and two national championship appearances since Smart took over in 2016 as a first-time head coach. It’s really hard to sustain success, especially early in a coach’s career, but Smart did it quickly and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Last year: 3 in SEC

Hey, that’s great.  No more of that “recruits great, but he’s no game day genius like Dan Mullen”.

Of course, Dan Mullen’s no game day genius like Dan Mullen any more, either.

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

TFW you gotta shill for The Man

Fox Sports personality wants us to know his employer is out there, working for us, even if we don’t appreciate it like he does.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better already.  Thanks, Joel!

36 Comments

Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

Loan me a dime

First Maryland, now this.

The Big Ten is kinda like if the Island of Misfit Toys was a member of OPEC.

28 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

Object of amusement

Shot.

The funniest thing to watch this year will be the folly Honky McFailson suddenly thinking he’s Aaron Rodgers and trying to play outside of himself and the offense. Those 50-50 eephuses he threw up against Alabama’s inexperienced reserve corners won’t fly against teams that have some starting experience back there.

Chaser.

I’m thinking Erik might not be right about the funniest thing to watch this season.

30 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football