Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

“The sexiest thing in football today.”

No, it’s not Lane Kiffin.  It’s the run/pass option (RPO).  Bruce Feldman has a good piece up about it that’s worth your time.

One thing that I really love about college football is how its lack of parity encourages creativity and experimentation with offensive and defensive concepts.  Just like some major college innovations eventually trickle up to the pros, the same kind of osmosis takes place from the lower to the upper levels of college ball.

Kuchar’s new study came out Thursday, and it’s a follow-up to the study on RPOs that X&O Labs produced in January 2015 that was by far the best seller the company has produced. As part of this project, X&O Labs tapped into some of the most prolific offensive coaches at the FCS, D-II and D-III levels. I suspect several of these guys will be working at the FBS level soon. Among them: Dustin Beurer, OC, Albion College (MI); Andrew Breiner, head coach,Fordham; Brent Dearmon, OC, Arkansas Tech; Brian Flinn, WR coach,Villanova; Jake Olsen, OC, Loras College (IA); Joe Osovet, former head coach, Nassau CC (NY); Drew Owens, OC, Western Connecticut State; Clay Patterson, head coach, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; Matt Stansfield, run game coordinator and tight ends coach, Duquesne; and Pat St. Louis, OC, Morehead State. One of the coaches involved was D-III Texas Lutheran OC Andy Padron, who has since been hired as the co-OC at Bowling Green.

The 31-year Padron is a certainly a name to remember. The son of a Texas high school coach, he credits spending time learning from Hal Mumme to incorporate Air Raid pass concepts, as well as visiting Baylor every spring, and he took one of his favorite running plays from Chip Kelly’s Oregon attack.

Padron told me nearly 100 percent of his system is based on RPOs. Texas Lutheran was 6-24 the three seasons before Padron arrived to help turn TLU around, and last year the Bulldogs won a third straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship and led the SCAC in nearly every offensive category.

“It gives the offense a chance to be right,” he said of the RPOs impact. “You want to make (the defense) wrong. You want to have to think fast.”

The battle between offensive and defensive strategies never ends.

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“There have always been guys playing basketball who arguably should have been playing football.”

Ian Boyd looks at the supply and demand of certain types of collegiate basketball players and thinks it’s going to have an impact… on college football.

Every year college basketball is producing 6’8″ 250 pound athletes that can’t shoot or move their feet well enough to provide a superior option at power forward over a perimeter player and are too short to stand out at center where the 6’10″+ freaks tend to congregate. The college game is starting to phase these guys out as well in favor of putting more perimeter players on the floor.

The inevitable result? A supply-side economic impact on the game of football, which has no end of opportunities for guys that are tall and powerful.

Meanwhile, football is moving in a direction where taller players are more and more welcome. Back when the game was all about the scrum and flanking opponents with big bodies at the point of attack, it didn’t necessarily pay to be a taller guy.

In a battle between a blocker and a defender the low man is going to win and it’s hard to be the low man if you are much taller than the other guy. But football is no longer being determined as much by these battles but instead by the kinds of physical confrontations that take place in the passing game.

I’m not sure I find that convincing, but it’s certainly intriguing.

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Somewhere between happy talk and Dawg porn…

… lies Frank Beamer’s discussion of his son, Beamer Ball and Georgia’s special teams.

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Kirby’s defensive strategery

I’m going to post something at some point about Smart’s defensive philosophy at Alabama – and, yes, Virginia, there was a Smart defensive philosophy at Alabama – but in the meantime, consider this:

I hope the 50% they’re leaving out is the way the defense played against Tennessee last year.

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Jim Chaney, Rorschach test

I’m starting to think Georgia’s new offensive coordinator is whatever you perceive him to be.

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Which Jim Chaney will we get this season?

From one of those interminable ESPN pieces that fill every off season:

To me, though, the issue of personnel takes a back seat to philosophy. Jim Chaney is a familiar name in the SEC, but what style will he utilize? He has been a guy who likes to run the ball with power at Arkansas, and he has been a guy who is willing to open up the passing game at spots such as Tennessee, where he produced a 3,600-yard passer in Tyler Bray.

I think that gets things exactly backwards.  Chaney was hired because his offensive philosophy is flexible, based on the tools he has available.  Personnel is very likely to drive his approach this season.  If Nick Chubb makes it back, given the quarterback situation and Pittman’s remaking of the offensive line, it’s close to a lock that Chaney embraces the same power running game he directed at Arkansas.

But what should we expect if Chubb’s recovery is stunted and the offensive line can’t run block to save its life?  Remember that while Jacob Eason is a true freshman, he cut his teeth running a four-wide, shotgun passing attack in high school.  That, too, is an offensive approach with which Chaney has familiarity.

Just as important as the approach Chaney takes is the question of timing.  When does Chaney make that call?  How far can you go into the regular season and make an effective switch while trying to compete for a division title?  Sure, some of that may be dictated by how well the defense and special teams play, but in any event, Chaney’s going to be faced with tougher questions than any other coach on Georgia’s staff this season.

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Young, inexperienced and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

You’d think Jacob Eason grabbing the starting job as a freshman is guaranteed to generate rough results, but Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin, who wound up starting a true freshman quarterback last season, says that’s not necessarily the case, because what we perceive to be a bug may turn out to be a feature.

“Sometimes having young players, or in this case a true freshman, it’s not all that bad,” Harsin said. “Young players don’t know all the bad. I don’t want to say this in a negative way, but they’re just dumb enough to find ways to win because there’s that confidence. I think we all have that instinct in things that we do.”

I think that’s coachspeak for “eh, who knows?”

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