a great article out of Monroe (near Ruston) explaining how simple Louisiana Tech's Air Raid has become.....
by Ethan Conley
Talk to a few players and you’ll get the impression that Louisiana Tech’s old playbook was the college football equivalent of War and Peace. The new playbook? It’s more like a pamphlet.
That’s if you could even call it a playbook. The players don’t necessarily refer to what they’re running as plays, but “concepts.” Change a few details and a single concept grows into an offensive attack that looks overwhelming to opposing defenses, but could be executed by the Bulldogs with their eyes closed. Eventually, anyway.“Last year we had a lot on our plate with that offense,” quarterback Steven Ensminger said. “We had to learn a lot, we had to know a lot. This year it’s real simple. Everybody works together, everybody knows their assignment, and it’s working real well.”
Tech’s new philosophy is simple: If an offense practices a play 1,000 times that play is going to be very difficult for a defense to stop, even if it knows exactly what is coming. Execution beats variety. And if variety is needed, a little window dressing — different formations, sending a man in motion — can turn a single play into multiple plays.“You want it to look complicated, but to really be simple,” Dykes said. “What offense is all about is that it doesn’t really matter what kind of offense you run. It’s all about execution and having something to hang your hat on.”
Dykes left Texas Tech to be Arizona’s offensive coordinator in 2007, and stuck to the basic principles from the offenses at Kentucky and Texas Tech. He kept it simple. His offense at Arizona was built on just 23 basic plays: five run plays, seven intermediate passes, five quick passes, three play-action passes, and three screen passes.Now that philosophy is at Louisiana Tech.“It’s way less (plays),” running back Roosevelt Falls said. “It’s only a few. It’s only the details that you’ve got to remember in the plays. Little things change about the plays. It’s the same plays, but little things change about them — the formation, where you’re running your route from, who they’re tagging.”Another key concept in the offense is speed — and not just when the ball is in play. The Bulldogs rarely huddle, and instead make their calls at the line of scrimmage. They minimize the time between snaps and keep the defense on its heels. It’s essentially a two-minute offense for all 60 minutes.And it’s only going to get faster.
Dykes said he’d like to run 85 offensive plays each game. How fast is that? Only two teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision averaged more than 80 per game last season: Houston at 82, and Texas A&M at 81. Dykes’ offense at Arizona averaged 70 plays per game, and Franklin’s offense at Middle Tennessee State averaged 73.