Thursday, October 27, 2011

Air Raid Adaptation (cont'd)

We've covered this before quite a bit and Chris Brown knocks it out of the park when writing about the loaded backfield of Oregon and West Virginia but just documenting the trend that many teams are featuring heavy backfields out of the same "spread" 10 personnel groupings.

Since most nickel packages don't bother repping 2-back looks (simply because you'll be in base defense vs 21), a spread offense that lives in the 3x1 and 2x2 world can completely ham-fist the defensive personnel on the field when seeing power formations such as this. Although an adaptation of the TFS since about 2007 (Brown/Black gun), the use of essentially 3-backs here by Louisiana Tech against a sound Utah State is exactly the same look they showed Mississippi State, with the exception of the tight end being replaced (and Franklin inserts a linebacker as a lead blocker). 


It goes to show that everything is cyclical and if you stay in the same spot (schematically) all you become is a stationary target.

On a somewhat personal note, I find you can discover so much more about actual 'coaching' from the programs that have to fight for wins.  It takes creativity, some guile, and a lot of hustle to manufacture plays that add up to wins when you're playing with a short deck.  While Tony Franklin will never be considered a face for the public, there is no denying his commitment to his players and his humble desire to win.  An interesting note to the season for La Tech is how much their offensive staff (in their first real season after recruiting) is relying on brand new faces to the program.  With transfers (WR) Quinton Patton and (OT) Oscar Johnson, to true freshmen (QB) Nick Isham, (RB) Ray Holley and (RB) Hunter Lee getting the bulk of responsibility in the past four weeks.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rich Rodriguez Spread Offense

Like the Calvin Magee clinic? How about hearing from the man himself, Rich Rodriguez?

Six more hours of spread offense dissection from one of the decade’s biggest names.  This clinic took place just before Rodriguez took over at West Virginia while he was making a name for himself under Tommy Bowden at Clemson.

While nothing went according to plan at Michigan, the innovations Rodriguez spearheaded at Tulane, Clemson, and finally West Virginia, became his thumbprint on many offenses we’re seeing today (particularly in the run game).  What if Rich Rod stayed at WVU instead of trying to resurrect  Michigan? What if they actually landed Terrelle Pryor in 2008 instead of having to pin their last desperate hopes on Denard Robinson?  UM’s defense certainly didn’t help matters, but it makes for an interesting look at how drastically perceptions would change if a few chance events took place.
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In the late 90s, while other programs were rediscovering athleticism at quarterback (McNabb at Syracuse / Vick at Va Tech), Rodriguez was capturing lightning in a bottle by paring athletes (Shaun King, Woody Dantzler) with complimentary, multiple option threats from the gun.  If you have the old (now canonized) Alex Gibbs Gilman clinic on wide-zone, you’ll hear Gibbs marvel over what kind of mileage coaches were getting out of Dantzler at the time.  In the infancy of his philosophy, it was applying extremely simple concepts from the gun and capitalizing on the low-hanging fruit of “athletes in space”.  It was by adapting to the talent on the roster to the innovations of defensive adjustments, borrowing from other successful programs (Northwestern), and acquiring an infusion of  expertise (Rick Trickett), that Rodriguez became increasingly successful through the height of his career.
Rodriguez essentially set the table for up-tempo offenses of today (Oregon, Oklahoma State, etc) that have taken the best of both worlds (spread option with proven Air Raid concepts)  and evolved into a multi-dimensional threat to defenses.  Did Rodriguez plateau or hit the creative wall before leaving WVU?  The offense relied heavily on zone read and speed option with the passing game usually a result of play-action or a simplified 2-man-game.  Was he the victim of a program in decline, a dried up well (little recruiting help), or did his offense simply fail to evolve itself to the defense’s natural response? Will we witness his return to the coaching ranks, adapting his offense to the new decade’s defenses?

Most of the second session illustrates what Rodriguez was doing at Clemson.  Since part of this discussion relates to how that offense changed through the decade, here is some supporting evidence:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quarterbacking with Jim Miller

A collection of quarterback fundamentals with Jim Miller, the grittiest of the gritty.  Grab your pain meds and enjoy these drills from the Michigan State staff and Chicago’s John Shoop.

For the best quarterback instruction, it begins and ends with Darin Slack C4 Method.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Calvin Magee: Rodriguez Spread Offense

It wasn’t long ago that the West Virginia football program was known for an entirely different high-octane offense.  That offense was spearheaded by a coach who is now deemed a pariah after languishing at Michigan for the past few years.  Rich Rodriguez used this simple brand of  fast-paced-spread to pressure defenses during his stops at Glenville State, Tulane, Clemson and West Virginia.
Now at Pittsburgh, Calvin Magee was an integral part in developing this ‘spread to run’ offense that Rodriguez became renowned for.  In his own words and philosophy, here are 5 hours worth……