Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bill Walsh - Priorities and Practice

What's important in offensive football....

Enjoy his opening commentary on Buddy Ryan 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Under Defense - Pete Jenkins

The ultimate front against 2-back offenses.
 Learn Saban's method of using Under by the one and only Pete Jenkins.

For more great resources on Under, check out Coach Jerry Gordon's book 


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Fritz Shurmur - Nickel / Dime Defense

Buddy Ryan, Dick Lebeau, Jim Johnson? Meh....amateurs!
Shurmur was the grand wizard of defensive minds

Apparently, publishing of his defensive bible has become impossible (?), so here they are ....

Mooch schools you on the West Coast Offense

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Unconstipated efficiency

Instead of assessing and fooling the entire defense, 
trying to ensure you have the absolute perfect play called,
just eliminate the big picture, 
attack one defender and get after it

Yep - another damn Tony Franklin post! 

Louisiana Tech's Offensive Coordinator is a finalist for the 2012 Broyles Award  (along with Noel Mazzone, Blake Anderson, Calvin Magee and Kliff Kingsbury) and also for's Offensive Coordinator of the Year.

The 2012 Bulldogs are #1 in scoring offense, #1 in total offense, #1 in red zone efficiency, and #3 in explosive plays.  This is coming after starting two freshmen running backs and losing last year's main quarterback. The item we would like to stress in this post is that what Franklin is doing at Tech is NOT complicated.  In fact, it is the opposite of complex and is an antithesis of the ego and stubbornness most of us associate with "coaching".  There is no secret play they are running, no magic scheme, no spectacular players manufacturing Herculean performances.  As a side note, what makes Sonny Dykes such a bad ass at La Tech is that after getting the job in 2010, he retained the staff of Derek Dooley, bringing in Franklin, Rob Likens, and Zach Yenser.  He still has this staff with him today.

What we hope to accentuate, using Franklin's latest stop as a case study, are the connections that are driving the success of many of today's BCS second-tier schools (UCLA, Texas A&M, Louisiana Tech, etc).

We documented several variations in 2010 when Dykes and Franklin first arrived, noting that much had changed from the founding cannon of air raid. After a breakout season in 2011, Franklin is sharpening his arsenal into an even more dynamic attack. Noting what has changed, what has been streamlined, what is 'missing' will ultimately impress upon you the reason WHY they are doing it; SPEED.  
No more quick game (save for 68 and 66), no more mesh, very little shallow, hardly any verticals..... everything is perimeter-focused with 94 (Sail) / 98 (Out) with a handful of tags, 41/51, zone and counter.
Their practice sessions start with high-intensity position work with Dawgzilla pounding out a hip hop soundtrack to keep everyone loose and moving.  Next period is inside drill and 1-on-1s that amount to ultra-competitive sessions of concepts (two receivers and two quarterbacks running against two defenders simultaneously). This translates to a high number of reps for all players using routes and techniques you will be using in team period.  Each practice amounts to a furious race to get to Team time, where they relentlessly attack one another in competition.  It's all scripted, and according to Franklin, he's just "running plays (to see what will work)" to assess the capacity of his offense (what works, what doesn't).  He attests to there not being a real clear methodology behind the play calls, much of it shooting from the hip.  Of all the ground covered in practice, the one absolute is reinforcing their tempo. They never huddle on offense or defense and most plays fire off with only 9-10 seconds of lag, but when they start the "Attack" tempo, there is no let-up. After a decent gain, the offense will begin the attack tempo and not relent until there is a score or inevitable punt (often times pushing the 4th and manageable). Even against a defense designed to handle no-huddle, that makes few checks or calls, after 4-6 attack tempo plays the defense will be left with few answers and be on the ropes.  As you see here, they are just running through plays, correction will be done on film later, similar to how you would run a basketball practice.

They teach concepts, so all that is needed is each position receive its 'play' from the sideline via signals with five coaches signalling one position (inside receivers, outside receivers, Oline, Back, QB).  They signal (often times yelling it as well) the formation right after a play ends, then begin the process of just queuing their position on the next play.  This delivers the info extremely quick when they are in "attack".  One thing I would also encourage is using a hyper speed like Blake Anderson, where a series of plays is already scripted/known, so there is nothing to signal or tell a player (1st play is ___, 2nd play is____, 3rd play is _____).  

It is interesting to note where this is coming from and how it becomes such an irritation to many old school thinkers.  So much has been done over the years to reduce the risk on offense through established reads, formationing, personnel groupings.  This works, but eventually all defenses will catch up with the trend.  

It got so, particularly in the last decade that defenses could be compartmentalized into special classifications (goal line, 1st down, nickel, 3rd and short, etc) because by and large offenses were painting themselves into these situational corners.  In a given situation, you could just run down a tendency list and check off all the concepts that would not apply to your down and distance (based on personnel, then by formation, etc). For as much thought and planning went into those offenses, it just became a shell game, a target based on probability for defenses.  Coaches became known for being academic, card-counting project managers moreso than teaching football.  While this all still matters, the current trend is pushing offensive production (and tradition) to challenge this way of life.  I'll also note that no-huddle is nothing new, I recall getting quick counted from a no-huddle wing-t offense in the 80's. What we are seeing from Tech and TAMU is the efficiency to operate at this pace (and to do so means carrying very little into a game).

Back in 2005 - 2007, many of the air raid teams of Holgerson, Franklin, and Brewer would attempt to combat situational-driven defenses through freeze-check.  This allowed the coordinator to eliminate the huddle and find the most logical play call based on what the defense was showing.  We have seen this mature to the point of dual-play combinations (slow screen + 5-step pass / fast screen + run) since 2007 where you can freeze check and still make the right call even if you don't get the look you expect.  These offenses would run at NASCAR tempo as an opportunist tactic.  In the past few seasons, teams are operating at this tempo (and faster) for the entire game with the premise of taking as many shots at the end zone as possible and eliminate lulls in the game where an opponent has the opportunity to reset their "situational awareness". This creates a two-fold dynamic; your offense is capable of burying an opponent in a point deficit and you can eliminate the notion that your opponent could exact that same philosophy on you (reference the Texas A&M game against Louisiana Tech).  So for an offense, as long as you prevent negative yardage plays and can consistently execute, rushing through a series only helps the offense.  The faster the offense operates, the less effective a defense premised to defend personnel, down and distance, hash, and formation is.  When a defense is left in this type of environment, stunting and blitzing become ineffectual - teeing off on known offensive probabilities no longer is available. 
 "You miss all the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky

As we wrote about in 2010, so much of the air raid repertoire was pared down, stripped for simplicity.  I believe we are at a point now where offenses are dropping even more for the sake of increasing their output and out-pacing a defense.

This is best evidenced by what Franklin has been doing in the past three years.  With the exception of the offensive line, his personnel has changed every year.  The constant variables has required him to quickly assess what his players are capable of doing (even if there isn't a logical constraint within the package).  Like Alex Gibbs, Tony (and Mazzone) would've come to an awakening of removing plays that resulted in negative yardage or inconsistent production.   The following are the basic questions that would push an offense into a cycle of perpetual momentum against an opponent. 

  1. If this is what we're going to become on offense, what don’t we need to keep?
  2. What works? What has the highest efficiency? minimize negative yardage plays
  3. Should always be about getting more numbers at the point of attack (this could be double wing, wing-t, or spread) in an isolated area (outside the hash / on the hash / between the tackles).
  4. How fast can you run key screen? This HAS to a one of the easiest plays to execute and doesn’t require you to block anyone
  5. Focus on plays that require the least amount of processing.  Front option / MOF read can be toyed with by defensive movement.  Deciphering the defense will only slow your offense down.
  6. The more efficient the concept the faster you can play without adjusting. You'll see Tony not running much across the middle of the field, which would require a quarterback to get a clear understanding of what he is seeing (to throw Dig/Post/Shallow where a Rat would be).  This is why he’s running power, key, rodeo/lasso – it’s against very limited looks (1/3 of the field) and can work against whatever the defense could be in.
  7. The more efficient at converting downs translates to more scoring opportunities
  8. Gaining positive yards puts you in manageable situations to sustain drives.  You miss every shot you don’t take – the more volleys you can make the greater the odds you can score.
  9. The more scores (and the threat of rapid scoring), the more one-dimensional your opponent will become.
  10. The faster you play, the less a defense can adjust / change
  11. The more static a defensive look, the more efficient your concepts become
  12. Protection – what do you need? If you aren’t getting blitzes, you will only get 5 man pressures.  If you get 6 man pressures it can be an immediate hot throw.  This means you don’t need to involve an inconsistent back in protection….everything is 5 man protection now
  13. If you only work in 5 man protection, then there are no adjustments needed from empty to 3-back, increasing the versatility of the offense through simplicity.

So that leads us to the next point of simplicity....


We reviewed how Tech distilled their blocking of identifying multiple defensive fronts to a simple 6-man protection, packaged to an odd or even front.  Fast forward two years, and gone is Roger and Louie (determining back help in protection), O-Line coach, Petey Perot, has sold-out to simplicity and has removed the back from the call (just free-release the back every down).  Recognize this?

Protection is split to a 3-man zone and 2-man most-dangerous-man side. The quarterback makes the call (Rickey / Linda), so he will know where he has the least help (where the quarterback read becomes part of the protection). This is very similar to what Mike Leach was using at Texas Tech and exactly how Noel Mazzone protects in his system (though he will use a back to pick up the hot).

This brings us back to hemlock's contention of concision versus the old guard of tradition.  How fast will these offenses be allowed to play? When Texas A&M played Alabama, the only time the game slowed down was when the officials felt the need to allow the defense ample opportunity to match substitutions.

I believe these offenses are proving not that no-huddle is the way to go, but that if you have concepts your team is competent in why provide your opponent time to prepare to foul things up? This is the appeal of no-huddle up-tempo.  It remains a valid attack for empty to double-wing and it ultimately requires little complexity, but significant competency (fundamental execution).  It also begs for self-reflection.  What can we do without, how can the game be even more simplified and reduced?  We went through this very process with the defense not long ago.

2-Gap / 1-Gap Defense with Pete Jenkins

 More genius from Pete Jenkins

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Clinic Notes from the past 10 years

For your archiving pleasure, I submit 238 pages of semi-legible clinic notes from the past 10 years.  There may be some good stuff found in there...
  • Defensive Basics - Norm Parker
  • Iowa Run Blocking - Jon McLaughlin
  • Program building and core strength- Chris Doyle
  • Zone Offense - John McDowell
  • Quick Passing Game - John Thorne
  • Punt / Punt Blocking - Mike Sabok
  • Triangle Passing Concepts - Tim Lester
  • DL Play - Don Dunn
  • R4 Passing - Darin Slack
  • Split Safety Coverage - Nick Saban
  • Middle of Field Coverage - Nick Saban
  • Blitz Pickup / OL Play - John Schlarmann
  • Blocking Veer - JT Curtis
  • Offensive Philosophy - Todd Sturdy
  • Catch Man DB Play - Nick Rapone
  • Kicking Game - Nate Kaeding
  • Wing T Adjustments - Mark Ehlers 
  • One Back Spread Offense - Cliff Ice
  • Offensive Philosophy - Tony Sporano
  • Run Blocking - Freddie Kitchens
  • Wide Receiver Play - Todd Haley
  • QB Play - David Lee
  • QB Reads - Chris Palmer
  • Tempo Spread Offense - Blake Anderson
  • QB Passing Trajectory - Tommy Condell
  • Coaching QB Ball Placement - Tommy Condell
  • Attacking Cover 0 - Tommy Condell
  • Defensive Philosophy - Bo Pelini
  • Quick Passing Game - Mike Leach
  • Using Zone Read - Steve Farmer
  • QB Development - John Booty
  • Fire Zone Defense - Bobby Johnson
  • Spread Run Game - Dave Wilkerson
  • Using No Huddle Spread - Dave Wilkerson
  • Beating the Blitz with Spread - Dave Wilkerson
  • Science of Quarterbacking - Doug Pederson
  • 2 Back Screen Game - Frank Monica

Sunday, October 14, 2012


We are now through seven weeks of the college football season and one of the more exciting matchups this season was the pairing of the prolific and aggressive paced offenses of Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech.  Much has been written on this blog about Tech, but A&M has been one of the forerunners of tempo spread since the hiring of Mike Sherman in 2008 and also through his replacement,  new head coach, Kevin Sumlin. What was interesting about this matchup was how A&M, a non-powerhouse of the Big XII and now SEC, has used this style of play to compete when they are routinely outgunned in their conference then faces a team with similar philosophy.  Both defenses were well acquainted with tempo offenses, because naturally, that is what they practice against.

This post, as well as most posts on this blog, will simply articulate a momentum or trend that happens to be current.  I doubt we're breaking much ground here, nor are we attempting to deliver some great truth or provide a how-to coaching guide.  We'll just be documenting a direction or response encountered in today's game.  It can be easy to fixate on singular items, but where we're hoping to go is tie in the relevant connections to see what's at play in the bigger picture.  We could no doubt, review some of the same efficiencies and nuances of Johnny Manziel and the TAMU offense used by Kliff Kingsbury.

Tech (and other spread offenses) has been using a 3-back formation for quite a while, but what they have been using it for in the past 8 months to compliment their base package, is something to take note of.  To accommodate their frantic pacing in games, so much of the playbook has to be trimmed and streamlined to ensure efficiency.  Tech bases out of 2x2 and 3x1, but to provide a radical change-up against the nickel defenses they see, Tech uses tight-ends and versatile backs (extra linemen more recently) to force defensive personnel into non-standard situations, primarily to elicit a coverage response.  This cat-and-mouse game was illustrated throughout the second half of this game.  In this post, we'll take a look at what kind of changes were taking place.  You'll see much of this all goes back to the early one-back philosophies.

Against one-back sets, the defense will typically commit 6 defenders to the box and play nickel with 2-high safeties.  

After pacing through a series with receivers spread the width of the field, Tech will race through substitutions and be set within 10 seconds with 3 backs in the backfield.  The defense, in the given personnel grouping they had from the last play, have to determine how this formation will be played. Typically, the nickel will join the box, but this only provides 7 defenders to 8 offensive players (excluding the quarterback). 

Do you keep the safeties deep to prevent isolation of your corners? 

Do you drop a safety to bolster your front? 

The challenge is that the offensive formation is symmetrical with no declared run strength. The offense can run any play to either side equally well.

TAMU using 7 defenders in the box
TAMU using 8 defenders in the box
TAMU using 9 defenders in the box

Once you even up your numbers in the box, Tech uses their gap-power run to overwhelm the point of attack (with OF lead), forcing a defense to drop both safeties and leave their corners one-on-one with the single-split receivers.

Part of the beauty of this is that most of it fits within what Tech would be doing out of 2x2 or 3x1.  They (used to) run a lot of Rodeo/Lasso and fast and solid screens on the perimeter (which becomes even more effective if you can bunch the defense up in the middle of the field).  So even though they bring in an extra blocker to the formation, they can do all the stuff they would be doing from their base formations.

When the one-on-one matchup is assured on the receiver, they will look to exploit it through play-action (usually a post-dig combo).  From here, the throw will be premised on the leverage the receiver has on the defender;

If outside – hit the post

If in-phase low shoulder - fade

If in-phase high shoulder – drop out

With as much as one-on-one leverage is worked by Tony Franklin and as talented as his receivers are, these become extremely high percentage throws.

** This game is a wonderful study in the current competitive equalizers from both teams (offense and defense).  Down by 27 in the first half, what other program would give license to continue rolling the dice with attack tempo? If Franklin was at any other school what are the odds of the head coach pulling the reins on his method and try to 'hold the ball' on offense (and limit the ability to mount the comeback)?  Facing the explosive running threat of Manziel, watch Tommy Spangler adjust his 'cats'/'shaver' pressures to bring 5 to control the running lanes.

This all plays into a larger theme on determining what is truly important to becoming more efficient, both on offense and defense.  We are well aware that trends in the game ebb and flow and remain cyclical, but its not as if there will be wholesale scheme changes made; merely adaptations.  Playing into Hemlock's point about Saban's method, defenses may need to be measured by new standards as the game of football adapts.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TFS: Lulz

Tony Franklin with a rebuttal

How has Tech won three road games already against three teams that played in bowl games last year? By outscoring almost everyone in the country by running Franklin’s offense somewhere close to perfection.

The Bulldogs are No. 11 in total offense at 523.4 yards a game and No. 3 in scoring offense at 53.2 points a game. Louisiana Tech averages more points a game than Auburn has scored combined in its four losses. The Bulldogs fired off 97 snaps in their 58-31 win over UNLV last weekend.

That’s our No. 1 goal every week,” Franklin said. “To be the fastest team in America.”
Here’s where Franklin’s philosophical differences with Saban get good. Remember what the Alabama coach said last week in the wake of West Virginia 70, Baylor 63?

"I think that the way people are going no-huddle right now, that at some point in time, we should look at how fast we allow the game to go in terms of player safety," Saban said. “That's when guys have a much greater chance of getting hurt when they're not ready to play.”

Franklin’s response: “The most hilarious thing about the timing of those comments is anybody who watched New England play Denver (Sunday).”

Tom Brady and the Patriots, running a hurry-up no-huddle, ran off 89 snaps and set a franchise record with 35 first downs in beating the Broncos 31-21. Oh, and the Patriots are coached by one of Saban’s best buds, Bill Belichick.

New England is the best offense in the NFL for one reason,” Franklin said. “They play like colleges do. They play no-huddle, fast-tempo, they change tempos and they do what they have to do to win. I think Belichick would probably disagree with his buddy.”

It’s the great equalizer,” Franklin said. “People say Baylor can’t play defense. You know what? Before Art Briles got there, they couldn’t play offense, either, and they couldn’t win games. Now all of a sudden, Baylor can beat people because they can outscore people.

“Obviously if you can line up and you’ve got better players than everybody else and play great defense and eat clock and win as many games as you can, that’s a great way of playing football, too. The problem is, 95 percent of us don’t have that type of talent to do that.

“So when they fall into that trap of saying, ‘Here’s how Alabama has won championships. Here’s what we should do,’ to me, that’s the trap that Coach Saban would want everybody to fall into because, the reality of it is, he’s going to have better players most of the time.”

Our offensive (players) understand that if they get lined up incredibly fast,” Franklin said, “if they’re ready to snap the ball when the official puts the ball in play, their job is twice as easy.”
This is how the Bulldogs wear opponents down in the WAC and beyond. Like Illinois, which surrendered 31 straight second-half points to Louisiana Tech in a shocking 52-24 blowout in Champaign in September. Or like Virginia a week later, which gave up 34 straight points in a loss in Charlottesville.
You’ve got bigger guys than we do? More depth? Good luck getting on and off the field against our offense.
You could see the fatigue in their players,” Cameron, a senior, said of Illinois and Virginia. “You could see it in their faces and their body language. When we see bad body language, it motivates us to play even faster.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Is this what we want football to be?"

Well, it was bound to happen, I knew it.  One of the coaches in football I respect the most said some truly idiotic things the other day.  As I am sure everybody who keeps tabs on this blog knows, Nick Saban, after cruising to another victory last Saturday against SEC rival Ole Miss, expressed his deep existential concern for the future of football.  Against the backdrop of the Baylor-WVU shootout, the unprecedent success of LaTech, and the slight run that Ole Miss gave the Tide the other night in Tuscaloosa, Saban rhetorically asked whether this was what we want football to be?

We all know the source of Saban's anxiety.  A defensive coach by training, Saban is disurbed by the spike in scoring that has followed the spread, no pun intended, of extreme up-tempo, spread football.  On the surface, Saban's thoughts are covered in a thin slurry about the physical safety of players.  Beneath this gruel, however, rests his real concern: the perceived "unfair" advantage that offenses now have by being able to line up and call plays from the sideline.  I say unfair because Saban's comments remind me of the rational that casinos offer for bouncing card counters.  Because someone has adapted to his environs by developing certain skills that were supposedly not in the minds of the Founders at the beginning of it all it is declared cheating and subsequently banned by the authorities that be. 

I understand why Saban is frustrated.  But it has nothing to do with player safety.  What upsets Saban so much is that the calculus of the game has changed so much so quickly.  In the interview Saban complains about how coaches can now control the game exclusively from the sidelines.  But has not this been the case since Paul Brown took play calling duties away from the quarterback?  What we're seeing now is simply the natural progression of a process that was started over sixty years ago.  

But I would say that what really bothers Saban more than anything else is not the fact that coaches can get their offenses out of bad plays and into good ones with relative ease now.  Teams have been doing that now for over 10 years, so that's old hat.  No, what pisses him off is the speed and efficiency with which teams play right now.  Let's forget Nick's night with Ole Miss because they're not even that good; as improved as they are the Rebels still have a way to go to be as efficient as Hugh Freeze's Red Wolves were last year.  Let's take LaTech, for example.  While Oregon gets all the headlines, LaTech is probably the most advanced up tempo team going today.  As readers of this blog know, we are big fans of what Tony Franklin is doing at Tech.  The reason is concision.  No team has probably dropped more from their package over the past three years than LaTech.  Watch the Virginia game if you want proof.  LaTech goes into every game with a very light package. (Just compare LaTech's package to the one UVA ran the other day and tell us whose offense is simpler)  Each game it seems lighter and lighter as they get faster and faster.  Practically gone from their package are old Air Raid staples like Mesh and Shallow.  Basically all they do is run an increasing amount of IZ tied to key screens and two or threee man games on the flanks.  When they want to get down the field they run Verticals, Sail, and Y-Cross.  What makes them go though is speed and efficiency.  Not only does  LaTech play fast but they do so with very few mistakes.  An offense that does not make mistakes is a difficult one to stop.

relevant source material

 So, why do I make such a big deal about efficiency?  Well, so much of what Saban has done over the years was born out of the need to check increasingly complex and sophisticated offenses.  The trend now is going the other way, making all of the bells and whistles you have in your package moot.  What Saban needs to do, and I'm sure he will at some point or another, is streamline his defensive system ala Tommy Spangler at LaTech.  Again, I do not wish to give the impression that we are in love with these guys, or that we think Spangler is a defensive guru of legendary proportions.  While Spangler is not a genius, he is a very smart coach who clearly has the ability to learn.  Being forced to keep pace with Franklin's offense at LaTech everyday forced Spangler to streamline his defense, making it, in effect, a no-huddle, check-with-me, self-correcting unit that, like the offense it competes against everyday, carries surprisingly little into each game.

I will close by saying that in a strange way the game is coming full circle, and maybe that is what bothers Saban so much.  The best no-huddle teams today really do not check that much any more; they simply go with what they have.  They can do this confidently because more often than not attached to every play is control concept that helps them go where the most grass is on the field.  In this sense, the game today is more like it was before Paul Brown started calling plays.  The players on the field are given a concept and are charged with making it go, leaving the coach with less and less say, something I can see being very problematic for someone like Nick Saban. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tech in 2012

A worthwhile article from profiling Stephen Warner from Louisiana Tech with some perspective on running the offense through the center.

You read that right. Warner, a senior, doesn't just snap the ball and block. He gets the plays from the sideline, reads the defense, calls the blocking assignments and then barks the snap count.
"I'm not aware of any other offenses that are doing it right now," says Tech offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. And that seems clear from defenses' inability to react to it. Last week against Illinois,Tech scored 52 points and gained 403 yards, a season low for the 3-0 team. (And Tech hasn't played any FCS schools, either.)
Tech even has a play designed for when (not if) defenses get confused. Warner draws a pass rusher offside with a moderated cadence, and then when somebody jumps, he switches to a "Freeze" play where all the Tech receivers take off for the end zone. Free play, and sometimes free points. It worked like a charm against Illinois, though the play was called back because of a penalty. No matter; if you jump offside against Warner and Tech, be prepared to run down the field while the culprit of this sleight-of-voice trick watches in pride.
The concept of having the center run the offense makes a lot of sense. At least it did to Franklin, who came up with it when he was a coach of the Lexington Horsemen of the National Indoor Football League. The team's home "field" was in Rupp Arena, which gets pretty loud even for football games. "On the road you had to do silent cadence," Franklin says. "So it was a good time to try it. The center we had loved it."

just one thing from the author, "even though there's still skepticism on whether Franklin's offense can work in a major conference."

If you can, try checking out Tech's game against Virginia on Saturday at 2:30 pm CST
*be sure to watch LG Kevin Saia during the broadcast as he is the one that alerts the center to begin the cadence

Related links:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Philosophy & Filler

We were fortunate to be able to collaborate with Joe Daniel and have a few conversations about the game of football.  Coach Daniel has a lot of great insight and is 100% football.  Be sure to check all his great work over at the following links:

For whatever reason, Daniel was gracious enough to host me on his burgeoning podcast ( ) to shoot the shit.  This, after visiting the football greats of James Vint ,  Tim Murphy ,  Jerry Gordon, and Shap Boyd.  After heavy-hitters like those guys, please keep your expectations low.  I will say I think it might be a little better than my last public interview

Links to the websites referenced in the interview:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

College Football Y'all

Hope you got a chance to catch some of the quality college football match-ups this weekend.  I found a few observations worth mentioning from some of the Air Raid patriarchs.

Mike Leach – I haven’t paid much attention to Leach this spring/summer, opting to rather wait and see how things played out in the fall before offering any editorial.  It appears as though he is picking up right where he left off from a philosophy standpoint (wide splits, vertical attack focus).  On one of WSU’s first explosive plays featured an effective smash adjustment into the boundary, converting #1’s hitch into a post once the split-safety widens to match the (corner) bend of #2, leaving a middle-of-the-field void. 

smash conversion

Noel Mazzone – Like Leach, Mazzone is doing exactly as he had on his last stop; streamlined efficiency centered on horizontal stretch of perimeter defenders. Mazzone has also adapted the Holgorsen, Franklin (TFS), 3-back change-up to capitalize on defensive personnel adjustments. Similar to the two quarterbacks he had at ASU, Mazzone’s UCLA quarterback, Brett Hundley, finished with a more than respectable 75% completion ratio.

Tony Franklin – I am really glad Hurricane Isaac delayed last week’s Louisiana Tech – Texas A&M matchup until October 18, because it should allow enough time for a larger viewing audience to develop an interest.  There is plenty to take note of with Tony Franklin’s offense, much of which we’ve previously written about.  Of note are the contributions of freshmen Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon who came out of nowhere (plenty of depth with solid running backs) with over a 6 yard per carry average.  Those are impressive stats, but I think it also drives home Franklin’s aggressive style for playing offense.  

Tech has incorporated more inside zone this year and you may not find a team this year more adept at quick perimeter screens (particularly solid, rocket/laser with linemen).  Of course, the one thing you can learn from Tech is how committed to tempo they are.  They never move slower than snapping within 20 seconds of the spot and when they operate in “attack” tempo, no defense is safe. Even while leading with only 43 seconds left in the first half and receiving to start the second half, Franklin still attempted to work the clock and drive the field for points.  This style of play helped them break out of their own 1 yard line in the third quarter and score on a 4 play drive.
They’re going so fast there’s no time to explain what’s happening 
– CBS Color commentator, Ron Zook, during the Louisiana Tech game broadcast
There is nothing "soft" or finesse about this brand of football.  It is fast and nasty - both UCLA and La Tech relentlessly paced through 94 total offensive plays for over 600 yards total offense with over 250 yards rushing and 5 TDs.

Here are two observations I felt like taking a look at.
Fire (stretch read) with predetermined cutback

Fire (stretch read) with built-in option throw