Let's talk about types of spread offenses (long)

Let's talk about types of spread offenses (long)

ghost2
There's been a lot of good back-and-forth about what Miami should run here in terms of offensive scheme/philosophy, and I'd like to get the gurus here in one thread to weigh in.

First, I feel like there are some misconceptions about the term "spread offense". There are as many variations on what we call the "spread" as there are coaches who run it. I've linked some articles along with some highlighted sections about how the concepts work and then my own thoughts on how they might translate to what we might run here at Miami.


Chip Kelly - Zone-Read Spread

Oregon Spread Offense Tutorial #1: The Inside Zone Read | FishDuck


"Chip Kelly predicates his attack upon the QB read, namely in conjunction with the inside and outside zones. The Oregon offense is therefore a descendant of Rich Rodriguez and the original zone read offenses. The zone read is Oregon's bread and butter and will be run a majority of plays.

The Inside Zone Read (IZR) is the foundation of the Oregon offense…and it is a tailback plunge play up the middle, or a dive play. It is physical blocking to create a hole, and is not meant to fool anyone as it is right up the gut. Everything starts with this play, and the complementary plays such as the Bubble Screen, the Play Action Pass, and the Triple Option…will not work if the two foundation plays (Inside & Outside Zone Read) don’t work. Success with the Outside Zone Read (OZR) depends on the threat of the IZR."





Urban Meyer - Power (Inside Run) Spread

Not All Spreads are Alike | Eleven Warriors

Meyer's base offense, by contrast, is largely inspired by the original, one-back pro-style offenses that currently flourish in the NFL. Meyer's run game reflects this.

Of course, the read and QB run threat is everpresent and crucial to the offense's success. But unlike Oregon, the offense is not completely centered around the read.

Instead, the offense puts more emphasis on the inside run game, including the use of angle and power blocking. Hence, you will see an emphasis on plays like counter-trey and inverted veer, which uses the same power blocking but adds a frontside option.

These distinctions have corresponding results. For example, Meyer will feature more H-backs and tight ends, becasue it permits the type of angle blocking necessary to run the above-plays. Meyer also employs heavy amounts of motion, moving tight ends and backs to and from the slot.




Art Briles/Dino Babers - Baylor "Tempo Spread"

The Baylor Effect: Spread energizes Bowling Green, Tulsa | College Football

A quick summary of Briles' concept of the spread -

"First, go fast. Second, spread the field about as wide as possible. Third, run inside to take advantage of all that space created by receivers lined up outside the hash marks. Fourth, go deep — a lot.

The Baylor offense rarely asks quarterbacks to make NFL-style progressions and defensive reads. Running backs and tight ends are hardly ever used in the passing game."



Now here's where it gets interesting to me re: Dino Babers -


"Babers and Bowling Green are a little different.

"You'll see them do a few more traditional NFL concepts," said Chris B. Brown, the author of "The Essential Smart Football" and "The Art of Smart Football." "It's not that Baylor doesn't have that stuff, it's that they don't have to use it."

Babers spent nearly 25 years in coaching before landing on Briles' staff at Baylor in 2008 as wide receivers coach.

"I'm a little bit older than Coach Montgomery so I've got some other people in me," Babers said.

The 54-year-old Babers cites the late Homer Smith, a longtime UCLA and Alabama offensive coordinator, former Hawaii coach June Jones and former NFL coach Mike Martz as influences."




Chad Morris/Gus Malzahn/Tom Herman - "Smashmouth Spread"

Here's a good article from last year on Morris' "smashmouth spread" at Clemson: Explaining Clemson's Chad Morris and the smashmouth spread offense - SBNation.com

And this one on how it works at Houston under Herman: How Tom Herman's Houston unleashes underdog speed - SBNation.com

This quote in particular caught my eye:

"The description "basketball on grass" is apt, but in a literal sense. It captures how the offense becomes more about getting the ideal matchups and executing options, as in basketball, rather than out-guessing the opponent. The lightning tempo utilized by Malzahn and Morris further allows for this simplicity.

You can see the effects of simple concepts run quickly in the SEC. There's no confusion as to why Nick Saban's Alabama defense has had the most trouble with Auburn and Texas A&M, teams that use tempo. Some of his favorite tactics, such as play-call diversity and bulked-up players, become totally nullified and even turned against him, as his players suck air and look to the sideline while the opponent's already snapping the ball.

Of course, despite that simplicity and speed, Morris teams will make heavy use of motion to change leverage before the snap and see if the defense adjusts. Often the QB's options will depend on the defense's response to motion. This creates a good deal of confusion for the defense.

After the snap, you can see the past come alive as Morris' smashmouth spread starts cycling through the four options of a triple-option attack, whether two or three at a time or all at once. That's right. The best triple option offenses present four main threats to account for."




I posted all of this mainly to say that just saying we should or should not run "The Spread" here is a gross oversimplification of what really goes on in an actual offensive philosophy. I could have posted much more - there are at least 50 teams in CFB that currently run some variation of a spread offense - I just ran out of time to post...

Personally, I think the offensive philosophies of Herman and Babers are most appealing to what we may want to see here if we choose to go in that direction. The idea of a "Smashmouth Spread" that combines tempo AND ball control would seem to jive best with what we have to offer our athletes in South Florida. Further, elements of Babers' more "pro-ed up" Baylor spread would be a dream come true for the WR talent down here, though I think a true Air Raid may not be the best way to go, IMO.

Finally, I found it interesting that while most of these offenses do call for the QB to be mobile, he doesn't necessarily have to be a "running QB" a la Tim Tebow or RG3 to be successful. Rather, he just has to be smart enough to read the defense and react quickly based on what is or is not there. We all know Kaaya is a statue back there, but I think elements of the Herman "Smashmouth Spread" do play to his strengths, such as quick drops/reads and playaction.

I'll post more if I can, but these are just some of my musings as we await word of our new coach. Thoughts?
 

Comments (51)

Where do Mike Leach and Justin Fuente fall into all of this?
 
Where do Mike Leach and Justin Fuente fall into all of this?

Leach is pure Air Raid, IMO.

Fuente is a TCU disciple. Here's an article on Fuente at Memphis - How Justin Fuente turned an underdog among underdogs into the Memphis that beat Ole Miss - SBNation.com

And another - Cripes! Get back to fundamentals...: Justin Fuente: TCU Offense Key Concepts


Basically, a combination of a future NFL QB making all the throws, and an offensive philosophy that is designed to be a "zone-buster" and create holes in the defense.
 
Where do Mike Leach and Justin Fuente fall into all of this?

Leach is pure Air Raid, IMO.

Fuente is a TCU disciple. Here's an article on Fuente at Memphis - How Justin Fuente turned an underdog among underdogs into the Memphis that beat Ole Miss - SBNation.com

And another - Cripes! Get back to fundamentals...: Justin Fuente: TCU Offense Key Concepts


Basically, a combination of a future NFL QB making all the throws, and an offensive philosophy that is designed to be a "zone-buster" and create holes in the defense.

what does herman run?
 
Where do Mike Leach and Justin Fuente fall into all of this?

Leach is pure Air Raid, IMO.

Fuente is a TCU disciple. Here's an article on Fuente at Memphis - How Justin Fuente turned an underdog among underdogs into the Memphis that beat Ole Miss - SBNation.com

And another - Cripes! Get back to fundamentals...: Justin Fuente: TCU Offense Key Concepts


Basically, a combination of a future NFL QB making all the throws, and an offensive philosophy that is designed to be a "zone-buster" and create holes in the defense.

what does herman run?

Herman runs the so-called "Smashmouth Spread" that Chad Morris ran at Clemson with elements of Malzahn's tempo-based offense. It also has elements of the triple-option and Meyer's inside zone spread in that the offense is predicated on an "inside-out" philosophy. In other words, the run game is built around the inside dive and then can be modified to include outside zone, veer, toss, and power schemes. Like Meyer, Herman uses H-Backs and TEs as multifaceted elements of both run and pass concepts.
 
Take a look at Blake Anderson uptempo at Arkansas St multiple games this year they have been behind or tied at half only to blow out in the 2nd half.
 
Where do you see Doug Meacham?

I think Meacham is similar to Babers in that he incorporates elements of the Air Raid with some power run game. He'd do very well here too.

Side note - if we're talking "unrealistic" HC candidates, for me it starts and ends with Gary Patterson. Dude knows what it takes to win and isn't afraid to toss his ego aside in order to do it. Traditional offense not working? Let's hire one of the spready-est spread guys there is to fix it. That's a coach right there.
 
Shout out Dan Mullen

Here's a cool article on Mullen's offense - How Dan Mullen's Mississippi State offense ruins your solutions - SBNation.com

A great quote about Mullen from that article:

While there are some passing concepts in the Bulldog playbook, particularly some five-wide spread plays, the heart of the offense is the running game. But Mullen doesn't just build a running game independent of the rest of the playbook. The whole system is designed to offer counterpunches to anything the defense does in adjustment to the running game.

In every formation and with every play call, the Bulldogs have complementary plays designed to punish the defense for overplaying base runs. The result is that the sum is greater than the parts.

Much like with Art Briles' offense in Waco, each player and scheme is a piece of a greater puzzle. Offensive linemen, wide receivers, quarterbacks ... they all need only to possess certain skills, and then each units' talents will bring out the best in each other.

For the receivers, the outside guys are primarily either blocking or running vertical routes down the field. The line needs to be mobile to execute Mullen's zone blocking schemes, but needn't be great at pass protection. Mullen's offense throws the ball primarily with either play-action or from spread sets in which the QB can move around.

Inside, they use an H receiver, who's the "Percy Harvin-type" or pitch man. He's essentially a running back who sees his action on the perimeter, while the RB is an inside runner. The other inside receiver is a B-back player who is moved around in the backfield or flexed out to offer an super-mobile blocking surface. The quarterback needs to be fast, smart, and tough enough to understand and operate the whole offense. Players like Prescott or Tim Tebow, who are above all tough and versatile, are more likely to excel than players with a few elite skills or drop-back acumen.
 
the OC from TCU is an Airraid disciple. but even from there, there are many different off shoots.

Hal Mumme/Mike Leach run pure Airraid. Very little run game (WR screens replace that, etc).

The Airraid disciples include: Kevin Sumlin, Dana, Doug Meachum, Lincoln Riley, Tony Franklin (kinda the biggest name among HS coaches, because of the Tony Franklin System) and quite a few more. But each one has taken the Airraid and made their own tweaks.

The Airrraid isn't just a set of plays, its a philosophy on how to coach/call/practice an offense.
 
D
According to the potato logic of Sonny Wrong, all those teams play finesse football and Miami doesn't need that.

Good read OP.
 
I'd also like to point out that one thing these offenses have in common is that they are malleable - they can be tweaked and adapted at will to fit a coach's philosophy or an athlete's skill set. What I'd like to see from our next offensive coordinator/head coach is an offense that does this - a tangible overall philosophy (spread) that is tailored to the strengths of the skill players available to the University of Miami (speed at WR and RB.)
 
I am more concerned with defense against these different attacks. It is my opinion that our old Cane defense provides the best possible option against them all. With our old speed, versatility, and use of base defense without a bunch of changes at the line, I think we match up nicely. That presupposes that we have the one thing we always use to, proper Cane DTs collapsing the middle of the line.

If Oregon's relies on the dive play then it has the same weakness the wishbone did. We could stop the dive and break the bone. Nobody else could but we could. All our speed should take care of the rest.

I would fear Urban's the most because we did have weakness against QB runs up the middle sometimes, but Randy stop Urban and Tebow for 3 quarters in the swamp. If we had a proper Miami QB and coaching that year, well Urban might be missing one NC.

Baylor type: Sounds somewhat like the old Houston offense we buried some many years ago. We would have lb speed to cover and no need for special packages and sideline adjustments that give tempo its biggest edge.

That Smashmouth spread sounds like it could be a challenge but I suspect it would have its own problems dealing with our DTs and DEs shooting various gaps and destroy order in the backfield.

Our return to glory depends much more on taking advantage of the overwhelming amount of speedy DEFENSIVE talent down here than rolling the dice on what change in offense we need. As shown in the OP, offensive points can be manufactured. Defense requires the Jimmies and the Joes -- we have more of them than anyone else. If one of those offenses has no negative impact on our defense, either at practice or the game, then I am fine with it.
 
on a side note...I hate the phrase "read option" its redundant. I have never heard of a run game scheme called the read...I've heard of zone, power, counter, etc (and tagging read to it).

OK. I'm off my soap box now.
 
Agree Gator - defense has been the proverbial elephant in the room for Miami the last 5 years. Usually the best way to counter the spread offense is to keep it simple and try and take away the middle first (as you say, similar to stopping the triple option.) Whether 4-3 or 3-4, there are definite ways to counter modern offenses and then some. If I have time, I'll look at some defensive philosophies later on as well.
 
on a side note...I hate the phrase "read option" its redundant. I have never heard of a run game scheme called the read...I've heard of zone, power, counter, etc (and tagging read to it).

OK. I'm off my soap box now.

if you dont score 35-40+ a game you arent winning a national title. i dont know how many times i have to say this.
 
on a side note...I hate the phrase "read option" its redundant. I have never heard of a run game scheme called the read...I've heard of zone, power, counter, etc (and tagging read to it).

OK. I'm off my soap box now.

if you dont score 35-40+ a game you arent winning a national title. i dont know how many times i have to say this.

If you hold the other team to less, pretty sure you win.
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

Latest Predictions

by whoopingcane
Certain
by under67ty
Medium
by whoopingcane
Certain
by Matthew_Suero
High
by SmoovEth
High

2020 Schedule

09/10
UAB
Miami Gardens, FL
W 31 - 14
09/19
Louisville
Louisville, KY
W 47 - 34
09/26
Florida State
Miami Gardens, FL
W 52 - 10
10/10
Clemson
Clemson, SC
10/17
Pittsburgh
Miami Gardens, FL
10/24
Virginia
Miami Gardens, FL
11/06
NC State
Raleigh, NC
11/14
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
11/21
Georgia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
11/28
Wake Forest
Winston-Salem, NC
12/05
North Carolina
Miami Gardens, FL
Top