What a Mark Richt offense *might* look like at Miami (long)

What a Mark Richt offense *might* look like at Miami (long)

ghost2
Okay, so I spent some time last night and early this morning digging through stats, tape, and old playbooks of Georgia and FSU during Richt's tenure. Specifically, I focused on UGA from 2002-2007 and FSU 1994 and 2000 (his first and last years as OC.) I found some trends regarding offensive positions and philosophy that I think may be relevant to his time here going forward.

First, I'll give a breakdown of what I feel Richt looks for at each offensive position and how he utilizes each:

Quarterback - This is the position I spent the most time on, as you might expect. One of the things I really like about Richt the QB Coach is that he doesn't have a "system" quarterback a la Meyer or Mullen. After all, Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke had COMPLETELY different skillsets, yet both won Heisman Trophies under Richt's tutelage (Ward won his when Richt was QB coach, not OC, but the argument stands I think.) Looking at his most successful QBs at Georgia - David Greene, Matt Stafford and Aaron Murray - again, they each possess very different skillsets.

What I can say about his successful quarterbacks is that, beyond the standard things you look for (accuracy, vision, arm strength, etc.), each possessed the ability to extend a play with his feet and find an open man downfield. That was Ward's M.O. of course, but Stafford and even Murray had "escapability." This is where I think Richt will help Brad Kaaya the most here. As DMoney alluded to in a prior post, Kaaya really started to use his feet better both inside and outside the pocket as this season progressed. I think Richt will get the absolute most out of that aspect of his game.


Running Back - For the most part, Richt likes to have two, if not three running backs in the fold. He'll use a "workhorse" (Moreno at UGA, Dunn/Minor at FSU for example), but even those guys won't get run into the ground. Moreno had 248 carries in 2007 - as a reference, Duke Johnson had 242 here in 2014. Richt likes to utilize a variety of running backs in his stable - again, guys with different skillsets. He'll have a "thumper" (Greg Jones), a "slasher" (Dunn/Moreno), etc.

Richt will utilize his RBs in the passing game quite a bit, particularly on crossing and wheel routes as well as screens. At UGA however, Moreno is really the only back in the timeframe I focused on who caught a lot of passes. In the Thomas Brown/Danny Ware years, they weren't used much at all. Then again, at FSU in 1994 and 2000, Dunn and Minor were their 2nd leading receivers...

At Miami, I think the return of Gus Edwards is kind of a big deal, as it gives Richt that big back that he likes to go along with Yearby and Walton. Look for all three to continue to rotate, and I'm guessing we'll see Yearby and Walton catch quite a few passes as well, based on their skills and what Richt can do with them. I think you'll also see the return of a REAL RB screen game, which I've been screaming for for years now.

A brief word on the Fullback position. Richt didn't really use one at FSU (though Greg Jones was a HUGE tailback!) At Georgia, he definitely started incorporating the fullback into the run and pass game. Certainly he used the FB as a lead blocker in I-form sets, but he also loved the FB Belly play in short yardage situations. He was also a big fan of sneaking the FB into the flat or on wheel routes unexpectedly - he did this a lot with Southerland at UGA.


Wide Receiver - At FSU, Richt liked to have at least one "go-to" guy he can depend on - Minnis, Warrick, Andre Cooper... At UGA (pre-AJ Green) Stafford really spread the ball around well, so there's some variation there. Like RB, Richt employs WRs with different skillsets - tall, "jump-ball" types to go with shiftier slot receivers. Conceptually, Richt's "shallow crossing" pass concepts have already been documented. He likes combination routes and hot reads - particularly curl/slant and curl/go routes. He'll pick defenses apart with the 7-yard curl all day long, setting up a curl-and-go later in the game.

At Miami, look for Stacy Coley to have his money year at WR assuming he stays (he should.) Coley on those curl/slants and curl/go routes? Dang. I'd also bet a guy like Cager gets a lot of looks, particularly in the redzone.


Tight End - The emergence of the Tight End in Richt's offense didn't really take place until his time at UGA when he had some great ones in Ben Watson and later Leonard Pope. Pope was actually UGA's leading receiver in 2005. What this tells me is that when Richt has the athletes at TE, he uses them. He loves the TE seam play that we've run so successfully here with Njoku - look for that to continue under Richt.


Offensive Line - This is obviously a tricky one to track. I was able to get hold of the 2004 UGA playbook (free online if you want to take a look!) and what I can say is that he used a mix of Power and Zone concepts at UGA. For example, he ran a lot of zone in front of Moreno who was a great cutback runner, but quite a bit of Power-I as well, especially with Lumpkin and Ware - more North-South backs. Again, I think what this speaks to is that Richt will adapt his OL scheme to fit his RBs skillset, and depending on down, distance, and defense.


Overall - So what can we expect at Miami from Richt's offensive philosophy? Certainly, even after everything I've read, I'm just pissing in the wind like everyone else - for all I know he wants to run the Wing-T or Air Raid. But here's my best guess:

- One back, 3 WR base sets combined with some Power-I and shotgun formations
- Two RBs, particularly in shotgun, and perhaps split wide at times
- TEs mostly lined up close, but perhaps also used as a Y Receiver (but not much H-Back, I think)
- A versatile fullback position - lead blocker, runner, and receiver
- Quite a bit of playaction, though not on every down
- Lots of crossing routes from WRs/TEs/RBs alike
- Some double-moves such as curl-go and post-corner
- TE seams and crosses
- Utilizes all parts of the field in the passing game
- Not a lot of designed QB runs. However, for shotgun-read plays, look for the occasional QB keeper to keep defenses honest (did this with Stafford and Murray a lot)
- A combination of zone and power run schemes depending on the situation - look for us to continue to zone block quite a bit with Yearby/Walton, with Power concepts mixed in for short yardage, goal line, and other situations (perhaps with Edwards)


One final word - as far as offensive philosophy goes, I don't think you could as for a more perfect setup than what Richt has to work with at Miami right here, right now. He has a franchise QB (with more on the way), a stable of effective RBs he can play with, a stud TE in the making, a talented go-to WR and access to the richest collection of skill player talent in the nation. If he can find a way to mask our OL weaknesses, there is no reason why Miami can't at least get to the ACCCG in 2016, if not win it. That's my expectation for next year.

So this is how I spent my morning =P Anyone else who knows more than me care to chime in and help me out?
 

Comments (82)

Okay, so I spent some time last night and early this morning digging through stats, tape, and old playbooks of Georgia and FSU during Richt's tenure. Specifically, I focused on UGA from 2002-2007 and FSU 1994 and 2000 (his first and last years as OC.) I found some trends regarding offensive positions and philosophy that I think may be relevant to his time here going forward.

First, I'll give a breakdown of what I feel Richt looks for at each offensive position and how he utilizes each:

Quarterback - This is the position I spent the most time on, as you might expect. One of the things I really like about Richt the QB Coach is that he doesn't have a "system" quarterback a la Meyer or Mullen. After all, Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke had COMPLETELY different skillsets, yet both won Heisman Trophies under Richt's tutelage (Ward won his when Richt was QB coach, not OC, but the argument stands I think.) Looking at his most successful QBs at Georgia - David Greene, Matt Stafford and Aaron Murray - again, they each possess very different skillsets.

What I can say about his successful quarterbacks is that, beyond the standard things you look for (accuracy, vision, arm strength, etc.), each possessed the ability to extend a play with his feet and find an open man downfield. That was Ward's M.O. of course, but Stafford and even Murray had "escapability." This is where I think Richt will help Brad Kaaya the most here. As DMoney alluded to in a prior post, Kaaya really started to use his feet better both inside and outside the pocket as this season progressed. I think Richt will get the absolute most out of that aspect of his game.


Running Back - For the most part, Richt likes to have two, if not three running backs in the fold. He'll use a "workhorse" (Moreno at UGA, Dunn/Minor at FSU for example), but even those guys won't get run into the ground. Moreno had 248 carries in 2007 - as a reference, Duke Johnson had 242 here in 2014. Richt likes to utilize a variety of running backs in his stable - again, guys with different skillsets. He'll have a "thumper" (Greg Jones), a "slasher" (Dunn/Moreno), etc.

Richt will utilize his RBs in the passing game quite a bit, particularly on crossing and wheel routes as well as screens. At UGA however, Moreno is really the only back in the timeframe I focused on who caught a lot of passes. In the Thomas Brown/Danny Ware years, they weren't used much at all. Then again, at FSU in 1994 and 2000, Dunn and Minor were their 2nd leading receivers...

At Miami, I think the return of Gus Edwards is kind of a big deal, as it gives Richt that big back that he likes to go along with Yearby and Walton. Look for all three to continue to rotate, and I'm guessing we'll see Yearby and Walton catch quite a few passes as well, based on their skills and what Richt can do with them. I think you'll also see the return of a REAL RB screen game, which I've been screaming for for years now.

A brief word on the Fullback position. Richt didn't really use one at FSU (though Greg Jones was a HUGE tailback!) At Georgia, he definitely started incorporating the fullback into the run and pass game. Certainly he used the FB as a lead blocker in I-form sets, but he also loved the FB Belly play in short yardage situations. He was also a big fan of sneaking the FB into the flat or on wheel routes unexpectedly - he did this a lot with Southerland at UGA.


Wide Receiver - At FSU, Richt liked to have at least one "go-to" guy he can depend on - Minnis, Warrick, Andre Cooper... At UGA (pre-AJ Green) Stafford really spread the ball around well, so there's some variation there. Like RB, Richt employs WRs with different skillsets - tall, "jump-ball" types to go with shiftier slot receivers. Conceptually, Richt's "shallow crossing" pass concepts have already been documented. He likes combination routes and hot reads - particularly curl/slant and curl/go routes. He'll pick defenses apart with the 7-yard curl all day long, setting up a curl-and-go later in the game.

At Miami, look for Stacy Coley to have his money year at WR assuming he stays (he should.) Coley on those curl/slants and curl/go routes? Dang. I'd also bet a guy like Cager gets a lot of looks, particularly in the redzone.


Tight End - The emergence of the Tight End in Richt's offense didn't really take place until his time at UGA when he had some great ones in Ben Watson and later Leonard Pope. Pope was actually UGA's leading receiver in 2005. What this tells me is that when Richt has the athletes at TE, he uses them. He loves the TE seam play that we've run so successfully here with Njoku - look for that to continue under Richt.


Offensive Line - This is obviously a tricky one to track. I was able to get hold of the 2004 UGA playbook (free online if you want to take a look!) and what I can say is that he used a mix of Power and Zone concepts at UGA. For example, he ran a lot of zone in front of Moreno who was a great cutback runner, but quite a bit of Power-I as well, especially with Lumpkin and Ware - more North-South backs. Again, I think what this speaks to is that Richt will adapt his OL scheme to fit his RBs skillset, and depending on down, distance, and defense.


Overall - So what can we expect at Miami from Richt's offensive philosophy? Certainly, even after everything I've read, I'm just pissing in the wind like everyone else - for all I know he wants to run the Wing-T or Air Raid. But here's my best guess:

- One back, 3 WR base sets combined with some Power-I and shotgun formations
- Two RBs, particularly in shotgun, and perhaps split wide at times
- TEs mostly lined up close, but perhaps also used as a Y Receiver (but not much H-Back, I think)
- A versatile fullback position - lead blocker, runner, and receiver
- Quite a bit of playaction, though not on every down
- Lots of crossing routes from WRs/TEs/RBs alike
- Some double-moves such as curl-go and post-corner
- TE seams and crosses
- Utilizes all parts of the field in the passing game
- Not a lot of designed QB runs. However, for shotgun-read plays, look for the occasional QB keeper to keep defenses honest (did this with Stafford and Murray a lot)
- A combination of zone and power run schemes depending on the situation - look for us to continue to zone block quite a bit with Yearby/Walton, with Power concepts mixed in for short yardage, goal line, and other situations (perhaps with Edwards)


One final word - as far as offensive philosophy goes, I don't think you could as for a more perfect setup than what Richt has to work with at Miami right here, right now. He has a franchise QB (with more on the way), a stable of effective RBs he can play with, a stud TE in the making, a talented go-to WR and access to the richest collection of skill player talent in the nation. If he can find a way to mask our OL weaknesses, there is no reason why Miami can't at least get to the ACCCG in 2016, if not win it. That's my expectation for next year.

So this is how I spent my morning =P Anyone else who knows more than me care to chime in and help me out?


good work.... how many Cuban coffees did you drink to stay awake? this week has been exhausting thanks for the work!
 
Thanks! Sometimes OCD is a good thing... (looks like I picked the wrong week to quite amphetamines.)
 
I'm not sure I understand. So you're saying he changes his scheme to fit the players he actually has instead of the ones he wishes he had? Sounds weird, but I guess it could work.
 
I like a flexible pro-style offense that gets the TEs heavily involved and the RBs out in the passing game!!!! I am excited.
 
I'm not sure I understand. So you're saying he changes his scheme to fit the players he actually has instead of the ones he wishes he had? Sounds weird, but I guess it could work.

SORCERY!!
 
I'm not sure I understand. So you're saying he changes his scheme to fit the players he actually has instead of the ones he wishes he had? Sounds weird, but I guess it could work.

Anti-Golden and Anti-NoD!
 
Nice post. My thoughts around our OL play was a lot of it was poor conditioning. Our line looked overweight and we seemed to blow leads late in all of our games. Richt will probably do a lot in spring ball to clean that up.
 
Wait, I did not see "bubble screen" mentioned. How the heck are we going to live without those? What is a RB screen? Is that the thing where you throw a short pass to a RUNNING back and have him RUN? Did we ever use those? Do they work? RBs are allowed to catch behind the LOS? I thought only WRs could do that. Someone should have told Coley about them.
 
Wait, I did not see "bubble screen" mentioned. How the heck are we going to live without those? What is a RB screen? Is that the thing where you throw a short pass to a RUNNING back and have him RUN? Did we ever use those? Do they work? RBs are allowed to catch behind the LOS? I thought only WRs could do that. Someone should have told Coley about them.

lol he does run the bubble screen - it's just not 70% of his playbook.
 
Great stuff. Much appreciated Ghost. Sept 2016 can't get here soon enough. I think February will be good for the Canes also.

Go Canes!
 
I'm not sure I understand. So you're saying he changes his scheme to fit the players he actually has instead of the ones he wishes he had? Sounds weird, but I guess it could work.
I was going to post something along these lines. Beat me to it. Probably my favorite passage from the OP:
Richt will adapt his OL scheme to fit his RBs skillset

Either Kehoe is gone or he will be irrelevant here.
 
Wait, I did not see "bubble screen" mentioned. How the heck are we going to live without those? What is a RB screen? Is that the thing where you throw a short pass to a RUNNING back and have him RUN? Did we ever use those? Do they work? RBs are allowed to catch behind the LOS? I thought only WRs could do that. Someone should have told Coley about them.

lol he does run the bubble screen - it's just not 70% of his playbook.

So bubble screens are some sort of contagion you catch in Tally, like lime disease? You stay overnight and can't get over it.
 
Wait, I did not see "bubble screen" mentioned. How the heck are we going to live without those? What is a RB screen? Is that the thing where you throw a short pass to a RUNNING back and have him RUN? Did we ever use those? Do they work? RBs are allowed to catch behind the LOS? I thought only WRs could do that. Someone should have told Coley about them.

lol he does run the bubble screen - it's just not 70% of his playbook.
WR screens are not inherently bad if they are used sparingly and well executed. As you noted, they were neither under Coley or Nix.
 
I like the formation near the goal line in which he has a tail back and two fullbacks split in front of them.
Just power the dang thing into the endzone.
 
Wait, I did not see "bubble screen" mentioned. How the heck are we going to live without those? What is a RB screen? Is that the thing where you throw a short pass to a RUNNING back and have him RUN? Did we ever use those? Do they work? RBs are allowed to catch behind the LOS? I thought only WRs could do that. Someone should have told Coley about them.

lol he does run the bubble screen - it's just not 70% of his playbook.
WR screens are not inherently bad if they are used sparingly and well executed. As you noted, they were neither under Coley or Nix.

Agreed, it has been proven so. It's a building block play of the Baylor offense and I would say they can move the ball. But it has to be part of an overall bigger picture.
 

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