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View Full Version : The Spread Option revisited (rant)


Jericho@SC
01-15-2008, 04:10 AM
Earlier last August I started a thread poll asking everyone whether they preferred a pro style attack vs. a spread option attack for their college team. I think slightly more people said that they preferred pro style.

But I think this year's BCS bowls have shown more and more, that in CFB you need the spread option to win a national championship.

Look at the last few BCS bowls and championships. Vince Young and Texas. White and West Virginia. Leak/Tebow and Florida. Flynn/Perriloux and LSU.

It just seems that a Spread Option offense that is talented enough and well put together (good enough O-line, good enough receivers, rb, and a QB that can run and pass adequately) is just too much to ask even the best college defenses nowadays to defend.

I look at USC's defense this year, which was arguably the best defense in the country, and I saw them struggle against Dennis Dixon and Oregon.

Most college defenders just aren't fast enough or good enough tacklers to make plays in space the way the spread demands you to do.

Most people will say that it's all about recruiting. Whoever has the best athletes will most likely win. But I'm starting to feel like the Spread Option, at its best, just has much more upside than a Pro-style offense at its best.

The Spread Option provides so much more looks. you can run straightforward smashmouth, you can run laterally, you can fake pitches, you can pull reverses, and then you can pass.

The spread option is also easier to teach and develop. A QB in the pro style offense reaches his peak in a minimum of 3 years under the system while a Spread Option QB doesn't have to learn as much how to make reads or call audibles to effectively run a spread.

I picture dual threats like Terrelle Pryor becoming more and more common in the college game, and a sort of de-emphasis on refined pocket passing happening (a little)

But I don't think it will ever be the high in demand in the NFL, where passing is just too sophisticated.

Iamcanadian
01-15-2008, 08:17 AM
First, LSU barely ran the spread in the NCG. They ran a pro set with Flynn at QB.
The spread is a good offense no doubt about it but we won't know for a couple of years just how good it is. For the longest time only a few colleges played the spread offense and it was extremely difficult for teams to adjust to it when they just didn't see it a lot. As it becomes more popular, DC's will learn how to defend against it and its effectiveness will be brought under control. The WCO which was invented by Bill Walsh in the pros and was unstoppable but as more and more teams started using it, DC's soon learned how to defense it. Today more and more teams are abandoning it for another offense because defensive coaches are too used to seeing it and are now prepared to defend against it. The same will happen to the spread offense. When you only see an offense once a season, teams will always have trouble adjusting but when it reaches the stage where you see it all the time, coaches will learn quickly how to defend it.
A HC must always be prepared to switch offenses when teams catch up to the spread. It will be effective for 3 or 4 more seasons but when the defensive coaches get to play against it a lot, its effectiveness will be lost.
The key to a successful offense or defense is to have one that few teams employ, that way offensive and defensive coordinators will always have trouble with it. Simply saying one offense or defense is the best without quantifying it just isn't true. It is the spread's turn to shine but it won't last forever.

critesy
01-15-2008, 04:04 PM
all i know is auburn is thinking of going to the spread for next season with kodi burns, that'll be hella tight as it looked pretty well in the bowl game. they only had a weeks practice at that as well.

Michigan
01-15-2008, 04:21 PM
i'll buy the spread, but i'm not sold on the spread option...

jballa838
01-15-2008, 04:32 PM
i'll buy the spread, but i'm not sold on the spread option...
Spread Option is one of the most effective ways to get athletes out in space. Sounds like someone doesnt like the hiring of Rich Rod.
The Spread Option relies on making good reads and putting speed in space. The days of power football in collegiate football are over, because speed is the most important of all the elements of non-qb skill players. Players with speed are able to make a bigger impact faster (no pun intended) then ever before. If you look at freshman contributions, you will notice that all of them are incredibly fast, and speed is starting to dominate the game. Teams like Notre Dame that are historically slow are on the decline, and teams like WVU, Missou, Kansas are all pulling in less "talent" than Notre Dame's #1 recruiting classes. One thing they recruit is ATHLETES. Noel Devine and Jeremy Macklin were both huge contributers and are both freshman. Just looking across the board offensively, you now see why the teams that consistantly win do just that, win. QBs who are a threat to run**,RBs that could bust a big play at anytime, recievers that S T R E T C H the field and all abundant in the teams that win.

**= Not Immobile. Somewhat able to make a play with their feet if needed

Tampa 2 4 life
01-15-2008, 04:35 PM
Spread Option is one of the most effective ways to get athletes out in space. Sounds like someone doesnt like the hiring of Rich Rod.
The Spread Option relies on making good reads and putting speed in space. The days of power football in collegiate football are over, because speed is the most important of all the elements of non-qb skill players. Players with speed are able to make a bigger impact faster (no pun intended) then ever before. If you look at freshman contributions, you will notice that all of them are incredibly fast, and speed is starting to dominate the game. Teams like Notre Dame that are historically slow are on the decline, and teams like WVU, Missou, Kansas are all pulling in less "talent" than Notre Dame's #1 recruiting classes. One thing they recruit is ATHLETES. Noel Devine and Jeremy Macklin were both huge contributers and are both freshman. Just looking across the board offensively, you now see why the teams that consistantly win do just that, win. QBs who are a threat to run**,RBs that could bust a big play at anytime, recievers that S T R E T C H the field and all abundant in the teams that win.

**= Not Immobile. Somewhat able to make a play with their feet if needed

For more information on the spread option, please refer to: WVU Vs. Pitt, WVU at USF, USF at WVU(the year before.)

jballa838
01-15-2008, 04:45 PM
For more information on the spread option, please refer to: WVU Vs. Pitt, WVU at USF, USF at WVU(the year before.)
for more information on the Pro Style offense please refer to:
Stanford vs. USC. Michigan vs. Appalachian State, WVU vs. Oklahoma. . .

see how good your arguement is? It really means nothing that WVU lost by an average of 6 points this season.
They lost 4 games the past 2 years by:
A Combined total of 27
An average of around 6.

kwilk103
01-15-2008, 05:32 PM
it works well against inferior opponents even if you run the same plays every down (qb read, bubble screen)

it doesnt work well when the opponents are decent and you run the same plays (see usf, pitt)

but when you mix it up its hard to stop (see fiesta bowl)

jballa838
01-15-2008, 05:56 PM
it works well against inferior opponents even if you run the same plays every down (qb read, bubble screen)

it doesnt work well when the opponents are decent and you run the same plays (see usf, pitt)

but when you mix it up its hard to stop (see fiesta bowl)
yeah, it isnt the most complex offense. It is based on the QB Read and the QB can pull out and run at anytime (Thats what she said:))
Thats why my Pee-Wee team next year is running it. (5th grade. I am O-Coordinator)

kwilk103
01-15-2008, 06:03 PM
if you watched a lot of wvu games, you would know that white and slaton did a lot on their own; a lot of td came from them breaking one on busted plays

however, if you watched the fiesta bowl, when you mix it up---downfield passing---it is very very hard to stop

BBIB
02-05-2008, 08:32 PM
IT's certainly the offense of the future in college football.

People say it's because there aren't enough good athletes in college football.

I disagree. It's difficult to stop vs good athletes as well. When you have a QB who has 4.4 speed, that is fast no matter how good a defense is. And if that QB can make a DE pay for committing too far down on a run play, and can throw the football to keep the defense honest, then it doesn't matter how good of athletes are on the field.

When properly executed, with only 11 defenders on the field it's too difficult to account for those three dimensions of football with the 1)Pass 2)HB/FB Run and 3)QB run


Only with poor execution and playcalling can it really be stopped.

Forenci
02-05-2008, 08:50 PM
I see the spread option fading away eventually. It's fairly popular now, and it will be for some time - but eventually defenses will figure it out. To be honest, all it really takes to beat the spread option is good tackling. Pitt vs. WVU was a superb example of that. My guess is teams will really start to emphasize fundamentals on defense as the spread option becomes more popular. As that's all it really takes to beat it.

I understand why a lot of teams are converting to it. Partially for recruiting reasons, because a lot of high schools run the spread or spread option now. Also, it makes recruiting for teams like WVU, who have trouble luring some recruits to their school due to their location easier. You don't need a good/great passer to be successful with the spread option. Just a decent passer and a QB who can tuck it and turn up field.

etk
02-05-2008, 08:51 PM
Watching Vince Young and Texas absolutely demolish teams with the spread has to win this argument. The margin of error is much smaller with a talented spread rather than a talented pro offense. Texas ran read options and bubble screens to death early on with Vince, and then graduated to a deeper passing attack off PA.

You need the following personnel:

-big, fast QB
-backs with good vision and explosiveness
-receivers that can get open and catch, nothing special
-big linemen

Once again, using VY Texas as the model, you have the dual-threat QB as a runner and dual-threat as a runner/passer. Basically meaning he can be elusive in space on QB keepers or go hard up the middle for solid yardage. The defense has to account for those 2 running styles, the off-tackle run, and the PA pass. No college defense can stop a balanced attack like this. Texas was able to throw deep very effectively off of this offense which was the clincher.

A pro-style attack, even with a talented bunch, requires too many factors to have successful drives and avoid turnovers. You can't just stick to your bread-and-butter because defenses will key against it. There aren't enough complementary plays to fool the defense, just run and PA. The spread option has reverses, options, option passes, etc.

I really don't see any argument. Give Team A an amazing cast of pro-style talents and give Team B a spread formula...Team B will be mjch more consistent.

Another example of spread vs. pro-style is the 18-1 Patriots, compared to say the Chargers. I think people get it even though I didn't go into much detail.

BBIB hit it right on the head. Only poor execution and maybe playcalling can stop a good spread. Poor execution is less likely, however, because teams run the same plays over and over until they are comfortable in them. Florida struggled with execution because they are a young team.

kwilk103
02-05-2008, 08:56 PM
you dont necessarily need big lineman

wvu relys on smaller, quicker lineman

etk
02-05-2008, 08:59 PM
you dont necessarily need big lineman

wvu relys on smaller, quicker lineman

WVU needs smaller linemen. The example I posted was a Texas spread, which requires bigger linemen to pass block on PA, etc. It changes with every style of offense. Texas Tech has massive linemen because they just need to take up space for their shotgun spread.

duckseason
02-05-2008, 09:12 PM
I see the spread option fading away eventually. It's fairly popular now, and it will be for some time - but eventually defenses will figure it out. To be honest, all it really takes to beat the spread option is good tackling. Pitt vs. WVU was a superb example of that. My guess is teams will really start to emphasize fundamentals on defense as the spread option becomes more popular. As that's all it really takes to beat it.

Much easier said than done. That's "all" it takes to beat any scheme. The bottom line is that the spread-option is just more difficult to defend than a more vanilla conventional-type offense. That won't change.

BBIB
02-06-2008, 12:18 AM
I see the spread option fading away eventually. It's fairly popular now, and it will be for some time - but eventually defenses will figure it out. To be honest, all it really takes to beat the spread option is good tackling. Pitt vs. WVU was a superb example of that. My guess is teams will really start to emphasize fundamentals on defense as the spread option becomes more popular. As that's all it really takes to beat it.

I understand why a lot of teams are converting to it. Partially for recruiting reasons, because a lot of high schools run the spread or spread option now. Also, it makes recruiting for teams like WVU, who have trouble luring some recruits to their school due to their location easier. You don't need a good/great passer to be successful with the spread option. Just a decent passer and a QB who can tuck it and turn up field.

Figure it out?

Using your logic a pro style offense shouldn't work with all these years defenses have had to figure it out.

The bottomline is that it's actually more difficult to stop than a pro style offense when you have the right players, make the right calls, and you execute. Instead of worrying about a maximum of 5 skill positions on any given play, there is an added dimension with the QB who has to be accounted for on every play.

The Pitt game is an example of poor execution and playcalling. Not to mention turnovers will kill any offense.

When you have a QB with speed and a passing offense that can keep the defense, there is nothing to "figure out". With only 11 players on the field there are only so many varieties of coverage you can have. When the dual threat abilities of this offense are firing on all cylinders, the defense is simply at the mercy of the offense.

Forenci
02-06-2008, 12:40 AM
Well, that's why the NFL uses a Pro-Style offense. It's based off a balanced attack. It's not like the spread option, which is generally more of a running attack.

jbeans187
02-06-2008, 11:53 PM
I think defenses are starting to realize what they need to do to neutralize the spread option. The defense needs fast linebackers, this years class is full of them, 5 years ago many of these kids would be safties but as the spread is evolving linebackers will too, smaller and faster.

wogitalia
02-08-2008, 12:57 AM
To stop the spread you just need a good solid defense. I think something worth noting is the teams that seem to beat it have good tackling corners, thats a big factor, in fact the spread probably makes corners more important than they otherwise are. They have to cover and then play the run, makes their jobs very tough.

I think that the problem stopping it for a lot of teams is that they lack the speed to do it. Basically the spread allows the offense to get more speed out there, the defense has to counter that, so big linebackers and linemen will struggle against it. You need guys like Ernie Sims at linebacker, the spread will actually help a lot of undersized linebackers make a name for themselves by allowing them to get on the field.

I think another reason that the spread has had so much success, mostly at smaller schools, is because it allows the OC to better take pressure off his line. If you tell a line to block for a drop back guy it is harder than blocking for a guy that can make a player miss, greater margin for error with it. So the spread in many ways allows you to prioritize your recruiting towards skill position guys and succeed with just adequate blockers, obviously the better the line the better the team as always, but you aren't dependent on the line.

BBIB
02-08-2008, 01:25 PM
Well, that's why the NFL uses a Pro-Style offense. It's based off a balanced attack. It's not like the spread option, which is generally more of a running attack.


I wouldn't expect the NFL to use it seeing that it's a relatively new phenomenon and the NFL is very conservative in nature.

It took a while for that league to even go to the pro-style offense that you see today.

Believe it or not, there was a time when passing the ball was taboo in football.

BBIB
02-08-2008, 01:28 PM
I think defenses are starting to realize what they need to do to neutralize the spread option. The defense needs fast linebackers, this years class is full of them, 5 years ago many of these kids would be safties but as the spread is evolving linebackers will too, smaller and faster.

And those smaller/faster LBs can be countered with a punishing back like Jonathan Stewart who can run them over.

It's not so much the speed of the spread offense as it is the misdirection on every single play.

They bite on the RB/FB fake and the QB has an advantageous angle to run on them no matter how fast they are.

They bite on the QB fake and the RB/FB right up the gut.


They try to contain both and usually at that level it leaves someone open in the passing game.


When you truly have a passing threat to keep the defense honest, it's relatively unstoppable when executed properly.


That's the difference between USC vs Oregon and USC vs Illinois.

It's not because Jonathan Stewart > Mendenhall. It's not because Dennis Dixon's speed over Juice Williams. It is because Dennis Dixon had the ability to pass the football which is that 3rd dimension which is unaccounted for when you try to stop the QB run on top of the FB/RB run.

yourfavestoner
02-15-2008, 09:48 AM
The spread option has turned college football into basketball on grass.

someone447
02-18-2008, 06:58 PM
Much easier said than done. That's "all" it takes to beat any scheme. The bottom line is that the spread-option is just more difficult to defend than a more vanilla conventional-type offense. That won't change.

Yes it will. The Wishbone Option dominated for years. Then Pro-Style offenses dominated. Now Spread Option will dominate. A new offense(or possibly even a very old offense) will come around in 10-15 years that will almost completely replace the Spread Option.

D-Coordinators will start to move to the 3-3-5 or 4-2-5 to get more speed on the field. The next offense to take college football by storm will be something in the mold of the Air Coryell. Power running game with lots of deep passes over the top. It won't be for quite a while, but remember, you heard it here first.

someone447
02-18-2008, 07:01 PM
I wouldn't expect the NFL to use it seeing that it's a relatively new phenomenon and the NFL is very conservative in nature.

It took a while for that league to even go to the pro-style offense that you see today.

Believe it or not, there was a time when passing the ball was taboo in football.

That is because the rules didn't favor it. For a long time, you had to be 5 yards or more behind the LOS to even attempt a pass. The ball was much less oblong, and closer to a Rugby ball.

duckseason
02-18-2008, 07:57 PM
Yes it will. The Wishbone Option dominated for years. Then Pro-Style offenses dominated. Now Spread Option will dominate. A new offense(or possibly even a very old offense) will come around in 10-15 years that will almost completely replace the Spread Option.

D-Coordinators will start to move to the 3-3-5 or 4-2-5 to get more speed on the field. The next offense to take college football by storm will be something in the mold of the Air Coryell. Power running game with lots of deep passes over the top. It won't be for quite a while, but remember, you heard it here first.

Reread what I said. You're responding to your imagination rather than my actual post. I didn't say that it would always be the most difficult thing to defend. Just that it would always be more difficult to defend than a more vanilla, conventional-type offense. Of course, this is all dependent on a given teams' personnel, but from a strategic standpoint, the spread-option creates more problems for a defense than your average conventional attack. That won't change. Defenses can adapt all they want, but there will always be more to account for with the spread-option as opposed to any conventional offensive attack.

Innovation will always be a perpetual thing with football. Offenses and defenses will continue to grow on themselves and morph into whatever they may, but my point is that some of those offenses will always be more complex and create more reads and responsibilities for defenses than others.

someone447
02-18-2008, 08:02 PM
Reread what I said. You're responding to your imagination rather than my actual post. I didn't say that it would always be the most difficult thing to defend. Just that it would always be more difficult to defend than a more vanilla, conventional-type offense. Of course, this is all dependent on a given teams' personnel, but from a strategic standpoint, the spread-option creates more problems for a defense than your average conventional attack. That won't change. Defenses can adapt all they want, but there will always be more to account for with the spread-option as opposed to any conventional offensive attack.

Innovation will always be a perpetual thing with football. Offenses and defenses will continue to grow on themselves and morph into whatever they may, but my point is that some of those offenses will always be more complex and create more reads and responsibilities for defenses than others.

Of course a more vanilla offense will be more vanilla than a complicated spread option offense. But isn't that like saying 5 will always be greater than 4?

duckseason
02-18-2008, 08:10 PM
Of course a more vanilla offense will be more vanilla than a complicated spread option offense. But isn't that like saying 5 will always be greater than 4?

Yes, yes it is. It's funny you say that because I almost added in the analogy of how a 4 on 5 power-play in hockey will always be more difficult to defend than a regular 5 on 5. Sure I'm stating the obvious, but that's why I was confused to see you oppose my statement.

I think we're in agreement, but we just misunderstood each other. I agree that the spread-option will eventually fade and something new will inevitably take its place as the next big thing.

someone447
02-18-2008, 08:11 PM
Yes, yes it is. It's funny you say that because I almost added in the analogy of how a 4 on 5 power-play in hockey will always be more difficult to defend than a regular 5 on 5. Sure I'm stating the obvious, but that's why I was confused to see you oppose my statement.

I think we're in agreement, but we just misunderstood each other. I agree that the spread-option will eventually fade and something new will inevitably take its place as the next big thing.

Ya, I thought you meant that it was going to be staying as the dominant offense, not that it will stay more complicated than a basic offense.

etk
02-18-2008, 08:32 PM
Innovation will always be a perpetual thing with football. Offenses and defenses will continue to grow on themselves and morph into whatever they may, but my point is that some of those offenses will always be more complex and create more reads and responsibilities for defenses than others.

Offenses will evolve as the athletes evolve themselves. If there are more 6'6 260 tight ends that run 4.4, we will see teams running more goal line sets because defenses will still have to account for the deep pass. I consider it accomodation over innovation because the athletes dictate what offenses will have success.

This is why it pisses me off that Jon Gruden runs an offense that was designed for QBs with weak arms, receivers that are slow and RBs that aren't a threat to go the distance. It's not the 70s anymore Jon...

duckseason
02-18-2008, 08:42 PM
Offenses will evolve as the athletes evolve themselves. If there are more 6'6 260 tight ends that run 4.4, we will see teams running more goal line sets because defenses will still have to account for the deep pass. I consider it accomodation over innovation because the athletes dictate what offenses will have success.

This is why it pisses me off that Jon Gruden runs an offense that was designed for QBs with weak arms, receivers that are slow and RBs that aren't a threat to go the distance. It's not the 70s anymore Jon...

Well, some coaches will accommodate what athletes fall into their lap, while others will pluck the perfect athletes for their particular scheme. But really, I think both accommodation and innovation play their role to one degree or another with each team. The TE's you speak of would be extremely valuable in a wide variety of schemes.