Posted: January 10, 2012 in All Things Power Spread

For over a month I have been on the Alabama bandwagon because of Saban’s brilliant coaching, schemes (especially on Defense), and the fact that a Les Miles coached team cant go undefeated – can it – with not one “screw up” last second loss the entire year?

Well, when these teams first played I saw some serious coaching flaws that we dont usually see from a Saban led team.  No. 1, the Special Teams were a mess, which completely blew my mind as Saban practically returned hiswhole unit and much of LSU’s Sp Teams were new!   I haven’t heard much talk of Special Teams, but I do think that we cant expect a repeat of a Special Teams blowout by LSU.  For that reason alone I first thought Alabama should win this game in another close contest.

But there’s an even bigger variable in this game – Power Spread!   In the first game I wasted a lot of tweets on my dismay at Mile’s refusal to use Jefferson in PS  schemes. (Tweets  1  2  3  4  5  6  7)   Jefferson became the starter and LSU finally started utilizing more PS in the last month. Consequently, the passing game started to  open up a bit as in the 4 games since their last meeting “Jefferson is averaging 16 pass attempts and is completing 60 percent of his throws on the season.”  Now, make no mistake, this is not the West Virginia or Oregon PS Offense as I would hardly call some of the standard power options and QB draws run by LSU a top notch PS offense. In fact, LSU’s Power Spread, when they run it, is on the low end of innovation – about as low as it gets.   But thankfully at least, Miles has loosened his tight grip some with Kragthorpe(BYU passing spread) and Studwara (PS under Urban Meyer) and actually is trying to spread the field a bit and using Jefferson’s best asset – his legs.

The other innovation going on between to old school head coaches is once again on the LSU side in the form of mass substitution on the defensive side, courtesy of DC, John Chavis.  From Mingo and Johnson up front to Brooks and Simon in the back, LSU can rotate a plethora of fast, top notch recruit subs that basically makes this defense a 22 player unit. In my 3 pronged Definition of the Power Spread I talk about Space. Time and Team.  SPACE is taken care of by the sets/schemes used in Power Spread football.  TIME by the use of the play clock in either the hurry up or mixing it up, which LSU is also finally working with a bit. Finally, TEAM will be the last piece of the puzzle as substitution never seen before in College Football will become more popular as coaches start to explore with the multitude of talent situated behind them on the bench.  Chavis is one of a host of frontrunners on this theory(check out Charlie Strong’s mass sub on D in Louisville and Gus Malzahn’s mass Sub near the goalline in the Auburn’s Bowl Game).

One last variable is my feeling that great coach Saban is starting to “lose the plot” for the first time in his career.  To see some of the bad execution on a more experienced Special Teams group, struggles throughout the year on simple option schemes, and some stagnating schemes on offense that I do not feel are totally the fault of OC Jim McElwain.  Alabama is still very well coached, with the top talent in the nation and some of the better run schemes and play calling – no matter whether they are a PS team or not, but some cracks are starting to appear in Saban’s magnum opus.  Is it getting time to head back to the NFL?


Still its hard for me to;

#1 – change my mind after over a month of feeling strongly about a Bama win and

#2 -go with Les Miles when I have said all year that a Miles coached team always blows at least one game a year with crazy mistakes.

But all Bowl season I have stuck with the PS teams and and with the combination of more PS on offense and mass subs on defense, Im giving the nod to LSU.

Expect Alabama’s recent Championship experience to help.  Also expect better preparation and execution – especially in the Special Teams – even with cracks appearing in the Saban mystique.  But as I said during the first game – LSU wins IF LSU runs PS with Jefferson – and maybe this time Miles stays out of the way just enough to let his good assistants use his great recruiting and get him his first undefeated season.

If not, then this could be the LSU heartbreak I’ve been waiting for all year.


  1. […] at hiding the aggression and bringing it from different directions and looks.  This is what made Nick Saban famous. It’s hard to do with a back seven that still has a lot to learn.  But last week […]

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