Posts Tagged ‘Power Spread’

Before we get fully involved in yet another Bowl Season in College Football, I felt it necessary to inform our 2 loyal readers (Kurt, do we have that many yet?) on where PS.net has been and where its headed for the future. (No, we are not headed off a steep slope and into oblivion!)

It may seem that we are driving a car in a fog in the middle of the night and forgot to turn on the headlights, but be patient loyal fans, for there is more to come – a lot more.

Truth be told I am a professional Tennis writer also and I am trying to develop a professional Tennis Site for the new year. This has cut into my time for Football more than I would have liked. But I also have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes (A LOT! – ask Kurt) and will be implementing a lot of this work into the site during the following year in what will really be our first LEGIT season of College Football in 2012. We will continue experimenting and working behind the scenes during the CBasketball season so expect some fun stuff – especially as we get closer to March Madness.

But the main thrust of this site is the Changing Face of American Football and in line with this theme there will be some real changes to the site – from the home page design to all the categories and sub-categories. We wont stop until we are satisfied with what we believe is a suitable product for mine and Kurt’s grandiose ideas! We will also make the site more conducive to quicker posts, which will mean much more material along with more timely material. Eventually we will work in some “live” minute to minute action with the NYC Underground becoming totally immersed in the College Scene around the city.

Lastly, I have been working on a full “connect the dots” History of Spread offenses and where they actually started and how the Power Spread came to be. In fact, 2 weeks ago I worked 24/7 for a week straight accumulating information to add to what I already knew on the details of how it all began in the 50s(for the most part), grew in the 60s, exploded in the 70s/80s, solidified in the 90s and grew again from a passing spread to power spread in the 00s. It will take weeks and months to share all this info and I will slowly be leaving posts on the site – especially once the categories are more organized to enable quick access to the information.

For now, Kurt and I will share the Bowl Season with our excited reader(s) and work hard at producing a product for next season that we can all share in and learn a little, live a little and most of all, HAVE FUN with the great sport of Football!

-Drew

I was cleaning up the mess from last week and came across this interview with Kragthorpe in Nov,2003 about his first QB at Tulsa, James Kilian – a mobile QB that Kragthorpe structured his offense around.

In modern football, with the speed and athleticism of the defenses out there today you have to have a guy who can make some plays with his feet and James can do that as evidenced with the runs he made the other night. What it does for us offensively is that it allows taking advantage of his abilities and making people defend the quarterback. If the guy is just a pure pocket passer without the threat of running the football whether it is a little speed option, whether it is a zone read play, whether it’s a quarterback draw, or whether it’s throwing the ball back to the quarterback like we have done on a couple of occasions, then you have become a little bit easier to defend. So, I think that James and his abilities make it tougher on defenses in terms of preparation for our entire offense and then you know.

Before that he was a BYU boy (his dad a coach on the staff), but was thrown into the Texas A&M option offense, which the head coach wanted him to change to the “west coast” style byu offense. Then after Tulsa he inherited the complicated (both scheme wise and off the field issues) Petrino Louisville team. Then back to A&M under west coast Sherman, who had to give in to doing some power spread due to injuries and ineffective passing from the QB.

Now he’s basically went backwards with Old School College/Pro set Les Miles. Miles was actually a good OC himself – BUT THAT WAS IN THE 90s!! He wont progress. But Krags just does what the boss tells him – no really unique stye. But there’s no doubt that Tulsa was by far his best Offense – power spread!

I just cant help but wonder – if he had been paired with the next OC at Tulsa – Gus Malzahn. Brilliant QB mind with a brilliant Spread mind and Herb Hand as Oline coach bringing ideas from Rich Rodriguez’s PS at West Virginia. I venture to say that as great as the Malzahn Tulsa offenses were, they may have been better! Even if Meyer hired him as a QBs coach for OSU – I would love that. He has parkinson’s , but he is still a big part of LSU’s offense. He would help out young Tom Herman, an up and coming talent himself, but who has the job of QB coach along with OC. Of course, I have full faith in what Meyer’s doing at OSU and his moves so far have been practically perfect, imo.

Kragthorpe is a great qb coach – a good play caller and game planner – he has proven all of this everywhere he’s been. Even at Louisville, Brian Brohm had a HUGE senior season in Krag’s first year. This was the one place where Kragthorpe’s incredible flexibility got in the way as he tried to mesh his his less complicated BYU system with a very complicated NFL style Petrino passing game. In this one case a little bit of hard headedness may have paid off – trash the Petrino system after Brohm graduated and start new. But it was much more complicated than that. And with all the off the field issues there really was no hope.

Maybe if he can keep the Parkinson’s at bay we will yet see some more surprises by this coach who shocked the world at Tulsa a decade ago. But it wont be with Mile’s old school schemes. It will be with one of the multitude of brilliant coaches out there today experimenting with the POWER SPREAD!

-Drew

This is a guy I was studying back in 2008 when I was learning why Florida wiped out  a much more talented (and yes speedier) OSU team in Jan of 2007.  I also studied all the recruiting, talent and coaches in the SEC in 2008/2009 and quickly found out the wins over the Big 10 were not matters of talent and speed,  but coaches and schemes.  There’s a reason for the SEC having the highest paid assistants.

The Urban Meyer Schemes and Way changing OSU forever more – a foray into the future of the ever changing face of American Football!

Back to the Future – Shotgun Football (A 100 year full circle starting early last century)

OSU’s failure to understand the full implications of the Spread and the BALANCE of the PS

The morphing of the Passing Spread into the Power Spread, seen as the illusionary death of the Spread Offense in College Football

A True Power SpreadThe Florida Gator/Urban Meyer Offense

Urban Meyer – more than just Offensive Schemes  He has learned from a lot of coaches – yes, even the Power Spread.  And he was a great Special Teams coach before anything else.  He has always delegated well, recruited well and paid attention to all the details required to produce top teams.  In fact, he has a lot in common with a former great coach here at OSU named Jim Tressel.  And like Tressel he tended to take on too much and not let his highly paid assistants take over when needed.

Here’s a scary thought – as good as Meyer was, he may be better now. He has made mistakes in the past – even mistakenly moving away from his own gem of an offense!  He has the experience of years now.   And if there was one element as a Head Coach that a Nick Saban had over Meyer it was the ability to let his assistants do their job and not give into the obsessional need to take over ever phase of the team.  Meyer says he has learned from his time off – I BELIEVE HIM – expect this detailed, smart, open minded coach to be a Saban like delegator making him the Coach of the Year for 2012!

-Drew

Kurt to Drew:

Read the link.  Skip to last bullet point if you wish.  Meyer has maintained a relationship with Coach Stud apparently…

Drew to Kurt:

I said it before and I will say it again – Miles is holding back Studs, just like he would have done with Krags and he did with Crowton.  With more control, Crowton would have most likely  ran more intricate passing spreads , but with only a little Power Spread mixed in – but at least he would have gotten rid of a lot of the once successful, but now outdated two back stuff and veer option football that Miles ran back as an OC at Oklahoma St in the 90s .  Krags would have also been more about the passing spread, but with a little more PS mixed in and staying more with one back sets.   Studs = PS ALL THE WAY, as he comes directly from the Urban Meyer lineage at Bowling Green.  
I know he’s an OL coach  and that could be a problem – but like I said – I keep an open mind –  he’s an individual and NO ONE has free reign to work the PS or any Spread at LSU with Miles in charge.
I tell you this I like some of the stuff I have seen from LSU’s scheming and play calling this year -but then all of a sudden it sucks again.  I know that Krag supposedly still has influence , but I cant help but think that Studs is working some good stuff into the LSU offense this year, but  as always, Mile’s insists at sticking with what “he knows” over and over and over again.  Mile’s is very successful in many aspects of being a Head Coach, from recruiting to motivation, but he’s not the up and coming offensive mind that he seemed to be in the 90s with Oklahoma State.  If there’s been one and possibly his only flaw at LSU its in his lack of any real focus on offense and his inability to forge his old school concepts on offense with what is happening today.
Put it this way – Meyer/Studs or Tressel/Bolshit – to run an offense?  Remember that a former Meyer protege at Florida, Stan Drayton, is already our WRS coach! He hails from Allegheny College in my area of Western PA and where my cousin went to school and played Hockey!
ONE REQUEST TO URBANPlease keep Fickell -who was turning into a heckuva Defensive Coordinator before the whole tattoo mess!
~Drew

SEE THIS:

This is what LSU needs to be doing with Jordan Jefferson to win the game —– POWER SPREAD —-  with the QB as a dual threat  —-  and this is the main reason I feel Alabama wins a defensive struggle.  Nick Saban’s Defense will not have trouble with the multiple Cluster of schemes that LSU runs.  And Les Miles will again do just enough to cost his team a crucial win.

BREAK DOWN:

OFFENSE – Alabama lost the big 3 at QB, RB and WR, but McCarron is a bigger recruit and talent than was McElroy and just lacks experience, Richardson is a MUCH bigger recruit than Ingram and an absolute monster and while those no way to replace Julio Jones, Haze and Hanks are fine in the multiple offenses skillfully handled by OC, Jim McElwain.  Plus, according to Phil Steele, Alabama has its “most exp’d OL in 3Y.”  Counting Richardson as a returning starter (since he’s a Heisman Candidate), Alabama has 8 starters returning on offense.  

LSU also has 8 starters returning on offense, but has had a switch at QB and OC this year as star QB recruit, Jordan Jefferson, found himself in a world of trouble in the offseason and former starter Jarrett Lee has seen most of the playing time.  The transition has been smooth as LSU returned 9 out of 10 Offensive Lineman, 2 starters at WR and their usual plethora of RB talent.  The big change is really at OC, where Gary Crowton never saw eye to eye with Miles and was supposed to be replaced with Spread master, Steve Kragthorpe, but he had to step down due to Parkinson’s.  Out went any real chance at consistent Power Spread with talented Jefferson as Miles is a former successful OC himself, but prefers to cling tightly to the old stand by schemes, only giving over slightly to the PS, because of Jefferson’s great running ability at QB.  With Pro Sets and some spread passing with Lee , this is easy pickings for Saban – the master at defending the passing spread. And Pro Sets are easy for any decent DC.

DEFENSE – Simple – 2 great Defenses and defensive minds. Saban is recognized as a defensive genius and Kirby Smart (DC) is his protege. John Chavis had as much to do with Tennessee’s great success in the last two decades as their head coach,  Phillip Fulmer.  His small, but speedy aggressive defenses were often overshadowed by the likes of Petyon Manning and other offensive stars.  He came to a great situation at LSU as they also use small, but speedy Linebackers and with Miles great recruiting and LSU’s traditions can actually get Chavis more talent than he even had to work with at Tennessee.  This year, according to Phil Steele, this is the most experienced LSU DL in years after several years of graduation and decline. Unfortunately, LSU lost possibly its greatest CB ever in Patrick Peterson (#1 DC ARIZ), but have 3 of 4 excellent starters back in the secondary.  With a total of 7 returning starters, LSU has had a top 3 defense all year long.

Unfortunately for LSU, Alabama has 10 starters back and has been the #1 defense all year!  With only one graduated starter on defense replaced by top notch JUCO DL, Jesse Williams, this defense is formidable and possibly better than the 2009 version. As good as LSU is on D this year, without Peterson, you have to give the nod to Alabama.

SPECIAL TEAMS – Always a staple of the detail oriented Saban teams – this year could be special as all the STeams performers are returning!  Again, LSU is hurt more by graduation as they lose a lot from their #2 ranked STeams of 2010. Miles surprisingly has had many good special teams during his head coaching career – not as much due to his attention to detail as with Saban, but more due to his all out aggressive nature and risk/reward mentality that permeates his teams.

COACHING – ALABAMA HANDS DOWN. Not necessarily because Saban is so great (overrated?) or Miles is so bad (underrated?), but because of 2 other factors

1 – Continuity – Two great DCs, but while I wouldnt call McElwain of Alabama a great OC, he’s solid, works well with Saban, and has been there a while. The OC at LSU is their OL coach under Miles and Crowton, Greg Studrawa. He also served as OL coach under Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen at Bowling Green, before being promoted to OC when Meyer left.  As OC he continued the success of  the Power Spread under Mullen and with Omar Jacobs as his QB.  I cant imagine what a PS guy like Studrawa must have felt being stuck in between Crowton’s passing spreads and Mile’s more conventional 2 back offenses. Its hard to know what Miles is thinking as Kragthorpe is a Spread guy as is Studrawa, but the problems with Jefferson changed whatever ideas any of these men might have had for LSU this past Spring.  A lot of potential with Studrawa, but a mess compared to Alabama’s solid situation and still not enough POWER SPREAD!

2 – DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS – While Miles is a great recruiter (possibly better than Saban, imo!), he doesnt adhere to the details that Saban does – almost no one does. He also doesnt have the organization that Saban promotes – again, almost no one does.   AND Miles will tend to take crazy risks during big games.  All these factors have lead to big losses in the past for Miles, where Saban probably wins the same type of game. Even the great LSU team of 2007 almost blew it with much disorganization, lack of detail  and crazy risk taking throughout the whole season!

BOTTOM LINE – Alabama has  lost a great leader at QB and a great WR (they replaced their Heisman RB with the same quality). LSU lost a great CB, dang good LB and had all kinds of problems this summer with their multi-talented QB.  Plus, more than anything, the OC situation is still shaky.  The losses are pretty even.

But the overall experience is on Alabama’s side.  Especially on Defense (slight edge) and Special Teams (Big Edge). Even if you give LSU the edge on offense – its only slight. Add in the coaching edge and  Home Field advantage for the Tide, plus Mile’s penchant for blowing big games and this is just too many obstacles for LSU and Alabama should win a great defensive battle

ONE CHANCE FOR LSU? – I will finish how I started:

POWER SPREAD WITH JEFFERSON (like OSU needed to do with this guy below!)

BUT WILL MILES FINALLY CATCH ON AND LET JEFFERSON AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, OC STUDWARA , LOOSE!  

-Drew

NEBRASKA 34  The Former OHIO STATE University 27

DICK
“Hey Tom, did you see that Nebraska , Ohio State game  –  what was that??   That Bowserhead guy really SUCKS! It was crazy – that Brandon Miller kid is kickin some ass – showing off all this talent everyone’s talking about – gets hurt – in comes Bozehead and they cant get anymore points. Suddenly, Martini catches fire and that’s the game – no way the bucks lose that game if Miller doesnt get hurt!” 


TOM
“Yeah – I think you mean Martinez – but he’s so inconsistent – young kids – takes them forever to get the fundamentals. Plus, he’s one of them there runnin qbs – cant really pass – all that gimmiky fake hand off stuff – like we’re back in the 1920s or somethin. That shit would never work in the NFL!  But , yeah that Bowsermen guy really sucks – whats he doing on Ohio State – wasnt he that bartender we had at that place with all those hot chicks at last year’ company party,  hoohahahahaha!”


DICK
HAHAHAHOOHOHHAHA.. UGH.UH….choke/ gag, cough up a huge amount of morning flem and uses his coffee cup as a sewer grate to spit in


TOM
“Jesus, are you ok?… Like Ive always said – ITS ALL ABOUT THE QB – Its how its always been – thats why the NFL pays their QBs so much – the first half was Miller time and the 2nd half was Martini ..time..?”


DICK
“Yep, no doubt about it – the QB runs the show- if that damn Martini kid would grow up Nebraska will have a shot at the BCS this year……. Whoa , Damn!…  who’s the hot new temp! weeowww!”


I hate to say it, but I wouldnt be surprised to hear a conversation like this amongst our Financial Elite in the Wall Street District of NYC.  It would be no different than what we would hear throughout the rest of the country – from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Atlanta to Texas, Nebraska, Montana or anywhere in CA!  Its always been the same – since Ive been a kid anyway – all about the talent – all about the stars – and #1, all about the QB.  But I have always disagreed with this theory.  When I was a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, I always felt everyone gave Terry Bradshaw wayyy too much credit for the Pittsburgh Steelers 4 Super Bowls.  And still today, I feel the same and would disagree with most who feel it was all about the QBS in  Saturday Nights Debacle where OSU gave up a 27-6 lead to lose by a TD.

Sure, Miller and Martinez are two youngsters learning their way to potential stardom and Joe Bauserman (hopefully I got the name right!) doesnt have their kind of talent – especially in his feet.  But here’s the truth that I see –  laugh as you might, but Bauserman is not that bad and all 3 of these QBs production or lack thereof was a product of the schemes run on that night. And,  btw, while I agree that Bauserman may be better off at a smaller Division I school, he was once a top recruit from Florida and he has a decent arm and can make some reads IF he’s put in the right position.

In the first half for OSU there were some positive signs.  It looked like maybe Fickell let ex-Urban Meyer assistant, Stan Drayton, put in some of his expertise on the Power Spread as there werent so many different sets and plays and a lot more cohesion. Also, there was more misdirection out of the Power Spread,  using the skills of Miller and his talented tandem of RBs.   This made life easier on young Miller as OSU as THE POWER SPREAD CAN USE THE RUN TO SET UP THE PASS – now THERE’S  a staple that has always worked in Football. Not a focus on a single player (QB), but a design on offense that has always worked – only now it can be down out of the Spread – not pass first Spread, but run first Spread philosophy.

And that’s where Nebraska got in trouble in the 1st half.  I know that Kurt said below that Pellini has said he wants to run out of the Spread and the blame last year in Nebraska’s abandonment of the Power Spread lies with their former Offensive Coordinator, but Pellini’s Offense is doing the same stupid schemes this year with the RBs Coach, Beck, promoted as the new OC – Pellini’s the one in control.  It was nice of Beck to admit mistakes during the Wisconsin game, but they happened agains against OSU.   I really dont think he or Pellini really understand the Power Spread – or even know that’s what they are running.  How could any coach that understands the benefit of a great running QB in the Power Spread continue to use the Pro Set or I Formation for more than a handful of plays a game??  THIS is the main reason Ohio State didnt win any National Titles with Terrele Pryor.

Then, to start the 2nd half, Nebraska comes out in the Pro Set again!!!  Down 20-6 and a 2 RB, running QB under center – ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!??  As an Ohio State Fan I was so happy that we arent the only  Offensively Challenged minds in College Football.  This year has gotten so bad that Im reduced to rooting for other team’s ineptitude in an effort to get a victory!  But, alas – it was too good to be true.  But not until after Ohio State proved even more brainless in coming out in the 2nd Half in the I Formation with power runs up the left and right guard on almost EVERY 1ST DOWN PLAY and many 2nd downs. HORRIBLE SCHEME – HORRIBLE OFFENSIVE GAME MANAGEMENT!  As my good OSU buddy Jimmy was yelling at me that we had a big lead and should play it safe – I SAID “THAT’S NOT THE GAME OF FOOTBALL ANYMORE!”  With all the talent on the field today and with some of the brilliant schemes going on – mostly out of the Power Spread Concept – NO LEAD IS SAFE!  To OSU’s credit and I think to the credit of Luke Fickell to try and stay aggressive – we went back to the Power Spread and that’s when we  moved the ball and got another TD.  But after that there was more I Formation junk and then the INJURY>  then almost a total shutdown with Bauserman.

Finally, for Nebraska, after the turnover, Pellini went to the Power Spread and  lo and behold , IT WORKED! And I thought to myself with the score now 27-13 is he going to try it again?  Or will he think its smart to go the way of the “brilliant” NFL with either a Pro Set , Pro Passing Spread or West Coast offense – basically all the NFL really does.  But to my dismay he ran Power Spread after Power Spread scheme and I knew then we wouldnt be able to stop Martinez. Only a handful of Defensive Coaches are even close to slowing down the Power Spread right now – lead by Charlie Strong at Louisville – but NO ONE CAN STOP IT – if its executed to even a minimum degree of efficiency. And with Fickell unable to concentrate on just Defense anymore, we are seeing the inept efforts of Heacock, who NEVER knew how to stop an offense with a running QB in a misdirection Read Option Spread.

Now, where does Bauserman fit into all of this – he’s just a sucky QB,  right?? Case Closed. NO- CASE RE OPENED!  Bauserman may not be a Heisman Candidate, but he’s good enough.  Again, the field needs to be Spread to help him out – WHY you ask – because he’s too damn short to be behind center or doing silly NFL play action out of the 2 back set – the days of Pat Haden are over!  What do you do with a small , but smart QB , with some arm strength on shorter passes and a decent release – spread the field and whip short passes around.  Even some Read Option – or even some Pistol.  In fact, Nebraska, WHEN they do use the Power Spread , has a real nice package of Zone Read Pistol and a 3 RB look that resembles the  Single Wing Hybrid with which Urban Meyer experimented. Bauserman would be fine in this package.  But I cant expect that from the cluster mess that we have going on. But at least spread the field and do some quick passes – sort of like Purdue’s Joe Tiller offense or the Air Raid of Leach’s Texas Tech attack.  Our lone TD against MSU was from the spread.


Now, you can see even from highlights of the last drive that it wasnt all good with Bauserman in the shotgun passing spread – but its our best chance – and he made some nice throws even though MSU had their ears pinned back, knowing we had to throw, and were really coming after Bauserman.

Would we have won with Bauserman in the Spread??  Probably not once Nebraska went to and stayed in the Power Spread.  BUT if we had run the Power Spread at the start of the 2nd half and kept applying the pressure, we may have been up 34-6 or more!   THEN by continuing to run the spread we may have held the ball longer with short completions and maybe Nebraska runs out of time – or starts to throw too much and gets one last interception.  This game WAS NOT ABOUT THE QBS – and it wasnt JUST about just passing or running the ball as Steven Sipple said (see Kurt’s Entry on Week 5) – IT WAS ALL ABOUT SCHEMES – IN PARTICULAR THE POWER SPREAD.  Ohio State executed it in the first half and Nebraska had an even better Power Spread package at the end.

Over on powerspread.net  I will eventually research further into what the heck’s going on with Bo Pellini – who made such a big splash as a head coach, but is now being questioned not only for his Offense’s flaws, but amazingly, also for his Defense’s issues.

Oh and dont worry – we will be hearing more from our Wall Street friends, Tom & Dick – The Football Experts – later in the year …. Harry may even chime in with some thoughtful insights of his own!

~Drew

  
In the 2nd half I’ll have an identity crisis
Tim Beck replaced Shawn Watson as offensive coordinator in the off-season after the Husker offense’s production seemingly fell off of a cliff in the second half of the previous two seasons. Saturday night against Wisconsin in Nebraska’s long anticipated debut in the Big Ten Beck seemed to fall into the same trap Watson did: abandoning their ground attack and relying on Martinez’s arm.
With Watson it seemed that he tended to fall back into his West Coast Offensive roots when things would go awry. With Beck, to be fair, it’s still too early to tell. It seemed that when he took over for Watson it was because Pelini wanted an offense truly oriented around The Power Spread which Watson was not producing. So why Beck part way through Saturday night’s game dialed up pass after pass, without even much play-action, is a mystery. What is encouraging though is that Beck knows Nebraska is a spread-to-run team and they will have to get back to that.
I like the way you naked bootleg
2011 is something of an experiment for the Badgers: give offensive coordinator Paul Chryst a qb that can run but yet who possesses all of the same qualities as any of Wisconsin’s previous steady pocket-passer types, along with their gargantuan offensive line and stable of bruising running backs and you have one scary offense.
For Paul Chryst landing Russell Wilson might turn out to be on parallel to what Cam Newton was for Gus Malzahn.  Both Chryst and Malzahn are excellent coaches with great schemes, but those players were like gifting them video game-like athletes capable of seemingly anything. While it’s well documented that Bielema likes Wisconsin to have a smash-mouth offense, what doesn’t get enough attention is the subtle mis-directional cues that Chryst throws at opposing defenses. Against Ohio State last year it was variation of Jet Sweeps pump fakes to wide receivers in the flats which kept the Buckeye defense on their heels. In the past Chryst has also been one to catch defenses off-guard by using the Naked Bootleg, with Russell Wilson this is more lethal for Chryst than ever before. Despite whatever Bret Bielema says about his team’s offense, which seems to only discredit the ingeniousness of his offensive coordinator, there’s much more to it than just three yards and a cloud of dust.
~Kurt