Posts Tagged ‘Steve Kragthorpe’

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

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