I have talked to a lot of good offensive coaches about why you split receivers and why you don’t. Why you put a guy tight in the slot, why you don’t. Why you put a flanker tight and then take him in motion. Why you don’t and why you widen the field. How you use the boundary to your advantage and how you use the field side.
It can be about matchups and angles for blocking, not just pass routes. I expect the Auburn offense to be tough to stop. I expect Briles to move the ball, too. Receivers may not always understand that a split isn’t always to set up a passing play. It might be to set up a sweep or a screen.
I’ve listened to David Lee explain it, Rockey Felker explain it, Dan Enos explain it and Jim Chaney explain it.
I know Kendal Briles is extremely competent. I also know that Chad Morris has concepts that work. I saw his offense cut up the Alabama defense with Ty Storey two years ago. No one else was doing that.
If this offensive line gets it together, Kendal Briles will do well with the skill players that he has on hand if the first group stays healthy. This receiver group lacks depth. That’s not me saying it. It’s Kendal saying it.
The main thing this unit has to do is stretch the field. It did not the last two years. Was it because the receivers were not split wide enough? I don’t think that’s what caused it. I think it was inexperience and lack of a cohesive receiver corps. Too many were learning on the fly and there was never solid protection to throw deep.
I saw little protection. I also saw Nick Starkel struggle with mechanics. Was that just bad mechanics or was it not getting any confidence because of lack of protection.
The key game last year was Kentucky. Receivers were open. The lack of offensive production came because of inaccurate throws by Starkel in the first three quarters. Hicks got them going, then there were two protection busts in what could have been the winning drive.
After that, it was all bad on both sides of the ball.
Right now, these players believe in their coaches. They think their coaches believe in them. That’s the most important aspect of what is happening now. Sam Pittman and his staff have encouraged them and made them believe two things: 1, they are better than they have played recently. 2, they will be better coached. I think that’s about half the battle to think you can do it. I like that a lot.
The most important aspect of the Briles offense is how quickly they get from one play to the next. They are going to try to go faster. Can they? Will they be able to get their communication down and move quickly?
To me that was the ultimate downer of the last two years, that the team did not play fast between plays. Was that intentional because of a poor defense? Was it just poor communication from the sideline to the field? It may have been a combination of both.