How can we beat the spread?

I love the faster pass rushers on the DL and I hope we play more press and have a better secondary than last year. But a spread team can neutralize this by getting the ball out quick into space. If the QB is throwing under 2 seconds your DL has no chance.

I think the key to beating a spread team is time of possession. Normally I don’t pay much attention to this but against the spread I think it does 2 things.

  1. You eventually wear the the defense out. The spread leads to quick possessions and if you can keep pounding it out you wear the defense out.

  2. A spread offense get frustrated and they will take more chances the fewer times they have the ball.

The blue print for beating the spread was the TT game in El Paso.

The risk to this strategy is you must score after holding the ball and limit turnovers. If you don’t, you shorten the game and can make the game closer than it needs to be, see Toledo.

It will be interesting to see the strategy for LaTech and TCU.

When I saw your question I thought you were talking about the point spread. :smiley:

Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to either question, but I’d sure like us to do both.

I think winning time of possession is great if you are scoring. But Texas Tech had the ball for less than 23 minutes last year and Texas A&M had it for less than 21 minutes, and both won. Time of possession doesn’t really mean much if the other team can score touchdowns in 2 or 3 minutes.

This is a good read from a couple of years ago: … d-offenses

It details why John Chavis’ LSU defenses did so well against the spread.

Matt, thats a great article. Fascinating.

Had the exact same thought

See, a good headline makes both crowds read the article. :slight_smile:

Matt, that’s a great article. I’ve thought for years our secondary and linebackers lacked speed and too many times got caught in open space. Hence, we had to play so far off.

It will be interesting to see if improved technique covers a lack of speed and quickness. It’s basically the same players as last year.

That last sentence is my biggest concern. Our defense wasn’t that good last year. Our offense lost a lot. Clay has said in the practices he saw the defense was doing good against our offense. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a very, very bad thing. That’s why I said wait until after La Tech for my opinion. Have to see them play another team, that’ll try to find weaknesses and exploit them. That’s when we will see what we have

The Lubbock game plan would not have worked if Texas Tech had not handed us three turnovers, which Arkansas turned into 14 points and a game-ending, 14-play, 9 minute possession.

The real difference in that game was that Arkansas was handed two turnovers inside the Tech 15-yard line. Jakeem Grant fumbled an unwise, behind-the-LOS pass by Davis Webb. And Webb threw a bad pass on a third-and-10 that was intercepted by Martrell Spaight and returned 30 yards.

Webb also threw a long interception on fourth and 3 in the fourth quarter, instead of trying to just get a first down.

Turning two turnovers into scores enabled Arkansas to get a multi-score lead, and that’s when ball control matters. Last year, it was as though the Hogs were trying to run out the clock even when trailing.

We ran the football 68 times in the 2014 game. The Red Raiders had serious problems because they could not stop the Razorbacks from running the football. Arkansas ran on first down 35 times in that game vs. three passes. Could not have been more obvious we were coming. The best part of Texas Tech’s defense was pass coverage + they were awful against the run, so be obvious, right?

The 2015 game was even shorter, though – Texas Tech had 11 possessions in 2014, eight in 2015. How could that be?

The Hogs had about 4 minutes less possession time last season. The Red Raiders had three long drives in the second half and beat us in second-half time of possession. They had two turnovers in this game, and one set up Arkansas’s first touchdown. The other was like a long punt.

Alex Collins had a good game, stat-wise, but all Arkansas had behind him were RWIII and Duwop Mitchell, who combined for nine carries. The Hogs rushed 43 times, not 68, and even 43 might have been too many given the success rate.

To beat spread offenses, Arkansas can’t simply “want to” run the football and control the clock. It has to score touchdowns. A lot of touchdowns. And the defense has to force turnovers. Probably not going to keep them from moving the ball. Have to force some mistakes.

LongtimeHog you nailed it beautifully. The only thing I would add is that the quick pass is only open when the WR has a cushion. The press coverage is a major way Bama and others have started beating AU and other spread teams.

Press coverage and speed off the edge is the ticket.

We need to do something different than last year. We were the worst defense in the SEC and gave up around 50 points and 600 yards to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas Tech. Our defense was just plain bad.

I watched Florida beat down Ole Miss last year. They had a great defense. They put pressure on Chad Kelly every play and pressed the receivers. They gave him no time to make good decisions, and he made some bad decisions.

Maybe this year we will have a better pass rush and more speed on defense. We should be improved against the spread. How much, we will just have to wait and see.

I do believe this: Go with an aggressive defense pressuring the quarterback and pressing the receivers. Bend and break is a losing proposition. Give em your best shot and accept the results.

The press coverage technique seems to be an important factor. I read one WHS story that referred to differences in how Paul Rhoads taught press coverage. Something about focusing more on footwork vs. trying to make immediate contact at the line of scrimmage. Last year, Arkansas’s DBs tried to check receivers at the line and got run past, or something like that. Now trying to keep the coverage tight off the line, giving the rush time to reach the quarterback. Sounds promising.

I think it’s related to what kind of spread team it is. If it’s a run heavy spread, you slow play the defensive end which was the key to the demise of the Wishbone. Basically a run spread is the same three holes. If the end contains the QB - and this was what Trey was so excellent at, we really missed him last year - really - the offense stalls. If it’s the pass heavy spread, you jam the receivers on the outside and get pressure up the middle with line stunts and blitzes. All this is much easier said than done. Particularly if you’re tired. Shout out to Trey Flowers, the Master of the Angles. You could see the QB thinking, “No, he’s got that one. No, he’s got that one. No he’s got that one.” and then it was too late.

LSU might have been able to handle spread teams okay but they sure as hell haven’t been able to handle strong running teams. It’s a give and take. If you build to stop the spread, you’ll probably struggle against the run. And if you build to stop the run, you will probably struggle against the spread. Very few teams can do both. Alabama has probably done both as well as anyone and I always think they have a solid defense. I don’t give 2 craps how many yards a team gets on us if the final outcome is a WIN.

For us to start to challenge in the west we have to be able to do both …it takes time to recruit and build a D that can

We finally got the offense untracked last year but the D struggled and at some point your D has to win a game or two as well as special teams

It’s frustrating watching our O grind it out with sustained clock eating drives and than turn around and give back the points in 1:00 or 2

I’m hopeful Rhoades has gotten the technique improved and it helps create some TOs

I think LSU’s problem stopping the “run” had been directly correlated to the play of their QB.