Sea change time for spread?

About 50 years ago the wishbone looked unstoppable. But eventually, coaches figured out how to stop it, and now it’s largely an interesting memory. But, for a while, it was incredible to watch. Until defenses solved it.

Flash forward to the spread. Or tempo. Or whatever you want to call it. It has been successful enough that even mighty Alabama had to adjust. It became a giant killer.

Now look at how bad LSU looked trying to stop MSU with a ‘standard’ defense using mainly man to man on the back side. Compare that to a moderately talented Arkansas defense getting pressure with 3 and dropping 8. They have been magnificently coached up and played with discipline.

Other teams will be studying the film to see what Arkansas did. And some of those teams will be 3 deep in 4 and 5 star players. The liabilities of the spread/tempo offense might be exposed and exploited.

I wonder if teams might have to eventually move back to more of a pro type offense with the QB going back to being under center to take snaps? Some aspects might be here to stay, but it will interesting to see what happens in the future.

The answer to a defense that drops eight is to run the ball. That’s what Ole Miss did against Alabama, but didn’t do well against Arkansas, especially in the red zone. Of course, the answer is a good tackling defense that swarms. That works against most offenses. Coach tackling technique and insist that it’s done well. And, figure out tendencies. Defenses can still be successful. Man-to-man is tougher to play well for a DB. The turn their back to the quarterback and don’t see the ball. Clearly, you can tell that the Arkansas DBs see the ball breaking out of zone. But, you better tackle well because you are going to give up some stuff underneath if a team stays patient.

Earlier in the year I had us at 2.9 wins using a weighted average probability.(if I count auburn we are there already). I thought we would struggle against teams that try to mash us. We will find out in 2 weeks. A&M oline is big and if they’re smart (AggieOxymoron I know), they will pound it, as will Tenn, Florida and Bama. We are clearly good at playing smart defensively. It will be interesting to see if we can somehow play “big”.

One thing playing various types of zones is that rolling into different kinds of zone POST SNAP really diminishes the “turn to coach and let him tell me where to go with the ball.” You are really forcing QB’s to read what’s happening, real time. Yes, there are tells that can be seen from the sideline…but the passing teams that beat zones have QB’s and WR’s that read what you are rolling into. That’s what makes a Brady, or a Manning etc etc. so special.

Most college teams don’t have that guy…obviously.

Now, the RPO fast paced offense still poses massive problems (and always will until the rules limit how far o-lineman can be downfield on pass plays…maybe holding gets called again…and put in a rule that allows defenses to get lined up). But as Clay said, if you face a team that drops 8, you’d better be able to run against that under populated box…or have a QB that is really cerebral.