Posted at 6:00am -- 12/27/2007 Michigan Football: Mailbag Question -- Regar..."/> Posted at 6:00am -- 12/27/2007 Michigan Football: Mailbag Question -- Regar..."/>

Michigan Football: Mailbag Question — Regarding the Spread Offense


Posted at 6:00am — 12/27/2007

Michigan Football: Mailbag Question — Regarding the Spread Offense


What are the differences of the spread offense from one team to the other.



GBMWolverine Response:

The term spread has become a generic, catch all term. It is used to describe any multiple WR set or package. Reality is there is huge difference among all these offenses. Even those that appear same generally have tweaks or other differences.

Even version Coach Rod used at Tulane and Clemson is different then one used at West Virginia. And then you have empty which is different from four WR sets used by spread teams. The version used by Coach Rod at Tulane and Clemson used same formations as West Virginia model. All used multiple WR’s and ran mostly out of shot gun. But Tulane and Clemson version were pass first, use pass to set up run offenses. Clemson, Tulane version still featured productive if not dominating running games.

These styles can also be effective with either a running or non-running QB. Clemson was perfect example of this. The Tigers average 400 yards per game in total offense and featured 100 yard per game rushing attack. It also excelled with two different QB’s, with completely different styles and skills sets. In 1998, while at Tulane, The Green Tide average 500 yards of total offense. That included 300 yards passing and 200 yards running. This version of spread is similar to pro style used by Patriots and other pro teams. Combining passing game with strong running game. Using pass to set up the run. This is done by forcing defense to put fewer people in the box. This makes for more space and gaps for RB’s. You can use big backs like Stepen Jackson, or quick smaller one similar to Noel DeVine. This is because there are two different series to spread/multiple WR sets, inside zone and trap series and outside running series.

The West Virginia style, sometimes called spread option, uses similar formations and passing attack. Difference is new version relies not only on passing, but a superior instead of just productive running game. The spread option also relies on QB who can read on the fly and is threat to run the ball. This really puts stress on a defense. It opens space between Lbers and DB’s by forcing Lbers stay in box extra count to play the run. It is this space that makes multiple WR sets/spread offenses difficult to defend. Creating space makes it easier to get your superior athletes involved. They do this by forcing defenses defend the entire field. That stretches a defense by formation from sideline to sideline. This gives an offense the separation they are trying to cause. And with proper personnel, the formations also stretch a defense vertically. Multiple WR sets/ spread offenses also create mismatches by forcing defensive personnel to do things they are not best at, what they do not normally do.

Example, OLber, like say Chris Graham playing in space against the slot. Or, nickel or safety being forced to play in box to stop run. So read/multiple WR set can further stress a defense by going to no huddle. This keeps defense from using proper personnel and also wears down the defense. To exploit these mismatches QB’s need to check at LOS. That gives defenses real fits. Spread also magnifies any error defense makes. By having to defend entire field any blown assignment or missed tackle can lead to huge plays.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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