Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Spread Offense: Part 2

Speed Option
Courtesy of
In last week’s blog, I discussed the evolution and the growth of the spread offense in all levels on the sport. This week I will go into detail about one specific spread offense that has started to form. This offense takes a step away from the typical ‘Mike Leach, Hal Mumme’ spread offense and really focuses on getting the running game started instead of throwing the ball 70 times a game.
Last week I spoke on how some spread offense’s are running triple option plays out of the shotgun. This evolution of the game began over a decade ago. In the early 2000’s the passing game had completely taken over football, but when Northwestern rushed for 332 yards in an upset win on the highly ranked Michigan Wolverines, coaches began evolving everything to fit spread philosophies. Coaches such as Gus Malzahn and Chad Morris are perfecting this offense and putting up gaudy numbers in the process. This type of offense is built around running the football. They are reviving schemes from their playbook that are over 30 years old such as the ‘veer’ and the ‘dive’. Essentially, it is a ‘modern wishbone’, trying to to use the triple option in a new way. The great thing about the triple option is that it's a self-contained concept with built-in answers for any potential problem. Morris could try to have a million concepts to answer a million problems. But he would rather contain multiple answers within the same concepts. He can still use diversity -- of formations, personnel groupings, or options within a play -- but focuses on fully mastering a few versatile plans of attack.”1
Some refer to this offense as “basketball on grass” because it is about getting favorable matchups and executing the options that the play has built in, like basketball. Morris’ offense, although simple, can be extremely confusing to the defense due to its lightning fast tempo and use of pre-snap motion to change leverage causing the defense to adjust late. “Historically this is a system that's perfectly designed for dominating college football with multiple dynasties and rings to prove it. The needed personnel are there to be had from the high school ranks while the tactics are simple enough to plug'n'play from year to year. It's nothing new, but rather something classic.”1   
There are multiple philosophies that vary in differences when it comes to running the spread offense. Thanks to coaches such as Malzahn and Morris the option-based spread is becoming more dominate every season. Check in next week as we take a look in Baylor’s version of the spread offense.

1Boyd, I. (2014, June 10). Explaining Clemson's Chad Morris and the smashmouth spread offense. Retrieved March 30, 2015.


  1. The one thing that I always thought was an advantage when it comes to running the spread offense is that it prohibits the defense from stacking guys in the box. With less guys in the box there is a much more friendly matchup when it comes to running the ball. Obviously if they do stack the box then this makes the passing game open up very easily. The spread offense in general is very hard to defend.

  2. In highschool we adopted the spread on all levels my freshman year, and I found it incredibly easy to learn and execute plays. I really liked the fast tempo and no huddle keeping the defense on their heels, but when we would get inside the red zone we would stay in the spread and have a problem scoring. What is a good/learnable offense for inside the redone that our coaches could have taught us?