Friday, June 25, 2010

Cloudy Minds Make Slow Feet

I've seen this video at a couple of blogs now. It is an interesting breakdown of Gus Malzahn's offense at Auburn. Malzahn's version of the spread is much more run-dependent and play action-based than those that came before. Indeed, the offense lines up in a pro set with the quarterback under center on every play, a significant departure from the current popularity of the shotgun. Malzahn's offense combines elements of the single wing with ample misdirection, on one play you will see his opponent's (Alabama's) outside linebackers each get sucked to the middle and swallowed up, as each is deceived into believing the play is going to the opposite side of the field.

One of the most brilliant, particularly in its simplicity, strategies of Malzahn is how quickly the offense lines up and snaps the ball out of the huddle. 4 seconds from huddle to snap is the goal so there is simply no time for defensive adjustment.

Chris Brown at Smart Football broke down Malzahn's offense prior to his first season at Auburn

When Auburn hired Malzahn I described his philosophy, which can be easily gleaned from the forthright title of his book, The Hurry-Up, No-Huddle: An Offensive Philosophy. As I said before, he is overall less concerned with the specific Xs and Os in employ than with the speed at which the offense goes:

There are a few differences here between Malzahn's offense and what Franklin and Tuberville tried to do (or said they were trying to do). The biggest, I'd say, is that Malzahn's spread is not exactly like other spreads, whether pass-first ones like the Airraid or run-heavy spreads like Urban Meyer's or Rich Rodriguez's. That's because the schemes are simple - very, very simple - and the core of the offense is not even about schemes: it's about tempo. . . .

[N]obody does what Malzahn does. If some no-huddle teams, like Franklin's, are light-speed, then Malzahn wants to spend the entire game in something akin to "ludicrous speed."
Malzahn is the architect of the Wildcat, which he installed at Arkansas under Houston Nutt, and then in one season as Tulsa's OC the team's offense improved by 11 points per game and 21 spots to 10th in the country. In his first year at Auburn the offense improved from 17 ppg to 33 ppg, 20th in the country.

Malzahn has never actually been in one spot long enough to recruit players who fit his system. God help us all once he is.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating stuff.

    I'd be interested in seeing if there's correlation (probably inverse) with players in these types of offenses that wind up drafted highly and being busts. Tate is a pretty decent example. How much of his abilities were due to really being a great player vs. just being in a system that was built to make him look great?


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