Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Change isn't always for the best

I do not like to complain, honest.

You can call me old fashioned, out of touch, or Craig (since that’s my name).

I am not an offensive coordinator and did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

So I will state that I am not an expert when it comes to football, although I have watched games since I was a little Craigman and did play. I will also say I am all in favor of change, when it is good. But one change I do not care for is the spread offense in football.

Give me the old wing-T, wishbone, veer or power-I any time. Or if a team runs the spread, at least make running the ball the main emphasis.

Yes, there are teams that run the spread very well with passing the main emphasis. But for most teams, it just doesn’t work that great. First off, most high-school quarterbacks don’t have the arm to make all the necessary throws or make the correct reads. Pass blocking is much more difficult than run blocking, especially with all the stunts and blitzes the nasty defensive coordinators throw into the mix.

Plus, for many schools, it is difficult enough to get enough receivers to run the offense and actually catch a pass thrown their way.

This is not a complaint about any school in particular. So do not take it that way.

I’m just old school enough to think for most teams, especially the smaller schools, they need to be able to run the ball. If they are balanced, it is even better.

The best team I have seen this year is Sallisaw. The Diamonds can hurt you either running the ball or passing. Yes, they do operate out of the spread. But they can run or pass, and you never know what is coming. Plus they are physical and block and tackle with a passion. It seems like many teams that use a pass-first offense are not as physical as some teams.

Over the last few weeks, the weather has not been great. It has been cool, wet, or a combination of the two. When that happens, it is tougher to throw and catch passes. Of course, usually when teams play late in the season or in the playoffs, the weather is bad, thus making the passing game difficult.

I enjoyed watching Talihina and Central Sallisaw play a few weeks ago. That was a Craig-kinda game. Total passes in the first quarter? One. It took 15 minutes to play the first quarter!

I was home from Talihina before Heavener’s game that night was even over! The two teams lined up and tried to knock the stuffing out of each other. Does Talihina have a sophisticated passing attack? Not really. Do the Tigers throw the ball on third-and-two? Uh, I don't think so.

They are not the typical ball-control team, though, because their backs have the speed to break the long runs. There will be a game when Talihina plays a team that crowds the line without worrying about giving up the big run and force the Tigers to pass the ball.

That will be the big test for them. But would Talihina worry about playing in 20 degree temperature with the field wet and muddy? Nope.

So I do like Talihina’s style. But I also enjoyed watching Sallisaw and Broken Bow last week. The Savages lined up in the I-formation and ran the ball. But Broken Bow could also pass the ball okay. Not great, but good enough to keep the defense honest. Was Broken Bow physical? Yes, without a doubt.

Like I mentioned earlier, I will never be an offensive coordinator. But if you look at the teams in college that win the big games, those are the teams with balanced offenses.

Look at Florida and USC, probably the most successful programs of the past 10 years. Both teams have good passing attacks, but can run the ball. Oklahoma has had great offenses, but struggled in bowl games with the break between the end of the season and the bowl game giving defensive coordinators extra time to prepare.

This year, the two best college teams are Florida and Alabama. Both teams can run the ball and pass. Would you consider either team soft? I wouldn't. Do pro teams run the spread? Nope, except for using the Wildcat, which is primarily for running or the shotgun, when they face third-and-long.

No comments:

Post a Comment