The spread offense: college football’s newest offensive weapon

Q: What is a spread option offense? Why run it?

A: The spread offense’s goal is to create mismatches across the playing field. By spreading out the offense across the field instead of lining up inside the hash marks the offense makes an opportunity for a speedy 160 lb wide receiver to be defended by a lumbering 230 lb linebacker. The spread puts more pressure on the defense to make every tackle count.

Q: How do teams defend against it?

A: Many coaches say there isn’t a sure-fire way right now. Defending the spread puts additional pressure on fundamentals and assignment football. While views differ on how to defend it, all teams are seeing the universal need for faster players in the secondary and increasingly in the line backing corp. Increasingly defenses will cut a linebacker from a bread and butter 4-3 defense for an additional safety whenplaying against the spread, creating a 3 down lineman-3 line backer-5 defensive back setup.

Q: No-huddle? How do you play football without the huddle?!

A: The increasingly popularaddition to the spread option is the no huddle component. Instead of a quarterback relaying the play to the offense in the classic huddle, the play is called from the sideline and each player watches for it or the quarterback will call it at the line. Non verbal gestures are increasingly important as a few thousand screaming fans can interrupt even the loudest, most voracious of signal callers.

Q: How will the Lions handle it against Emporia?

A: If ran successfully, the no-huddle spread option can put a double strain on any defense. Because they’ll be running more then passing, the lion defense will be on the field longer. Because the no huddle lessens time between plays, they’ll also face more plays. More time on the field and more plays? Yes. Conditioning will play a bigger factor in the second half and especially the fourth quarter than normal.