Why Spread? It is All About Arithmetic

By Ross Fulton on February 2, 2012 at 9:00a
100 Comments
Fist pump for math.

We are beyond excited to announce the addition of Ross Fulton to Team 11W. Finally, your favorite Buckeye site has the preeminent Xs and Os guy this side of Chris Brown and he'll be delivering the goods on a regular basis1. Please welcome Ross to the fold and take this opportunity to soak up the benefits of spread arithmetic.  You can follow Ross on twitter @RossRFulton.

This winter, I took a two part look at the Urban Meyer offense, namely his philosophy and base plays (See here and here).  I now want to take a step back to a more foundational question--why does an offense choose to spread?  As Ohio State's offense will now primarily base from "spread" formations going forward, it is helpful to understand why they are doing so.

First, a definitional point.  As I discuss here, the terms 'spread' has been over-applied to have lost any meaning, used for offenses as diverse as Mike Leach's airraid to Rich Rodriguez's zone read.  For my purposes, I will define spread as any offense that is based out of shotgun to run the football.  

The definition itself somewhat belies the answer to my question.  The short answer to why a team wants their quarterback in the shotgun is arithmetic.  As Chris Brown of Smart Football succinctly describes, both the offense and defense have eleven players.  The defense will always outnumber the offense, however, because the defense has a counterpart to the offense's ball carrier, and thus an unblocked defender.

A pro-style offense handles this by using the passing game as a threat.  That unblocked defender generally has to play deep as a free safety to defend against the pass.  However, from a pro-style system, once the quarterback hands off the defense now has two unblocked players, because the quarterback becomes a spectator, leaving the defense's counterpart to the running back and quarterback both free.  As a result, the defense not only has an unblocked free safety, but also a defender closer to the line of scrimmage, generally in the form of the unblocked edge player away from the called run.

 

The most basic way a pro-style offense deals with this problem is to bootleg off run action to hold the backside defender (though Jim Tressel-era offenses often failed to execute these 'constraint' plays).  As Chris Brown observes, though, this is an imperfect option, namely because it must be determined pre-snap, and turns the quarterback's eyes away from the action.

The 'spread' attacks this problem by putting in the shotgun and making him a run threat. This began with the basic zone read.  Suddenly, the defense must account for an additional run threat, taking up the tenth defender. (H/T:  Smart Football).  Now, the quarterback's counterpart is held by the read, causing him to hold his gap rather than crash down, as in the clip above.

Note that the primary purpose is to hold that defender to open up your base run play.  So a spread team may run the same zone play as an offense under center, but the spread team negates an unblocked defender with the read and threat of the QB run.  Of course, if the end does cheat, then the quarterback will pull the ball to gain yardage.  

The arithmetic advantage works beyond simply opening up base tailback runs.  When the offense makes the quarterback a potential ball carrier, the defense again loses one of the unblocked defenders.  The offense can do this in two ways.  It can run true option, such as inverted veer, which takes advantage of what option offenses have long known, which is that the best way to 'block' an unblocked defender is to option him. 

 

The second is to use the quarterback as the ball carrier on designed runs.  Now the offense has ten blockers for ten defenders, while running the same base run plays. 

The spread's entire premise, then, is by making the quarterback a run threat, an offense gains an arithmetic advantage without devoting an entire offense to option football.  Note that my discussion had nothing to do with spreading out receivers.  That is simply an add-on advantage where, because the quarterback can run the football, an offense can remove people from the box and still have an effective run game.

Where and how an offense spreads its skill players is thus an added bonus, used to gain leverage and force defensive looks.  The core of the offense is the quarterback as run threat and what it does to the arithmetic of football.  This is the base of Urban Meyer's offense--to gain a numbers' advantage to run the football inside.  As we move forward this offseason, I will continue to examine the foundational aspects of Urban Meyer's 'spread' system.    

  • 1 No, but seriously, do you know how much it took to get Ross? His contract calls for 20 pounds of Kobe (no skimping with Wagyu, either) beef, two pounds of prime Italian truffles and three large bags of Peanut M&Ms per week. And poor Corey has to sort out all of the brown M&Ms by hand before we deliver them to Ross. Won't you please consider contributing to our fundraiser? This is just the start in a whole series of awesome things we have planned for the next year and your help will go a long way towards helping us achieve these goals.
100 Comments

Comments

Baroclinicity's picture

Welcome Ross!  Will I be quizzed on this later?

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

buckeyedude's picture

I tried to explain the "spread" to my girlfriend, butt she just didn't get it.

 

 

YtownBuck13's picture

this is seriously the "HUGE" announcement you guys had planned? In my Cris Carter voice...C'mon Man!!

bucknasty's picture

I think it's is a very nice addition.

Alex's picture

Ross is one of the most read, respected, and coveted members of the Ohio State media world. This is a huge addition to the site and we are very happy to have him on.

I know you guys have been spoiled with recruiting stuff, but we are interested in continuing to grow this site as a place to come for all things Ohio State, not just recruiting, and we will feel we are bringing you all something that you can't get anywhere else.

If it makes you feel better, I am hearing good things on Diggs to OSU. That can be YOUR big news this morning Pitt

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Alex: I have to ask out of sheer curiosity - how can 11W NOT become a pay site at some point?

Red Shirt Ensign's picture

But unlike ESPN, this is real content worth paying for... not some fluff peace!

"Statistics always remind me of a fellow who drowned in a river where the average depth was only three feet." - Coach Woody Hayes

 

O-H Kee Pa's picture

I agree. Hell, I'd pay for an 11W subscription tomorrow.

bukyze's picture

Ditto for me (although I hope it remains free).  Hopefully everyone can step up and make a contribution, no matter how small it is - guys, just eliminating one Monster/Redbull/4Loko/Amp drug infusion will help.  Eleven Warriors has been tremendous, and I'm very thankful for it.  My contribution will be done this weekend.  Keep up the awesome work!

Alex's picture

we are committed to the free platform....that is all I can really say, as we are committed to finding ways to make revenue for this site (ad sales, etc.).......luxury of us all not doing this for a living (except for our future beat writer)

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Well, thank you guys for everything. I came over here when Keith left Buckeye Commentary, and it's been incredible to see this site grow.

joel121270's picture

Well I for one hope it stays this way and did what I could as well. I have never donated to anything; but this site really has it's act together (a few politcal outburts aside) when it comes to TOSU and I love it so I donated. Very informative and if I could have done more I would.

Keep up the great work everyone!!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

You can help by donating to their cause to hire a beat writer!!!  

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Ross Fulton's picture

Thanks Alex, you are too kind...

 

 

And no, I can't compete with that picture of Diggs jumping through that O-H-I-O hoola hoop you were originally gonna put up but pulled for my article.  Oops, did I say too much!?!?! ;)

faux_maestro's picture

I personally LOVE this kind of stuff. The guys on TV generally know nothing, or very little (except Spielman) and this info never sees the light of day otherwise.Thanks!

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

TNbuckeye91's picture

ALEX WENT HARD, in a totally nice kind of way. Man, you all deserve to be paid for what you do on this website. It really is THE BEST. actually, i'm at work. I get on here everyday. And that's all I do. I don't even know what facebook or google is anymore. Donating tomorrow when i get paid.

Ethan's picture

This is phenomenal news. Ross is the best there is at breaking down films and explaining stuff. He is to explaining why football works as Alex is to recruiting news.

Unless the site was giving everyone free shirts from the store, I can't think of bigger news for them to announce. 

This completely made my day. Welcome Ross! 

Jason Priestas's picture

This guy thought he was winning a car.

Seriously, though, did you expect to see Diggs putting on a Buckeye hat in the comments?

VestedInterest's picture

Hell, I thought the Huntington spam fest was the big news, so I was damn pleased by this announcement.

awwwwwwop's picture

I thought there would at least be fireworks.... Welcome to 11W Ross!

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

flipbuckeye's picture

Spoiled noob is spoiled.

I love the new feature. Welcome Ross.

Sgt. Elias's picture

Ross is one of the best X's and O's guys in the tOSU blogosphere. Don't be a d-bag yo.  Hopefully your comment came off wrong but I don't know how else to interperate your statement. 

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

cplunk's picture

This is a "huge" addition. There are way too many football fans that just don't really understand the true game. Very excited to see Ross here!

BucksfanXC's picture

Sweet. Now maybe I'll learn something while I'm on here too!

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Scott's picture

Welcome, Ross! I'm looking forward to more of this.

Class of 2008

Nappy's picture

Hell yeah! Welcome aboard, Ross.  Looking foward to all the breakdowns!

Fan of bacon since 1981

Ross Fulton's picture

Thanks everyone--I appreciate it!

Doc's picture

Ross, welcome to 11Dub.  I've enjoyed your stuff in the past and am looking forward to learning lots.

 

p.s.  Nice Van Halen referrence in the footnote.  There was a technical reason for no brown M&M's.

"Say my name."

bucknasty's picture

Seeing Pryor run the zone read just make me think of some "what ifs".. mainly, what if Urban could've coached him. I know he chose OSU largely because of Tress and the pro-style, but still.. makes you think.

onetwentyeight's picture

Pryor in a spread? 

 

See: Cam Newton

VestedInterest's picture

Nice. Welcome and look forward to more. While I've heard talking heads blather occassionally in regards to the numbers game, this seems to make it more clear, whether it's the source or in print isn't the issue, I learned something.

bstadnik's picture

I have enjoyed reading Ross' stuff previously and am excited to have him here at 11W. Nice job fellas!

Brian

Go Bucks!

The Vest-er's picture

"And poor Corey has to sort out all of the brown M&Ms by hand"

If he doesn't, will mr. Fulton's assistant beat him to death with his own shoes?

Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless.

hodge's picture

And you know He has to fill a brandy glass with them, else he won't go out on stage...

Corey Carpenter's picture

If that's what it takes to get Ross on board, those M&Ms will be delivered on time each week.

RBuck's picture

Welcome Ross. Looking forward to a lot Urban education.

BTW, what's up with the blogs, forums, etc. on the right side of the page(s)? One click they're there and the next they're not. My problem or site's?

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

NC_Buckeye's picture

No RB, rightside problems not just you. I'm seeing the same.

buckeyebart's picture

Agreed on the Carter reference. Leave the X 's and O's to the coaches, but if you would just let us know why NO Neal and WHEN Digg's ??? That's where your bread is buttered!!

Ha Ha just bustin your ba_ _'s  Welcome to the 11W staff. Now go dig up some dirt.

larzdapunk's picture

Back when 11W did their survey of the community, one of the things I suggested I'd like to see was more discussion of Xs and Os.  11W delivered.  Thanks, and welcome Ross!

I think I'm going to go donate now!  You all should too if you haven't yet, dammit.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Enjoyed reading you on Along the Olentangy, and look forward to reading you here, Ross.

Buckeye414's picture

Excellent addition to the team

-Go Bucks!

omahabeef1337's picture

11W, you guys just filled the one hole in your OSU coverage. <3

Alex's picture

5-star recruit!

rdubs's picture

Is there no twitpic of him in his 11W uni?

Maestro's picture

Awesome, always read your stuff at ATO.  Glad you are here now. 

vacuuming sucks

William's picture

Great addition 11W, I am looking forward to more articles like this in the future. You guys/girls easily have the best coverage of everything OSU on the web.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Welcome, Ross. Your analyses/breakdowns are first-rate. Your addition nudged me to make a donation just now to the basement. Looking forward to reading your stuff at 11W.

superbuck's picture

Did anyone notice Braxton Miller didn't smile alot. Now that Urban is here he walks around with a grin on his face all the time.

OH-IO

Big Swede's picture

Great job Ross, and what a great addition the 11W staff. This place was already the best place on the internet for any Buckeye fan, but intelligent film breakdown will bring this site to a whole new level.

Poison nuts's picture

Welcome Ross. 11W adding to an already stellar cast. Looking forward to actually learning a few things about how the game is played!

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

DMcDougal24's picture

Welcome Ross. Who do you think is utilizing the spread most effectively? Oregon?

Ross Fulton's picture

Thanks.  It's somewhat of a trick question because as I allude to, all spread teams are not the same.  For example, Urban Meyer's offense is far more power blocking and inside the tackles-based, while everything Oregon does is predicated upon the outside zone.  That being said, I would say that Oregon is the most efficient at what they do.  Their tempo is what makes things difficult.  However, we have seen that Oregon can be slowed down if you can control the interior L.O.S.  My hope with Meyer is that OSU has the tailbacks to establish the inside run game to counteract this tendency with the spread.   

jpdemo34's picture

Congrats Ross you'll fit in just fine with these boys. Keep it up I will be donating tonight guys!!!

Red Shirt Ensign's picture

Just sent my donation in its small but its something!!

"Statistics always remind me of a fellow who drowned in a river where the average depth was only three feet." - Coach Woody Hayes

 

Alex's picture

Thank you...honestly anything, even $1 is appreciated.....as Jason said yesterday if everyone who visited the site yesterday donated $1 we would have hit our goal

hodge's picture

Welcome aboard, Ross. Another superb writer to add to eleven-dub's excellent cadre.

chibuck's picture

I will be donating soon. About to buy a house, so it'll be small for now. I think we can all find a few dollars or so lying around.

Colin's picture

So an X's and O's expert eh? I assume then you are familiar with the notorious Dave. Do you think Urban Meyer knows Dave? Will they be buddies? Or is Urban too good for him...

Alex's picture

I would say Ross knows a thing or two about the DAVE

Ross Fulton's picture

Haha--yup 'Dave' more commonly known as 'power' is perhaps the most universally run play in Football.  What separates Meyer from Chip Kelly and Rich Rod Rod is that he often uses 'Dave' and its counsin, counter trey.  The prob Tress' Os had with the play was not so much the play itself, but the inability to constrain defenses off that play...

Maestro's picture

They started doing some Fake Dave roll outs that were very effective with TP.

vacuuming sucks

Bucks's picture

I'm going to learn about the footbawwws!

Excellent addition & welcome Ross!

Jdadams01's picture

Awesome addition! If any 11dubbers haven't read Ross' stuff at ATO, it's a must do. Excellent at breaking things down from a schematic standpoint. This really does make 11W my first stop for everything now. Welcome, Ross!

D-Day0043's picture

Love reading Fulton's break downs on alongtheolentangy. I am an X and O's junkie. Offensive stategy is my passion. His articles are always very well written. It is a shame that there isn't more participation on that SB Nation site. I stumbled across this site recently and check it daily. Now I get the best of both worlds, recruiting news and X's and O's. You all do a fantastic job. I was constantly having problems accessing ATO on my IPhone. Will Ross still be writing for ATO?

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

His 11W brand is still fresh & covered with antibiotic ointment. Hope that answers your question.

thatlillefty's picture

Absolutely love this site. Y'all killed it in days leading up to signing day, allowing us to become more familiar with the new recruits and feel closer to the team. Discussing the X's & O's is just another great way to pass the months 'til September.

Consider my donation in the mail. Just waiting on pay day.

KBonay's picture

If I never see the "I" formation @ Ohio State again, I would not be upset.....

O-H Kee Pa's picture

With Urban convincing Dunn to stay, I don't see how we still don't run some I-formation. It's still a part of our DNA; we'll just do "novel" stuff like throw to the TE out of play action.

immort9888's picture

Big backs are useful for more than simply the I-formation.  They are great for multiple uses including inside running plays out of the shotgun especially with an elusive QB such as Braxton at the helm.  I seem to be in the large minority on this, but having those big back pound the middle in the "spread" makes the outside plays to the REALLY fast kids more effective in my opinion.

Ross Fulton's picture

I agree that you will still see some under center use (more than at Florida), though it will likely be about 10% of snaps at most. 

Poison nuts's picture

Easy...let's not too crazy!

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

Osu Lippert7's picture

Me either, but O-H kee Pa is right. As of right now, I would expect at least 4 more years of I sprinkled in. Then, After that as long as Urbans hear we may never see it.  

Squirrel Master's picture

I am more interested in not seeing the "I" formation each and every time on "1st" down! I am excited to start seeing QB rollouts, screens and the ever elusive TE slant over the middle.

case in point, in the Gator bowl, the only TD before the final minutes had in sequence, a QB rollout that resulted in Braxton running for a 1st down, a screen pass and a toss to the TE. That is not a coincidence.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Squirrel Master's picture

Hey wait a second, someone who actually knows a thing or two about football? I am not sure about this, I thought this was a site for ranting and raving about expectations that are impossible to accomplish hence our disgruntled nature! I enjoy complaining about why the running back didn't hit the right hole and score a touchdown even though it was a pass to a WR. Now I am going to understand why and have to be sensible about it?

My ignorance has been bliss, now I am going to feel like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon!

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

BucksfanXC's picture

Squirrel are you suggesting that Boom is/was better than Zoom, because I don't want to start that fight around here again.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Run_Fido_Run's picture

They were best as a pair = b'zooms.  

Squirrel Master's picture

I have always been in favor of a nice pair of b'zooms. I can't wait for the next 4 years where the OSU line will have a nice set of Double D's! (Decker and Dodson)

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

SaintTressel's picture

Great addition 11W

Ross, great quick breakdown of urban's offensive look. Is the main advantage of using the shotgun to run the option/zone read offense vs. using a traditional wish or flexbone (or whatever) that in the gun the qb doesn't have to turn his back? Is it considered easier to pass protect from the shotgun? Do the angles on the zone read work better from the gun?

Love the strategy, but have a defensive background. It would be awesome to see a breakdown on those florida D's.

PS

Would love to see 23 or 32 personnel from the shotgun--commentators heads might explode

JKH1232's picture

That's one of the big reasons the shotgun's used, particularly in the Run-Spread favored by Meyer- particularly on play action off of the running play.  The other reasons that crop up is that the shotgun can give the quarterback a much better view of the defense pre-snap, and immediately after the snap, allowing a better read.  This is why NFL offenses that give the QB a lot of options (Indy/Manning, N.O./Brees, N.E/Brady) run a lot of shotgun.  

That said, a lot of option footbal doesn't have the QB's eyes off his read(s), since there's not a lot of retreating- the dive man is coming downhill, and the QB should run down the line, or just a step behind it.  

And isn't 32 personnel in the shotgun basically Pop Warner's offense? *S*  I mean, it's the next logical step, given the time-warp Meyer's pulling us into. 

Ross Fulton's picture

It's more that a traditional option scheme requires a TON of reps.  There is only so much time, so if you are gonna run the triple, you have to rep it.  That obviously cuts down on everything else.

 

Spread teams are not really option offenses.  The zone read is not a true option.  You are not optioning off the backside end, you are just holding him to open the run.  At most, these teams will run a one read option.  But speed option, or veer off of one player is far easier than devoting the entire O to it.  So this way you can have a bit of the cake and eat it too...

Gcar's picture

I will enjoy bragging to my friends about my new found knowledge!

GregC

burkmon's picture

Welcome, Ross.  What a great addition to this already wonderful site!  My husband will not know what to do with me if I start spending even MORE time on this site  ; ) 

 

dubjayfootball90's picture

I like it. Ross, I appreciate the info, especially the point of view you took and explaining how wide receivers are not the only component of a 'spread'..... Ohh Siiiii, me gusta!!!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Johnny Ginter's picture

ross is bar none the best analysts of the mechanics of football in the OSU blog realm, and one of the best on the internet period. we're gonna learn a ton from this dude. get pumped

Riggins's picture

This is honestly what I asked for in the 11W poll last year.  I wanted more X's and O's coverage at 11W.  I never dreamed you guys would get the best Buckeye X's and O's guy in the business writing here.   Welcome, Ross!

B1G 10 Buckeye Stuck in SEC Country's picture

Can I have the brown M&M's?

" Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." - John Wayne 

immort9888's picture

Welcome Ross,

I previously mentioned above and on previous posts that Coach Meyer/Herman's shotgun running offense will be more effective with players such as Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith, and Brionte Dunn available to pound away between the tackles as opposed to using scat back type kids to do this.  My understanding has been that Coach Meyer's most successful offenses tend to have a bigger runner between the tackles and out of this world speed to attack the perimeter of the defense.  I have been told by multiple people that I am completely wrong even though I think the stats show this to be true.  What do you think?  How do you think the offense will look?

Ross Fulton's picture

Completely agree.  Meyer himself has repeatedly said the biggest problem they had at Florida was the lack of a true inside the tackles tailback.  They were able to succeed because they had a Rhino playing QB, but that was a unique situation.  This offense works best when it establishes the inside zone and power game, first and foremost. 

Maestro's picture

At the risk of telling the defense what you are doing too often it is nice to have big backs that can also get outside effectively.  I like our chances of doing that.

vacuuming sucks

immort9888's picture

Obviously I agree Maestro, but I would still rather have the big backs constitently making the first guy miss or splitting defenders while falling forward than hitting one or two homeruns.  Hopefully, the homeruns will be left to the scat backs and QBs.  

NYC Buckeye's picture

Aside from the NY Giants, I am not sure if any offenses find success running small backs up the middle and big backs to the outside... lol

Squirrel Master's picture

lol. I have asked that question a hundred times, why in the hell does Bollman continue to use the scat back (hall) in the I formation and the big back (hyde) out of the shotgun spread?

Thank god I don't have to ask that question ever again!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Jdadams01's picture

A bit off topic, but wanted to share this. Taken from an interview on ESPN between UFM and Rittenberg:

AR: In your experience, and understanding every player is different, how long does it take players with that talent level to make an impact on the field?

UM: We're going to rotate them right away. We don't redshirt here at Ohio State. We're changing that up. We're going to have the culture out here that there's no redshirting. If you don't play here, it's because you're not good enough. It's not because we're holding you back. We're going to recruit the kind of player where we want them on the field right now. That's the approach we took at Florida, and it's the approach we're going to take here.

http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/44977/qa-ohio-state-coach-urban-meyer

Absolutely love the mentality.

Squirrel Master's picture

Those A-Holes on there are worthless. Except for my comments! lol

good interview. I like alot of what Meyer says. I don't know why all the rest of the B1G coaches are getting their panties in a twist. Its a verbal commitment, not in writing! You can get a Verbal commitment from Lebron, doesn't mean he is coming to play for you! lol

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

NYC Buckeye's picture

I like this kind of stuff, more of this please...

nickma71's picture

JB Shugarts not fulfilling his assignment is not a good example of anything, other than what a shitty coach Jim Bollman is. Nor is everybody on the other side of the ball knowing exactly what OSU is doing every time. You do not need a "spread" to keep the defense honest. Nor is the cliche about 120 yards long...bla bla bla accurate. Plays don't start at the back of the endzone, and the offense is not allowed to encroach the line of scrimmage while in motion. OSU's one and only problem has been Tressel ball. Although it should not be called that, he didn't invent it. Earl Bruce opened things up by moving to a two dimensional offense in place of a one dimension. But he still was entrenched in it. All you have to do is what "Classics" on the BTN and see the same thing. For example, they replayed OSU taking it to Elway's Cardinals. Same thing. They almost lost because they took their foot off the gas. And he (Bruce) brags about how their system works because the other team just ran out of time to catch up. The correct philosophy is an attitude about the trenches that Woody Hayes and Urban Meyer share. That is where the game is won and lost. All of you that even played in 5th and 6th grade know this. You take that attitude with your offensive and defensive lines, and you have balance. The Paul Brown way. The father of modern football. Not Sam Walsh. He is a disciple of Brown. The West Coast offense was born in Cleveland.

MediBuck's picture

Yay Ross!! I've been following your material since Smartfootball tipped me off to your Buckeye Football Analysis blog several years ago. Since then, you've made the migration to ATO and now to 11W. Thanks for the many years of awesome Xs and Os and for your blog helping me get though my medical licensing exams (spent many a day in the library surfing your site while pretending to study).

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

Buckeye in Athens's picture

This is awesome. I've always said that the only thing that could make 11W better is Ross Fulton's writing - and here it is. So psyched to have him on the team. Seriously awesome work to the whole crew.