But College Offenses Won't Work in the NFL, They Said

September 12, 2012 at 1:27p    by Jason Priestas    
15 Comments
15 Comments

Comments

BuckeyeW's picture

I've been waiting for this basic approach. I can't help but think that the most successful college quarterbacks could continue being successful if coaches/schemes are adapted to them first.

hodge's picture

Exceptional read.  Great subject, as well--underscoring the reason why I worship college football and merely follow the NFL: the level of strategy that goes into offensive gameplanning in the collegiate ranks is so much more in-depth and interesting than the NFL's "vanilla" offensive approach.  
The sooner more NFL offensive coordinators follow Shanahan's example, the better off the NFL will be.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Ohhh no. Hodge....dislike. Dislike a million.
NFL gameplans are way more than 'Vanilla'. As far as 'in depth' goes, most NFL offenses require a Rosetta Stone program to learn. So much has to go into the gameplan on each side of the ball because the speed is so great. Also, NFL defenses learn and adapt to trends much faster. I'll buy it if Washington wins 10 games and RGIII ends up having pro bowl caliber numbers but this is one week against a weird defensive team in New Orleans notorious for playing too fast and out of position. Running this into the teeth of an NFL defense week in and out is going to crash and burn. Use it elements of it, but the college game DOESN'T work at this level over the long term. You eventually get figured out AND have the talent to match the coaching, which isn't always the case at the collegiate level.
 
 

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

hodge's picture

Touché.  I didn't fully explain my point in the interest of brevity, my mistake there.
I was referring to the complete lack of parity in the collegiate ranks of football.  This, coupled with the fast turnover of players has led to the rise of the myriad offenses that now populate the collegiate ranks.  All designed to heighten their stengths whilst simoutaneously masking their weaknesses.  This is due, in large part, to the lack of defensive skill in college football.  I appreciate the diversity, though; enjoying the multitude of ways that teams go about using their own unique system to combat the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents.
My reference to the "vanilla" NFL is due to the way that every defense either employs a 4-3 or 3-4 set, and how it seems that every team runs either a pro-set or shotgun heavy offense with emphasis on derivatives, and not on the offenses themselves (like the Bengals' West Coast, and the Texans' Off Tackle/Play Action attack).  I understand that the plans are admittedly much more intricate, but that's because of how awesome everyone in the NFL generally is--which means that evolution happens at a much slower pace, since the status quo is largely maintained throughout.
My girlfriend and I argue this often: she says she prefers the NFL due to the impressive skill of all players, while I'm more willing to put up with sub-par (at least NFL-talent wise) players to see the infinitely more varied schematical approaches to the game.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Ahh but there's the rub my friend, and where the seemingly uniform NFL is incredibly diverse. No two sets are the same. The 3-4 is a good case study because the sets run in Dallas are nothing like the ones run in Green Bay, while no one does what Baltimore or Pit do. The offense may line up the same, but nothing about them is all that similar. There are certainly trends that develop as a result of the passing game geared rules-mainly the back shoulder fade and 'stop' fade looks that are all the rage in the NFL but each team has their own spin on trends and when their spin, and NFL talent combine it makes for some utterly impossible-to-duplicate football.
I love both brands, but to me, the NFL is king because the guys combine so much size and speed. Certainly a matter of preference. I guess I'm more of a traditionalist in the sense that if something isn't "NFL Worthy" I scoff and write it off as 'fake' or 'gimmicky'. Not that that is the right way, but its my way. I get what you are saying though. The college game is more fluid than the pro game.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

onetwentyeight's picture

To me the "fake"/"Gimmicky" part is what makes college superior to NFL in terms of viewing experience. We all know the NFL level of play is worlds beyond what goes on each week in college. But us knowing that in our brains doesn't result (for me at least) in any more enjoyment of the product on the field, which "looks" boring, uniform, predictable, and low-scoring. Obviously if you go into the details you realize that's because everything is more complex and executed at a higher level, etc. But because everyone's so good in the NFL and b/c even your bench scrubs were at one time college stars, the "relative" viewing experience just doesn't approach the wild madness of college - which has unpredictable chaos each week, loads of scoring, and one or two guys each year who are visibly way better than everyone else. You look at what happened at the ULM-Arkansas game last week, and when was the last time something comparable happened in the NFL? For me, thats why I enjoy viewing college more evne though I know it's a vastly INFERIOR product in terms of level of play. The crappier defenses just mean more scoring (and who doesn't love that?), while the crappier offenses just mean you get more variety and gimmicks from team to team, week to week (Air Raid, Triple Option, Spread Option, etc etc). 

hodge's picture

^ Exactly.
@BREWSTER - You're totally right, and I suppose I enjoy the NFL's more minute differences the same way that I can appreciate the sabermetric side of the MLB--which, for the record, I do enjoy--I just like the collegiate product better.  Getting to watch playmakers like Braxton Miller, Teddy Ginn, Terrelle Pryor, Troy Smith make the product all the more interesting to me, even if they are beating up on (relatively to the NFL) poor competition.
As the old adage goes, variety is the spice of life.

Matt's picture

Well, I think Barnwell's point was that college offenses won't work so well once opposing defenses (with better tacklers/more elite players than NO Saints) get wise to Shanahan's plan.  He also noted that RGIII nearly got himself killed on an option play.  I think mixing Baylor's offensive sets into the rotation was a good idea, but its not a long term solution.  In modern NFL offenses, it is the RB who takes the beating/gets injured, and those guys are a dime a dozen.  'Skins bet the farm on Griffin, so I wouldn't be too keen on making him into NFL Denard if I was them.

onetwentyeight's picture

Meh. It's one game against a very porous defense (I would know - last year we made Alex Smith look like he did under Urban). The difference with the NFL is that the same guys are around year in and year out. They'll adjust the defensive schemes once there's enough film on him. 

NoVA Buckeye's picture

College offenses won't work. See: Steve Spurrier

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Kurt's picture

disagree entirely

NoVA Buckeye's picture

When you watch Steve Spurrier attempt to implement the "Fun and Gun" right in your backyard, you do tend to notice how bad it worked out. I may not be a Redskins fan, but I do follow the team since they are the local NFL team to my area. The Spurrier experiment left a sour aftertaste in the mouths of 'Skins fans.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Kurt's picture

I'm saying that Spurrier's example doesn't set in place a rule.

Kurt's picture

It will work if someone committs to it.
In the NFL there isn't the talent disparity from team to team, everything is very very even. And therefore there is little to no need at all for any given team to take the risk to do something drastically different schematically than that which anyone else is doing to gain and edge to win games.
The absolute opposite is true in college ball. There are massive talent disparities and therefore schools like Northwestern, Bowling Green, Louisville, Texas Tech, Tulane...West Virginia, etc all looked at their given talent and decided that in order to win they needed to do something creative. Taking that risk was worth it because the downside was that no one expected much anyway. In the NFL, as a coach if you do something different and fail (part of risk taking) you'll be ostracized forever, thus not worth taking the risk.
I don't follow the NFL much, simply don't have time. But last winter in the off-season I read that Shanahan may draft RG3, in part because he knew he's arrived at perhaps his last chance to prove he can win outside of Denver and without Elway.  Hence we have an NFL coach willing to take a risk to win regardless of fear of being castigated for gimmicks (which is totall bullshit). It may not work out for him immediately, and if it doesn't (it probably won't) I hope he stays the course and those who employ him stick with him and the experiment, because given time, smarts and good implementation a power spread offense in the NFL should succeed.

johnblairgobucks's picture

NFL is a follower's league.  To have 31 followers, you need to have have one leader succeed at doing something at a championship level. 
The Power I, The I, Run and Shoot, West Coast Offense, Single Back, No Back, five Wide, Double Tight, The Wildcat, Power Spread  The NFL didn't develop all of these schemes.