Five years ago, offenses operating at "warp speed" were all the rage; the success at places like the University of Oregon and Baylor led to a tremendous movement towards a world of one-word play calls and quick snaps. Offensive numbers ballooned, and many were assimilating the same traits in their own offenses. And while I certainly see a need for being able to run plays very, very quickly, I think there needs to be roots in a sound foundation; almost a year ago, I expressed my thoughts here.
Oregon and Baylor, though maintaining the same systems, stuggled this season offensively; in addition, Chip Kelly was the hottest name in coaching back then, and his teams' struggles have been documented. Ultimately, I think the downfall of playing SUPER fast is that these types of offenses is that they lose soundness to a degree. In closely watching a whole season of the Sterlin Gilbert offense (a descendant of the Baylor system), despite the solid gap-oriented runnning game, the passing game lacked the ability to attack multiple levels of the field. Though overall numbers are still impressive, efficiency has decreasd dramatically for these systems, while some more traditional passing offenses (Washington, Washington State, USC) have gotten better as the year has gone on. So, what things are missing from a lot of up-tempo attacks?
ATTACKING ALL THE LEVELS OF A DEFENSE
Some of the formations I see are SO spread out, that the offense can't possibly get the ball to all receivers. I truly see the benefit of the super-wide Baylor system splits, but also see the value in contracting the formation. Something I will never forget is my HS position coach reminding me that NO ONE has 4 guys that can cover (we were a state championship team when I played for him, and he was at the time coaching at a HS rolling out D1 prospects left and right). So, make people pay for playing "man within zone":
I love fast motion; most of the time, however, it is used solely as a means of lateral displacement in many offenses; if added to the core of concepts many teams already use, this can help gain even better leverage on a defense because of the vertical component. Below, we take our basic "stick" combination, and with "bunch" followed by quick motion, stress the defense past its breaking point:
I have made my opinion on mirrored routes clear; I simply think they allow half the defense to get off the hook because there is no chance they will get the ball. I can attest first hand that getting to the Third Fix in a progression is something that can be taught to ANY AGE. When it does happen, it can break the back of a defense. Just imagine a big drive, and the defense does a great job covering the combination called, only to be thwarted by the design of the whole pattern: