The Great Spread Offense Hoax

zonereadoptionYou have all been tricked. Correction, WE have all been tricked. The Spread Offense is not what it claims to be.

Once upon a time, it was. In some cases, the Spread Offense philosophy really still is what we were told. But more and more, I see the Spread Offense philosophy to be a complete hoax.

We are being blinded by false tales of spreading the field. Get the ball to athletes in space, right? That is what the Spread Offense is all about! Right!?

In today’s game, it seems like we are seeing Spread formations every week. Even if teams teams are running 21, 22 or even 32 personnel in their base package. Sometime back in the mid-2000’s, there must have been a rule put into effect that everyone has to at least be able to impersonate a Spread Offense.

What is the Truth?

Many teams… I dare to say, the majority of teams… do not think like a Spread Offense. They have lost sight of the philosophy. All that remains are the formations.

A lot of the teams we see today in 10 Personnel (1 RB and 4 WR) or 11 Personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) are not trying to use all 53 feet, 4 inches. They are not really even interested in the space outside of the hashes.

What are they doing all spread out then? There is a really simple answer.

They just want to see how much of that 53 feet, 4 inches that you will defend. How many of your guys will go outside of the hashes? The more the merrier for the Offense.

The truth is, the true Spread Philosophy has limited application in High School. It took us some time to figure it out. Eventually we realized that out of those 4 tall skinny cats you put out there, only 1 or 2 of them can actually catch.

Double Edge Blitz vs Empty

The Offensive guys knew that. They know that 6’4″ Greek God standing out at the slot is actually Featherstone’s son (took me 325 posts to reference Necessary Roughness… open the flood gates).

Today, we are getting spread out by so many teams so that they can run the football. OC’s feel like they don’t have enough big boys anymore (which is ridiculous, in my opinion). Rather than try to block your 8 or 9 with their 8 or 9, they’re going to take their chances with their 5 or 6 on your 5 or 6.

How Can We Tell the Real Deal from the Pretenders?

How do you know when that Spread formation is trying to pull the wool over your eyes? Clearly, you need to study your tendency reports.

What are the opponent’s base run plays? If it is the Zone Read, 1-Back Power, and Quarterback Counters, then you are being hoodwinked.

True Spread Philosophy is going to give you some of that. But you will also see plenty of quick passing game, screen passes, and QB Draws. If the ball rarely goes outside of the hash marks… you, my friend, are a potential victim of the Great Spread Hoax.

Translate your knowledge of this conspiracy to your game plans this year. Test them. The next time you see a Spread Offense pretender, pack the box. Keep 7 defenders in the box and play man coverage on the outside.

Make your opponent prove they are a real Spread Offense. If they can do, then we are back to playing games. But if they can’t, you’ve got them where you want ‘em.