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August 28, 2014

Profiles in Hope: Offensive philosophy

I'm on record thinking we have installed some new offensive formations and plays. One of the things I think we'll see Saturday is some variation on the spread, probably like Urban Meyer's version, but with less QB running. Think Chris Leak in 2006.

In 2006, the Gators leveraged two effective running backs in Deshawn Wynn and Tim Tebow with Chris Leaks' accuracy (and Dallas Baker/Andre Caldwell catching) competent offensively. Neither Wynn nor Tebow are the running back Todd Gurley is. In fact, I'd put Keith Marshall in front of them, too. Florida won the national championship with a tough defense and an offense that allowed them to score enough points to win.

I'd be willing to grant we don't have the receivers Florida had in 2006. Until Hutson Mason has a coming out game, I am compelled to say Chris Leak is a better QB, but I think that is close, especially for what I think we are going to ask Mason to do. More importantly, we have two TEs that will help Mason the way Cornelius Ingram did Chris Leak. And the way Hernandez did later for Urban Meyers' offenses. In fact, outside of the QB running the ball, I'd say we could have very similar offenses.

The one wild card is receivers. Meyer's offenses are predicated on defensive backs making tough choices on run support vs. covering short route zone flood, cross routes, and quick hooks from WRs/TE/RBs vs. WR(s) streaking deep. Mason doesn't have to be perfect if we have a WR open behind coverage. The tough part right now is the lack of a true known quantity in that role. Maybe Reggie Davis is that guy. He has the speed for it, but as a true Freshman, that remains to be seen.

As I mentioned, Todd Gurley alone is reason to have hope for this season. If we've also retooled the offense to put Mason into higher percentage pass situations and leverage our TEs as a runner/blocker/receiver threat while making defenses have to defend more of the field accounting for Gurley (or Marshall/Chubb/Michel), that is a really good reason to be excited.


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