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May 8, 2006

Urban Meyer's Spread Offense: Where's the Production?

On Sunday the AJC ran an article discussing how coaches are constantly sharing ideas with other coaches despite the potential loss of competitive advantage they might suffer. Urban Meyer was interviewed extensively for the piece saying it's "bizarre" how much coaches are willing to share.

Meyer looks for the scoreboard to move. It doesn't.

But that's not what turned my head. Why took me off guard was the lead:
Urban Meyer has spent the past five years traveling through college football and into every corner of his brain to develop what he believes to be the perfect offense.

Now Meyer is giving away all that knowledge. Yep, just handing it out. Free, no less. Oh, don't worry, Gators fans, it's not like he is handing it to just anybody. Nope. This twisted individual is handing his trade secrets over to other college football coaches.
I'm sorry, but huh? Judging from the stats, it looks like Meyer should visit Illinois and see what the Zooker might suggest for moving the ball in the SEC.

Gator Band members reflect fondly on Zook's offenses

Meyer's spread offense was hyped last year to take the SEC by storm at the same time rescuing the stodgy old conference from it's primative ways. However, the Gators scored fewer touchdowns, ran for less yards, passed for less yards, got fewer yards per carry, and .... well...everything was worse offensively under Meyer vs. Zook. And that holds true in almost every category for 2003 as well.

2005 Meyer Numbers vs. 2004 Zook Numbers are Below:

By the end of the season, the Gator media and fan base had every reaction imagineable to Meyer.

In reality, it was the Gators defense where all the improvement took place last year. Florida's ability to stop the run, combined with better game management, and better player conditioning brought the Gators up from 7-5 to 9-3. However, losses to South Carolina, a near brush with death vs. Vandy, a seal clubbing vs UF, and the lowest point total vs. the Georgia Bulldogs in forever didn't leave Meyer with the Offensive Genius label many had anticipated.

So are we to believe that other coaches are STILL racing to Gainesville to learn about Meyer's spread? Surely, you can't be serious.

The Gators will be better in 2006, but the hype with this guy is just ridiculous.



Anonymous said...

it's too early to tell whether the spread will work at florida. you can't go by his first year with someone else's players. you oughta know that.

even if the defensive speed in the SEC is too good for the spread, it worked just fine at other, smaller stops. coaches at those type places won't have much problem getting some pointers from Meyer if that's the direction they want their offense to go.

Anonymous said...

Give it one more year, despite not having the proper starting QB for the system. Even with a pedestrian offense, again, at least we can count on that annual Cocktail-Party victory!

Most "experts" will say; wait until the 3rd year, when he'll have his QB for his system. I say next year will be the tell-tale sign for this offense in this conference.

Our defense will be, at worst, the 2nd best in the league behind Auburn and that should give us a great shot at the east. I've said all along at our site that the importance of Meyer is not this offense.

Anonymous said...

I think Urban's problem last year was that (possibly due to the need to call tricky, imaginative plays while the O was on the field) he couldnt really concentrate on pointing and staring when the O was on the field like he could when the D was out there.

I mean, think about it. The D is on the field, and they're close to buckling (well, OK. Against Alabama, they buckled faster than the levees in New Orleans, but work with me here) and they see Urban the Great looming on the sideline like a curious amalgam of El Cid, Mel Gibson in Braveheart and Touchdown Jesus, bathed in an eerie, yet calming, light, pointing and staring the way to victory.

Heck, it gives me chills just thinking about it. Or maybe that's the onset of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Maybe Coach Meyer should hire an OC so he could focus on what he does best (besides not being able to remember the names of any of the other schools in the SEC): Shoot brainwaves of inspiration at his players.

SicEmDawgs said...

The notion that Meyer was a yound Spurrier with some magical offense is just a joke. Sure if you have the right QB, RB, OL, and twenty WR's that are all americans it can be effective. But what offense is not effective with all of that. He will have a couple of great classes but the promises he is making makes Zook look honest and will come back to bite him when there are All Americans on the bench that were promised the starting job. The bottom line is the SEC has great defenses. As long as the SEC continues to have great defenses most of the offenses will struggle when they go up against a great defense. Sure getting the right QB will help for about 3 games until his head gets taken off. His offense gives the defense way too many shots at the QB and that will be its downfall.

Unknown said...

The notion that he needs "his players" is what I find so silly. What coach wouldn't want these skill players:

Chris Leak - #1 overall QB in HS
- 2 years of prior experience and about 5,000 yards passing entering his JR year last year

Markus Manson - 4 or 5 star back
DeShawn Wynn - 4 or 5 star back
Chad Jackson - 2nd round pick. 2nd best WR in the NFL draft

Plus, Dallas Baker and Andre Caldwell. If you can't make your offense work with wall to wall 4 and 5 star players, maybe the problem isn't the players.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I see JG. You say that, "Even with a pedestrian offense, again, at least we can count on that annual Cocktail-Party victory!"
Well, I will tell you UGA fans can count on...that annual trip to the SEC Championship game while Florida fans sit at home watching Family Fued in their trailers.

Also, if UGA wins again this year, that will be 2 out of the last 3 for us, and we will start our own streak. On another note, any UF fan that is not blinded by orange and blue glasses will readily admit the Gators would have lost this year to the Dawgs had Shockley not been injured. I have a sneaking suspicion that Houston Nutt received a monogrammed pair of jean shorts from Urban Meyer the day after Nutt's team injured Shockley.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, excuse me, that's "Feud." Sorry :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for clearing up that "Fued" thing, IB. For second, I was thinking Gators were home their trailers watching a documentary about a former UT kicker's family, and I thought, "Must be some new reality show on VH1 or something."

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Paul but Chris Leak is not the guy to run Meyer's offense and you know it. He was the #1 "pro-style" qb coming out of high school which is much different than what is needed. Will the SO work? Ask Texas or West Virginia. If the Mountaineers had UFs defense they would have really embarrassed UGA in the Sugar Bowl. Texas ran a version of the SO and the option torched SoCal in the game.

Also, the offense is designed to take yardage in chunks of 5-10 yards at a clip and destroy the clock. To me this is a double edged sword as it is very hard for Florida to come from behind to win. But at the same time they wear out opposing defenses. This is why you wont see huge numbers from this offense as they will be unable to achieve tremendous YAC agaisnt top defenses without a pretty decent change in the scheme. I think Meyer continues along the path he is on until he gets a good look at what the O can do with Tebow running the show. If the same problems arise with him, then I believe a scheme change will be made if not a change in the OC position as well.

Bottom line is you cannot fairly compare this offense to others without the proper players in place and having had a couple of years of running the system so that the players are comfortable with it. I do not think that Florida's offense will double as the O's at Utah and BGSU did.

Anonymous said...

PWD, you may find it is silly to think our offense will be better with a "proper" Qb, but it is the truth.

Do I think we will lead the nation in offense year after year? No. Do I think we will be in the top 3 offenses in the SEC year after year? Yes.

The thing that is silly to me is that people seem to forget that this was Coach Meyer's first year with these players implementing this offense. How good was Coach Richt's offense during his first year? I think we all know the answer to that.

I've already wasted too much precious "fued" time here, I must bid you mop-tops adieu.

Unknown said...

JG - you're missing the point.

It was plain to anyone with eyeballs that Chris Leak wasn't going to be an option/spread option QB BEFORE the season.

Anyone who watched his 10 stolen base performance vs Miami in the Peach knew that he didn't want to take a hit.

So why then did Meyer take a smart, successful QB who can sling the ball downfield and try and turn him into a running / horizontal passing / curl route QB.

That's misusing your talent.

If he's so smart, why didn't he adapt his scheme to his talent?

Anonymous said...

PWD said "Anyone who watched his 10 stolen base performance vs Miami in the Peach knew that he didn't want to take a hit."

I was there and I still blame Leak for me beating my girlfriend as others were singing "Auld Lang Syne".

Coach Meyer seemed to change his offense somewhat for the UGA game and for the rest of the season. We didn't run as many bubble screens as you know who(that offense depended on taking great risks downfield that yielded big numbers and big turnovers), but Coach Meyer did adapt to his talent and we still had some success against some great defenses.

Orson(EDSBS) answers the question why is everyone fawning over Urban's spread; "incorporating elements of the spread can take an offense and provide an instant Viagra dose to yardage and scoring. Looking at the top twenty offenses in the nation, most of them are NOT in fact spread offenses. They may use elements thereof, sure, and that’s where the coaching visits come in; but the real import of the system comes with the tinkering the scheme allows coordinators to do with the pieces they have."

I still maintain that Coach Meyer's benefits are not his offense, but his overall program mindset change.

Someone said Urban is never going to be Spurrier and I agree. I don't even think Spurrier will be Spurrier. The SEC defenses have caught up for the most part.

In an attempt to cover as many different points as possible; I would like to mention that Bonds does indeed deserve the asterisk.

Unknown said...

"I still maintain that Coach Meyer's benefits are not his offense, but his overall program mindset change."

I agree. And I've said as much. He brings toughness and his kids don't quit as often. (bama game aside)

Anonymous said...

Ooooo- that one hurt, but much deserved...

Vinny said...

It took just two years for Urban Meyer to take Florida to the national championship game.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Urban Meyer totally kicked your ass.

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