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September 6, 2012

Missouri's Offense - What We'll See in Columbia

Missouri's version of the spread is a variant that depends on the QB making proper reads on the defense's front and secondary alignments. With at four receivers at nearly all times, rarely with any one lining up in the traditional TE spot, you have to have the corner backs and two of the linebackers and/or safeties in coverage. I'll get into ways to defend their spread in a minute, but understanding the basic defensive alignment needed to cover four receivers is helpful in understanding the concept. Unlike Mike Leach's series based spread or Urban Meyer's running spread, Missouri's spread is a true alignment read, dependent on cover scheme and the alignment in the box at the line.
Franklin as Superman
(Image: Columbia Tribune)

To put it in most basic terms, if the QB sees the defense stacking the line and/or not leaving deep cover help (in a Cover 0), the read will be pass with the hope of hitting a home run. If the defense only puts a base front and plays Cover 2, the QB is going to call for a run, as there will be a 7 (five linemen, the QB and the RB) on 5 (three linemen and two line backers) advantage. Missouri has about 15 basic plays they run; all but one that keys off the deep cover and number of men in the box. That play would be their orbit option where they drag one of the inside backs (Y or H) across, often times with a TE in to draw two cover guys away from the direction the back is going. By doing so, it allows the QB to read the Y or H hand off, QB keeper, or pass to one of the receivers, often times to the receiver that is isolated on the outside since that cover guy has to hesitate slightly on the possibility of the hand off.

The only trade off they make is they line the QB up deeper in the shot gun than in a traditional shotgun. This gives the QB a little better view of what is going on in front of him and makes defenses cover a bit more ground before they can get to the QB. The downside is the QB/RB have more ground to make up to get positive yards on runs, and in Franklin's case a few more yards he's got to throw the football.

Their offense is predicated on the QB making the right reads and exploiting the defense's over pursuit of what they think will happen.

So, how does a defense stop it? You have to be consistent in disguising your coverage, you have to force the QB into making bad decisions after revealing your coverage, and you need to blitz from all over the field. Oh, and you need to have an athletic linebacker who can effectively green dog by spying the QB, but also effectively covering the middle of the field if the QB makes a pass read. Bringing speed to meet speed is key.

I'd count on plenty of Jarvis in the backfield
(Image: Hipple)
In parlance of Georgia's defense, we'll show cover 1 a lot, with Bacarri (if he's playing; shit, I guess Williams if he he isn't) in the deep cover, an outside linebacker and the other safety on the Y and H (inside receivers), and Ogletree (again, if he is playing) as the spy on Franklin. The three down linemen, Jarvis and the other linebacker will be up in or near the box. With Cover 1, you are forcing Franklin into deciding which of the pass or run options is better for what he is seeing. Patience in keeping what the defense is going to do after the snap will be huge. We'll also jam the receivers to take away the quick hitters (granting we've be succeptable to the bubble and inside screens since Erk Russell was Dcoordinator). Even better, if we can disguise where a blitz might come from, have the linemen cut off outside running lanes for the running back/QB, and dare Franklin to try the deep passes (which I don't think he can throw yet), we'll do ok against them.

Sounds simple, right?

One other thing. I can't help but to think that huge running lane we kept giving Zordich was a bait of sorts. Grantham was willing to give that up to keep what he has planned for this week under wraps. David Yost is a very good offensive coordinator, but no matter how good, if you have to devote time to planning for something you haven't seen, that is less time you have to plan of other things. In that way, Georgia's defense has to take an offensive mentality and get Franklin to try to do the things he is less comfortable with, like deep passes and zip passes into tight spots.

Missouri is going to get their yards. The key is to keep them from getting them in 94 yard drives and converting them into points. Southeastern Louisiana did just that. Yes, Missouri scored 60, but 28 of those were returns and turnovers converted into TDs. The Tigers do have a potent offense, but it is an offense that can be stymied.



Trey (@CPADawg) said...

I sure hope you are right.

I am less concerned with Franklin's passing ability than his ability to make something happen on the run. Georgia's history with mobile quarterbacks worries me.

Tony Waller said...

I think we were baiting him to run more with the defense we showed last week. He didn't run much against SE Louisiana, he has a recently repaired shoulder, and he has a history of injury. I'm not sure that'll mean anything come Saturday, but if he does, I think it'll be running from instead of running to.

Anonymous said...

I agree I think he will be running from

Tony Waller said...

But running from that keeps drives alive is as damaging as running to that does the same....

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