Posted August 27th, 2010 by Jack
Filed under: Football

With the departure of Mike Leach from Texas Tech and the addition of Neal Brown to run Tuberville’s offense, things have changed on offense out in Lubbock.  Some folks think a spread is a spread is a spread, but the differences between the Prairie Pirate’s Air Raid and Brown’s NASCAR is striking.  The best example I can think of is driving a car versus racing in one.  (Side note:  Neal Brown is 30 and his predecessor at Tech was 27, ECU’s Lincoln Riley.  Thought that was interesting.)

First off, they have a common ancestor but are run completely differently.  I think 10 years after OU won the national title using a hybrid version left behind by Mike Leach and refined by Fat Mark, the original idea has evolved so much that it’s now a package for some teams.  The irony is the best example of the Raid in 2010 being a play package probably is OU.  They’ve changed things up quite a bit over the years to cater to talents like Adrian Peterson but can still effectively no huddle an opponent in a snap if they decide to.   If you really want to get into it – look at Case Keenum and Kevin Sumlin’s offense at Houston.  They’ve taken the best parts of the OU hybrid (with an Jenkins-era run n’ shoot receiver at OC), mixed in motion from a bunch of 4.3 40 wideouts jet sweeping and sluggoing you to death, and snap the ball every play when the whistle blows.

Mike Leach’s ideal vision was calling six plays repeatedly out of forty different formations and dreaming of going a full season without running the ball.  Huge line splits and calling “mesh” six straight times allowed Tech to go downfield 62 yards in 1:28 to knock off #1 UT a couple of seasons ago.  Leach’s style and attitude toward his offense fits his personality.  He’d see if a play worked, regardless of coverage, and put a check next to it.  Then he would try another one, and check or cross it off.  Then he’d set off with his improved game plan and try to extend the offense’s number of snaps over a game.  They did run a little more hurry up if the clock didn’t stop but it wasn’t a true hurry up no huddle spread.  He wasn’t going to adjust to beat you – he was more into finding something that worked and then dare a defense to try and shut it down.

Brown’s version is going to look much more like the Houston version than the one seen the past few years in Lubbock.  Every skill position player has a wristband and every play is called from the sideline.  They try and snap the ball within five seconds of the whistle. They’ll run less sets with more plays and try to catch you out of position.  Leach likes shallow crossing routes and spacing the field – Brown likes to burn out corners and runs his guys all over the place.  They’ll run the ball, too – I don’t think Tech has the personnel yet to do it effectively, but can you imagine a no huddle run-first offense?  If it’s clicking and the OL is dominating the front seven on D, damn right Brown will do it.  Troy ran the ball 49 times against MTSU and 45 against UNT, both wins with over 250 yards of rushing offense.

This was a quote from Chris at Smart Football when I asked him to characterize the two: “The Troy offense is a nice contrast: instead of trying to get in the right play, with the right route, and the right concept on each down and constantly getting completions, the theory is more like what Gus Malzahn does at Auburn: come at the opponent fast and furious, use your plays (which are good plays), and force them into mistakes. Leach’s is more probing: find your weaknesses, get in a good play, and keep making you pay.”

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