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Thursday
May122005

The Fans Get It!

Well, at least some.

The following comes to us from the Florida State message board (we'd link the thread, but it won't last long---argh message boards), Warchant, via EveryDayShouldBeSaturday.  It's a discussion of the Urban Meyer offense at Utah and what to expect at Florida.  Basically, it has people at FSU nervous.  It should have the entire country nervous.  Take a look, it's a smart breakdown, and shows some of the depths of sophistication (something we LOVE here at Resource) that will make the Florida Gators under Meyer such a power.

# # #

Like I said in a different thread, UF will finish in the top three in the SEC East this coming season, mark it down. Whether they will be in the 1,2, or 3 spot depends on how quickly they can pick up Meyer's offense as well as how well opposing coaches do at defending it. Some people have talked about the Gator defense being a strength, I don't necessarily see it that way. I don't see their D as a liability, but I wouldn't call it a true "strength" either. I think UF will have a bend-but-don't-break defense. I also think that unless your offensive coordinator's name is "Jeff Bowden," you'll be able to put a decent amount of points on the board against Florida.

Having said all of that, I want to talk about Urban Meyer's offense because that is going to be the dyanmic that wins or loses games for UF this season. The problem with the Gators for opposing teams as I see it is going to be that darn offense. Plain and simple. Some people call it a gimmick, which I believe is a myopic, overly simplistic approach and doesn't show a true understanding of what Utah was doing out there. It's no gimmick, what it is, is a HYBRID. Think of it as "West Coast-meets-the-Option-meets-the-Run-and-Shoot." If it gets firing on all four cylinders, it's very, very tough to defend. Why?

1). Not only does Urban have them scatter out with multiple receivers, he also runs the QB quite a bit out of those multiple wideout sets. Bottom line: lots of deception in terms of what the offensive formation shows and what actually happens when the ball is snapped. Very difficult to read with a good QB. They also use a lot of audibles at the line, some of wich, according to the tape I've seen, I am convinced are probably fake (which is pretty advanced for college football) Basically, what looks like steak and potatoes at the line often turns out to be pizza when the ball is snapped.

2). The routes they run are hard to defend in that they're typically short (7-15 yard range), all timing, and it's up to the receivers to get YAC and pick up first downs.

3). The QB starts probably 3/4 of the plays in the shotgun. On top of that, he is taking very short, quick drops, and getting rid of the ball FAST, which makes him hard to sack. It's a lot like Bill Walsh's West Coast Offense in that regard.

4). The main difference between Urban's system and the true West Coast style is the running QB. The problem, if you watch some Utah tape, is that regardless of what the offensive formation shows, both the QB and the tailback are both legitimate threats to run EVERY SINGLE DOWN (This is where the Option and Run and Shoot elements come in). What it looks like to me, is that the QB (and this is probably what makes the offense diffult to learn and execute) appears to have around five or six options with the ball on every single play depending on what the defense is showing him. Look at their tape, even when they're just dropping back to pass, they've always got a pitch man in there ready to either take the ball or block if the QB decides to pull it down, step up and go.

5). Urban has one thing in common with Steve Spurrier X's and O'-wise and that is that he doesn't look like he runs a lot of max-protect passing formations. The difference is that unlike Spurrier, Urban's guy is already in the gun and he's not taking deep drops at all. Further, Meyer's QB isn't typically waiting for someone to come free deep before he can deliver the ball. That makes Urban's signal caller a lot less sackable than Steve's typically are. Point being, Urban doesn't max-protect that often because he rarely needs to. This leads to number 6.

6). Hardly ever max-protecting means that all of the backs and receivers are ready to go everywhere all the time depending on the defensive formaton. It's really confusing to watch at first, and it tends at first glance to look like sand lot ball at times, but you can tell after watching it for a while that nothing they do is without a reason. As weird as it sounds, it's chaotic, yet extremely deliberate at the same time.

Now, I don't know if Chris Leak will be able to run the football the way Alex did. If Leak is not a great runner, that might limit Urban a little. The problem with this offense for a defensive coordinator is that there is so much to account for options-wise on every single play. Now, I'm not saying it can't or won't be defended well, because this guy will be facing athletes D-Coordinators of a caliber that he has yet to come in contact with. What I am saying, is that if you look at it, this is no gimmick at all. This guy has taken the best parts from three different offenses (West Coast, Option, Run and Shoot) and formed a hybrid with them. In capable hands, it could be quite a handful.

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Reader Comments (2)

Yeah all that sounds pretty nice, but is Leak the kind of QB Meyer would want to run the offense. Obviously he's a good player, but how well does he fit the mold of what Urban would consider the perfect type for that offense?
May 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterPill Distributor
UF-USC as early as this year? Didn't UF lose 5 games last year? I realize that Zook was a real cretin, but that's a huge upswing in just one season. Let's hope Chris Leak doesn't get hurt running around in Meyer's scheme. Alex Smith ran it to perfection, and Leak is a better athlete than Smith, but only time will tell how he takes to it. Think Meyer might keep him in the pocket a significant amount more than Smith?? I think UF needs at least a year to transition to that style, although they have the athletes to do it. How about some posts about what you're gonna be up to on Saturday the 21st around 8 p.m.? If not on this blog, then at least RSVP on your evite. You better make it. . .
May 13, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterbirthday boy

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