Spring Fling #4: Changing Offenses
Spring practices are in full swing. While most of our attention is on who will win the starting quarterback or running back jobs, we also take note of some of the changes in offenses that could impact fantasy production.
Obviously the major overhauls at Georgia Tech, Michigan, Auburn, etc are in the forefront of everyone’s mind. However, in this installment of the Spring Fling we take a look at a few subtle offensive changes that have caught our attention and may go overlooked.
Hawaii kicked off spring practice on Monday and so the Tyler Graunke/Inoki Funaki watch is underway.
Whoever wins the starting quarterback job, temper your fantasy enthusiasm. Colt Brennan was a consensus number one draft pick in 2007, and deservedly so. Don’t automatically assume his replacement is a high round draft pick despite Hawaii sticking with the Run N’ Shoot. Expect some changes and growing pains under new head coach Greg McMackin.
June Jones, a disciple of the father of the Run N’ Shoot, Mouse Davis, was the straw that stirred the proverbial drink. McMackin & Co. will have their own way of doing things.
Signs that all things are not going to be the same have already begun rearing their head this spring with quarterbacks working under center in an effort to help the run game. Under Jones, Hawaii ran mostly out of the shotgun.
McMackin is no dummy; apparently he is well aware of the losses at wide receiver and probably a reason for the switch/emphasis on the run game. This is a point that McMackin acknowledge in a recent Star Bulletin article.
Translation: Expect a watered-down version of the Hawaii offense this year. The Run N’ Shoot is dependent on both quarterback and wide receiver making the same exact read at the line of scrimmage and running routes accordingly. With a wealth of talent and experience off to the NFL, expect some growing pains in Hawaii this year.
At the same time don’t let Hawaii players slip too far out of your mind. Calling the demise of Hawaii’s college fantasy football potential is certainly premature, and many of your league mates may be doing just that. Just don’t swoop in as early as usual.
As my astute colleague Brian (you gotta butter up the talent every now and then) mentioned in our Spring Fling Sleepers article, the Cougs will have a new look on offense in 2008. Not that Art Briles was ever one to be afraid to chuck it down field. However, if a recent spring scrimmage where Case Keenum and Blake Joseph threw for a total of six touchdown passes is any indication, expect a much more wide-open attack in 2008.
Conversely Baylor will be moving from I used to call a Texas Tech “light” offense to one more balanced one under Art Briles. How much or how little they throw will be largely dependent on if they can find a running back. In the end the balance should be good for Baylor. (How’s that for a waffle job?)
Dan Hawkins is looking to up the tempo a bit next year, and it could spell increased fantasy numbers for the offense. Hawkins is working on installing a no-huddle offense this spring. If executed properly the no-huddle can wear down opposing defenses and limit their ability to make adjustments.
Looks for the Buffs to pound the rock with super recruit Darrell Scott (or other) to wear them out and then take shots down field with quarterback Cody Hawkins and wide receivers Scotty McNight and Marcus Simas.
Oklahoma, Indiana, Washington State & more
It seems Stoops & Co. have the same idea as Colorado in mind and will go no huddle as well. There is no question that the Big 12 is the place to look for offense in 2008. It is loaded with talent and also coaches that have apparently taken a look at the new rulebook.
In the never-ending attempt to speed up college football games the NCAA has adopted the NFL style 40/25-second play clock, where the 40-second play clock will start at the end of every play. Previously a 25-second clock would not start until he ball was spotted. The 25-second clock will still be used for plays that end out of bounds.
In theory the change is supposed to speed up the game without reducing the number of plays (as happened with the ridiculous rule changes in 2006). According to the South Carolina head ball coach Steve Spurrier, "I think it favors the teams that run the no-huddle. That gives the quarterback a bunch more time to stand up there and read the defense."
Last time I checked no one was banging on my door offering me a offensive coordinator position, so I’ll take his word for it.
Other teams like Indiana and Washington State are also looking at installing the no-huddle offense. Looks like could have a trend forming.
Reports from Happy Valley indicate the spry Joe Paterno moving more to a spread option attack similar to that run in 2005 with Michael Robinson.
The interesting point to note out of this is senior Daryll Clark and sophomore Pat Devlin are battling to be PSU's starter in 2008. Clark is a mobile quarterback that ripped Texas A&M's defense for 50 yards on six carries in the Alamo Bowl. While Devlin is not a stiff, he better known for his arm. 2+2 = ?
Sometimes it’s not a change that catches our attention as is the case at Nebraska.
Joe Ganz had a ridiculous end to the 2007 season, accounting for 18 touchdowns in the final three games of the year, making many wonder if he should’ve been named the starter from the beginning.
When Bo Pelini was hired as the new head coach, we wondered what the future had in store for Ganz. Shawn Watson staying on as offensive coordinator has certainly answered some of those questions.
Just how freewheeling Bo Pelini, a defensive-minded coach, will be with Watson and the offense remains to be seen. But we can draft Ganz with a little more confidence now.
|"We're going to do more closer to Mouse Davis' run-and-shoot where it's the reads. We had some talented, veteran guys, and they were allowed to ad-lib a little more. We're going to tighten things up a little bit."|
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