A lot of teams across the country right now in college football runs some short of the spread offense. Some may want to pass out of it more, some may want to run out of it more, but you see some short of spread offense way more then you don’t. The I-formation seems to be a lost art. Having a full back, having a special package once you get near the goal line or in short yardage. CMU is one of those teams. For the past few years, first under Brian Kelly and then Butch Jones CMU has run a spread offense, they have had a duel threat QB, who could run or pass, and did both very well, and so it made sense that they recruited a bunch of quick athletes to play in that system. When Dan Enos came in this year he wanted to bring his own offense in, which does use some spread and also uses the Tight End more, and even a full back, who knew.
The Problem with this is it is very tough to try to run the ball straight forward when you have a 5’5 155lb running back. That is what the spread hangover is. All you have is 5’5-5’7 160-175lb speed players, they are great to have in space, you spread people out wide, use your miss matches and let them do their thing. When it doesn’t work is when it is 3rd and one and you run straight at the heart of the defense with these small backs.
I have no problems with the spread, I actually like it, lord knows it was way more fun to watch my team score 40 points and win then score 10 and lose, but I have always said you need to still be able to gain a yard when needed. It is you against them, and you need to be physical enough to do it. One problem with the spread at 3rd and one, it becomes 3rd and 6, when you start in a shot gun. You make it harder for yourself then it needs to be.
Looking back at the stats this has been CMU’s biggest problems in their two losses. This past Saturday against Northwestern they averaged 3.3 yards per rush. That was a big improvement over the 1.3 yards per rush they averaged at Temple. Those numbers either need to be much better, and get there in a hurry, or they need to have 3 or 4 wide outs in at all times, and use their speed. The problem got so bad in the Temple game that on three 3rd down and shorts in the row the Chippewa’s had to go to the wild cat, picking it up the first two times, but they got a loss of four and had to punt the fourth time.
When you look at the play-by-play you see the problem even more. 7 or 8 yards on first down, it’s 2nd and two or three, and they can’t pick up the first down, and have to punt. They either try to run and don’t get it, or have no faith in the run and they throw two passes on 2nd and two, and third and two, and don’t complete them and have to punt. That can’t happen and your team still be successful. With all the speed and flash of football today, to me it is still ment to be played in bad weather, outside, physical, one-on-one, run your guy over, or be ran over. Maybe I am alone in this, but I bet the next time your team can’t pick up a yard on 3rd and one, you will yell at the guy for not lowering a shoulder and picking up a extra yard instead of dancing and getting a loss of three. When that happenes you can think about how you need more then just a guy who can run a 4.3 40, you need a guy who can run over people.
About the Author
Written by Steve Schwanda
Proud 2006 grad of CMU. Chippewacountry.com basketball analyst, I love and follow most sports, but I follow basketball the most. Coached and worked camps for 8 years. Favorite pro teams are: NY Giants, Detroit Pistons, Tigers, and Wings