Smart Notes 8/18/2009

The quadruple-option, now with video. I have updated my recent post on spread-option stuff to include video of the “quadruple option” I explained there — where the quarterback can hand it the runner inside, take it himself, or throw it to a receiver in the flat or downfield on a fade. People noted some understandable skepticism regarding whether linemen might get downfield. Remember, there is a two-yard cushion or safe harbor for them. Anyway, I found video of this concept from the Calgary from the CFL.

Canadian football is pretty wide open. But this is a good look at the concept, even if the QB does inexplicably pass up an inciredibly wide-open guy in the flat.

– Shanoff, Shanoff, Shanoff. Mr. Everything Dan Shanoff has several posts of note. One, he responds to my bit on the wildcat with thoughts of his, primarily on the business reality that the NFL might now be receptive for mobile quarterbacks because there are a lot of cheap, disposable ones. It sounds harsh, but I think this is accurate. You keep Peyton Manning’s jersey clean, but send in Brad Smith or Pat White to run around, make plays, and get used up. The bottom line is they might not have had a career otherwise. In that vein he points to a Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) bit on how a wildcat position might fit into the NFL’s limited 53-man roster. (Hat tip.)


Finally, on Shanoff’s Tim Teblog (the guy is everywhere), he picks up on a colloquy between Nebraska great Tommie Frazier and Tim Tebow from the Omaha-World Herald. Here is Tebow on Frazier:


I watch that Fiesta Bowl [1996 win over Florida] game two or three times a year. In fact, I just watched it a couple weeks ago. At the time, it made me cry because they were beating my team. But I love watching that run. What did he break, like, 27 tackles? Watching that game gets me going. It’s an example of how you play the game. I loved all the Nebraska quarterbacks. I loved how they played the game, with their toughness, their leadership.


And Frazier on Tebow:


I see a lot of him in me. I see a quarterback who’s not afraid to run the ball, not afraid to take charge. I see a quarterback who people feel can’t throw the ball but still goes out and gets the job done. He’s the leader of the team. Those are all qualities I hope I possessed. And hopefully when he watched me (growing up), he said, that’s a guy that I like the way he plays the game.


– The Greg Paulus experience begins. Syracuse has named former Duke basketball player Greg Paulus as its starting quarterback, and everyone whinges. I don’t know if this counts as contrarian, but my reaction to this is about the same as my reaction to Auburn naming Chris Todd, and whoever Tennessee names: The best guy you’ve got still might not be very good. C’est la vie. Now, the other animating factor here I think — aside from marketing or whatnot — is the old Bill Walsh maxim that if you don’t have a quarterback you pick your best athlete and work with him to get better. Now, Paulus didn’t appear much like a great athlete on the floor at Duke, but in perspective, he’s probably better than anyone else Syracuse had. And this is one reason why they named a starter after only a week: he might not have separated himself so much yet, but if they can increase his reps they have hopefully accelerate the learning curve.

Joe Schad reported on twitter that some nameless defensive coaches in the Big East expressed doubt that Paulus could read the zone blitz or what have you. I’m sure he’s rusty, but it’s not like they will suddenly start running the Mike Leach airraid and let him throw it 55 times a game. The bottom line: this is a bad team, and I’m not really surprised that they thought this guy was the best they had. Tim Tebow he is not, but I don’t expect him to be as awful as everyone seems to think, comparatively.

– People are down on Mike Stoops’s Arizona squad, and understandably so. They lost a lot of talent, especially on the line, at quarterback, and receiver, not to mention on defense. That said, I like their offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes a lot, and I think it will be interesting to watch how resourceful he is and the rest of the team is in trying to put together an offense that can score points and win games.

– What did Bill Walsh think of the Raiders’ Al Davis? Courtesy of the Fifth Down Blog, as reported by Lowell Cohn of the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa:

I often spoke to Bill Walsh when he was dying — on the phone when Walsh was in Stanford Hospital. We made small talk and when I sensed Walsh was tired from the effort I’d say I had to go, but Walsh always said, “Let’s talk about the Raiders.” He said this with a giggle. The Raiders were comic relief to a dying man.

The Raiders have been comic relief because they have been a joke . . . . He always spoke respectfully of Al, admired Al’s brains and guts. They had been friends a long time, and Walsh said Al taught him everything he knew about football. I think Paul Brown taught Walsh something, too.

Walsh always told me I should get to know Al because “he’s fascinating.” And, of course, Al is fascinating, an original.

One time I asked Walsh to name Al’s worst qualities. He said he would, off the record. Now Walsh is gone and I feel I can write this — don’t be angry at me, Bill.

Walsh said Al made enemies, something Walsh avoided. Walsh said Al constructed a life of conflict. Walsh mentioned former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. “Pete was a nice man,” Walsh said. “Pete was a peacemaker but Al couldn’t get along with him. Al made him an enemy.”

Walsh sighed. The sigh was a judgment on Al, a judgment on a man who has created a lifestyle of fighting, sometimes to no good purpose.


– Breaking down Kansas’s offense, from a statistical point of view. Bill Connelly (also of Football Outsiders) brings his vast statistical acumen to breaking down Kansas for Rock M Nation.

  • Homyrrh

    Ha, I saw that back chilling in the flat. That deep hitch he threw didn’t look as open as perhaps warranted a throw.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    #62 was well downfield, and should’ve been flagged even with a 2 yard cushion. And he didn’t even block anybody!

  • In a twins/open set:

    X T G C G T Y
    B Q B

    Would this be a quintuplet option (B,Q,B,Z,Y)?


    I am doing this with my youth football team out of a flexbone-pistol look, except the read is off the playside defensive end. I teach the lineman to block it as you would a half roll. It makes it hard on the corners and safeties at that age.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    Wow. When I played youth football we ran off tackle 35 times a game. I think we had two pass plays in the book.

  • Dennis Prouse

    I coach youth football here in Canada (13/14 year olds this season) and even in Canadian ball we get teams running off tackle 35 times a game! 🙂 Youth football coaches are loathe to try to install a passing game, and will usually abandon ship at the first sign of difficulty. The problem is that the defenses at this age group load eight guys in the box every time. Unless you have a very gifted back, you are going to get eaten alive unless you can spread the field and make them defend everyone. Tell you what, though – if you can find a skilled QB and a couple of sure handed receivers, you can have a lot of fun in youth football, as young DBs are generally very weak. They don’t man cover very well, and they flat out don’t understand zone.

  • Homyrrh

    Haha, I remember super peewee back in fourth grade. We threw one pass all year and had it pick-sixed.

  • Coach Ayinde out of CA is a youth football spread offense guru…

    Check out this video of his youth team and what they do:

    He’s a great video editor too for college spread clips.

  • Delaware was running that decades ago. 189/981 Belly Load

  • coachesturf

    Possible quintuple option here from the old Wing-T (this play has been in my playbook since 2000, but never used).