Army and the spread option

OK, so we've heard the rumor: Army coach Stan Brock might scrap his pro style offense for a spread option scheme. Good luck, coach Brock. Schools like the University of Florida and enterprising coach Urban Meyer run the spread option. Meyer has the NFL-type athletes to run the scheme. The jury is out if Army can pull it off.

Again, good luck, coach Brock. Since we have been bantering the spread offense about for the last week, we figured we would take a closer look at it. We might get even a closer look this fall at Michie Stadium.

Imagine a no-huddle offense at West Point? Spread offenses, including the option, often start out of a no-huddle. The quarterback is in the shotgun formation a lot of the time. Meyer often pulls this off with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow.

The spread offense, of course, tries to spread the field. That means you would see three, four and five-receiver sets. There are wide splits between the offensive lineman and that could present an even bigger problem for undersized Army lineman trying to block. When the scheme is clicking, all this, opens up the running and passing game.

Until Brock announces he's running the spread, we really won't know what Army's offense will look like.

There are many forms of it. Florida's spread option is so successful with Tebow running the ball. But the question remains for Army: Who can run the ball for the Black Knights? West Virginia, under Rich Rodriguez, now at Michigan, runs a smooth-running version of the spread option. It isn't easy.

Despite multi-receiver sets, the spread option is a run-first scheme, which requires a quarterback who can run. But as important to the attack is a mobile offensive line that can pull and trap effectively.

The spread option is just like the triple option, it's all about misdirection. In theory, it really is the old triple option, except that it utilizes spread sets. In particular, the quarterback must be able to read the defensive end and determine whether he is collapsing down the line or playing upfield contain.

The origins of the spread offense go back to the late 1950's and it was called the Run and Shoot. The old Run and Shoot was actually originally a run-first offense. However, it's evolved over the years into a complex scheme, one that will be difficult for Army to pull off running. Mouse Davis adapted more of a passing version in 1962. Coaches like Meyer, Rodriguez and June Jones of Hawaii have all added interesting dynamics to the attack. Maybe coach Brock will check in with them for some advice.


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