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DoomsDayD1978's Blog
New School vs Old School, Spread vs Power Running Game 
Posted on July 9, 2011 at 12:10 AM.
As a kid, I often heard adults speak of the how much better things were when they were know, the "good 'ol days." Admittedly, I've found myself saying the same thing as an adult myself when I speak to the students I teach. Let's be honest though, times may have been simpler when I was a kid, but I wouldn't trade this highly advanced information age for the no cellphone, no cable television (let alone high def), no internet age that I experienced as a teenager for nothing.

The same good 'ol days argument can be made for my love, my passion,...the game of football. The spread game is the equivalent to today's information age of Twitter, Facebook, and the like, while the "pound it at'em" power running attack is viewed by many in coaching circles as the equivalent to the black and white TV era of the 60's. As a defensive coordinator, I've faced them both. Yearly, our schedule is fairly split with teams we face that run both styles of offense.

From personal experience, the spread is easier to defend than the power running game. Other defensive coaches have heard me say this and think I'm crazy. They are quick to remind me of all the sleepless nights they have spent worrying over how to defend a wide open attack. To me, the spread is easier to defend because you have the luxury of knowing that no matter how complicated and diverse the attack is, it's still predicated on three variables working against the offensive scheme each play: I don't know the coach who first said this but, "There are three things that can happen when you pass and two of them are bad." Scheme-wise, it's all about formatting your defensive scheme to show a sound look no matter the offensive formation. This is not difficult at all. Plus, you have the luxury of disguise that most QB's, high school at least, are not used to seeing because their team can't simulate what you throw at him in practice.

The power running game is a pain in the butt to defend. One simple reason, it's all about physical toughness and who wants it more...the offense or the defense. I can tell you first-hand that there is no more demoralizing feeling than to watch a team churn out 4 yards, 6 yards, 3 yards, 7 yards, 5 yards every play and there's nothing you can do about it. There's no magic defensive formation to stop it, it's all about who wants it more. The power running game is also an offensive lineman's dream. One of my assistant coaches is a former college offensive lineman. He tells me that you can ask any offensive lineman and they will tell you they hate pass protection, but LOVE run blocking. I'm 6 foot 225 lbs., and I can only imagine the pleasure of being 6'5 320 and just firing off on someone 50lbs lighter than me.

So which is better? I've always lived by the creed that if there was only one that worked all the time, everyone would be doing it. Paul "Bear" Bryant is considered arguably the greatest college coach of all time (Power Running game), Steve Spurrier was infamously labeled as the "evil genius" during his tenure as the head coach of the Florida Gators during the 90's. His schemes were labeled as almost unstoppable (Spread Attack). Personally, at the end of the day it all goes back to one thing in my opinion. It's not about the X's and the O's, but the Jimmy and the Joes.

Next blog...The art of the word "hate" for an opposing team.
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