Fizzy: Spread (For and against)


By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

Editor’s Note: Fizz played with perhaps the most famous player in Temple history (famous for something other than football) but we’ll just say he also played with former William Tennent legendary head coach Bill Juzwiak and Temple administrator Joe Morelli.


In reviewing last week’s game, I forgot to give Temple credit for one reverse and one halfback pass. The pass was perfect and the receiver dropped it. The reverse was run at the wrong place, the two-yard line, and only succeeded with the last minute, ad-lib flip to a split end. But at least they ran them… kudos.

Now let’s talk about college offensive and defensive football in general,

The Spread

Everyone runs some version of the spread. (Probably that’s because many coaches can’t think for themselves.) As those of us who’ve been around for a while know, offensive formations become popular until the defense catches up. It’s been this way ever since the single-wing, so here’s my analysis.

For the pure spread to succeed, you must have a fast QB who can run whenever the opportunity arises. That’s because when the receivers all over the field, the defense is “spread,” and most of the time the pass defenders have their backs to the QB. The schools with dynamic runners are the most effective because they can quickly pick up undefended yardage.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a good running QB and you’re still trying to run the pure spread, you’ve severely limited yourself. You have only one back to fake to, and he’s six yards back. It’s a slow developing, very observable running game. The advantage is tailbacks have time to see open lanes developing if there are any. Temple is in this situation and it drives me crazy.

If you don’t have a good running QB, then you should modify your version of the spread.

Villanova did a good job against us in this respect. They ran traps and mis-directions to slot and wing-backs going away from the initial direction and fake. It was effective and reminded me of the (gulp) Delaware Wing-T. Also, you can line-up in the spread, but with motion and realignment, it doesn’t end up the spread at the snap of the ball. There are all kinds of variations imaginative coaches can do, depending on their player’s skills.

Defending The Spread

If I’m defending the spread (as I’ve said many times before), here’s how I’d do it. Basically, I’d have a run defense of five guys and a secondary defense of six. (Yep, that makes eleven.) I’d have different lineman on almost every play, lining up in different locations and with the one pure linebacker blitzing and faking the blitz, all the time. Depending on the strengths of each offense we play, there would be different priorities each week for blitzes, slants, and loops. I don’t want the offense to ever be sure of what we’re doing.

The six guys in the secondary could play any number of zones depending on the strengths of the offense, and to confuse the QB. The zones would not be observable to the QB when he lines up, therefore disrupting the lineup, and the wait for the coaches play call to come from the sideline. The zones could be a 4-2, 2-4, 1-4-1, 3-3. 5-1, and 1-5, etc. Each week, during preparation for the opponent, certain designated zones would be emphasized in practice. For example; against a good running QB on a third and ten, I’d consider a 4-2 or a 1-4-1. Repeat: I don’t want the offense to ever know what we’re doing.

It’s a big country, someone has to fix it. The meek won’t inherit shit!

Tomorrow: Maryland Preview

Sunday: Post-Mortem



One thought on “Fizzy: Spread (For and against)

  1. Good spread QB’s must read defenses similar to a how a triple option QB decides where the ball goes depending on how the defense reacts. Both QB’s require good coaching, quick thinking, and cojones.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s