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Offensive Football: Scheme based vs Matchup based

  • At what point should offenses be less about scheme and more about getting the ball in the hands of your best players? I look back at last night and the whole season and wonder...

    - Why didn't Lonnie get the ball more often? I certainly don't think he would've run for 130yds a gm, but he's a very difficult matchup for LBs whether getting carries or in the passing game
    - Why isn't Rashad Greene moved all over the field to use his speed to attack less fast and less talented DBs?
    - Why isn't Wilder used until defenses scream "Uncle"

    FSU's offense seems to be focused from my outsider's perspective on making the perfect read and having multiple weapons; instead of taking the approach of that it is going to make you stop it's best players. And when defenses adjustment to stop them then attack those adjustments. I know EJ isn't Tom Brady, but I watch a Patriots game and they'll run the same play 3x in a row to Welker or Gronkowski until the defense adjusts, or at the college level when Stanford has their TEs run the same route again and again until safety help is used to stop it. FSU seems to have a collection of good players and a few w/ potential to be great yet those players don't get the ball all that often.

    I'm a head HS basketball coach and this is something that we wrestle with. There's a fine line b/w offensive diversity and getting your best players the ball consistently and I'm sure football coaches seek a similar balance to what we look for in basketball. I just wonder if this is a product of the offenses design, the in-game play calling, or the decisions of the QB? Of course the most likely answer is that it's a combination of all 3 of those factors and more.

    Thoughts?

    This post was edited by GeorgiaNole 18 months ago

  • Jimbos O is designed to to anything (pass, run, spread, pro, HUNH, etc) well. But as a result its too complicated for 18-22 year old kids to master; and in the attempt to do everything it does nothing great. He needs to simplify the O in some way (eg, based on player--esp QB--talent), pick a style and do one style great.

  • That makes sense... FSU's offense does seem to be a jack of all trades, master of none.

  • IMO Louisville's gameplan was perfect against UF--quick, short & intermediate vertical passing routes, which set up the run. Our passing routes seem unnecessarily complex & take too long to develop esp vs a.UF rush. Also Bridgewater got rid of the ball quickly, decisively & w/o scrambling. Its hard to believe that Louisville'w O gameplan was better than ours but it was.

  • What makes the O so complex?

    FSU, especially in 2012, ran a very limited number of concepts. The offense is very simple. It dressed them up in different formations and personnel.

    If its so complex, what concepts should be removed?

  • Louisville game plan was exactly what Jimbo gets criticized for. Take what the defense gives you. Receivers were open all day for both FSU and UL against UF. The difference was QB play. Teddy was decisive, accurate, and played a "never go broke taking a profit" game perfect.

    We run a pretty low amount of route concepts. Most route combos are designed so that you'll have 1-2 open men every time by design.

    Oh - and while QB play was huge for UL - no drops from receivers. Or fumbling tight ends. Wouldn't that be nice?

  • Specifically, Jimbo should have asked EJ to do less, eg, less passes that take 4+ seconds to develop & passes across his body, etc;. and more running EJ and passes that take less than 4 seconds to develop.

    In general, Jimbo's O *tries* to incorporate elements of pro set (power run), spread (bubble screens, sweeps, etc) but does none great. Also Jimbos O is designed to react to the D which works if you have really smart WRs (& QB) but only Rashad (and maybe Shaw) are smart enough to know where they should be. Since we have the best athletes why not let our WRs run predetermined routes (regardless of the D) and let the QB decide which is the best option?

    This post was edited by tlhwg 18 months ago

  • The passes don't take 4+ seconds to develop. That's likely a failed play if they do - coverage is good/receivers didn't get open/etc. So scramble or dump it. Ponder did that. I'm assuming passes across his body happen under either scrambles or designed rollouts. If you're throwing across your body on a designed rollout, you're either trying to make a play happen, or somebody's wide open. Jimbo doesn't have plays designed where, ie, QB rolls right, receiver goes left by design.

    The reads receivers make are very simple. There's not a ton of routes to begin with, and the reads are coverage dependent, not play dependent. So they're really not complex at all. There may be 300 different plays because the plays are run out of many different formations, but receivers run Y amount of routes and have adjustments based on coverage. For the most part, the receivers do a pretty good job of it. Some routes are predetermined regardless of coverage.

    The system is designed for the QB to make the decisions.

    This post was edited by Jmnpb996 18 months ago

  • Whether Jimbo's O is simple or complex depends on the player (and their intelligence). FYI: below is a good piece on Jimbo's passing O. Now you may grasp Jimbo's O passing system specified in the piece easily but what matters is whether the 18-21 year old players on our team are able to grasp it easily--based on evidence (i.e., completions) it seems that only Rashad has fully grasped/mastered it. Also, keep in mind that both the QB and the WR must be on the same page, i.e., read the defense & coverage in the same way, for the passing O to be successful.

  • We do run a very low amount of route concepts. I chuckle inside when I hear people talk about how complex our offense is. It's pretty simple. We have a few base route combos and then some variations.

  • ... Dude, I linked you to that an hour ago.

    What receivers do is very basic. A detailed example, from Jimbo, of what the receivers adjustments are for smash pattern: http://www.americanfootballmonthly.com/Arena/NS_Magazine/Current/smash.html

    Jimbo Fisher has run approximately 8 million smash plays since he's been at FSU, and receivers almost always get it right. Note the detail on the QB's assignment includes everything - ball placement, read, drop, eye movement.

    We've had very good passing offenses under Jimbo/Dawsey. It's not a system issue.

  • Of course there are a small # of route concepts, but there's so much variation in the actual routes depending on the D alignment & coverage.

    IMO if you deny that Jimbo's O is unnecessarily complex, then the only explanation for our O woes this year (vs. USF, NCST, Miami, VT, UF & NIU) is a reductionist one, i.e., it's all EJ's fault. I'm not a fan of reductionism in general, but I also think it's false in this case. We have very talented O players, but the O only put together a complete game vs. Wake, Clemson, BC, Duke & Maryland.

    Okay, the onus is on you: in your opinion, why did our O struggle this year (for part or all of the game) against USF, NCST, Miami, VT, UF & NIU, esp. when FSU had as good or much better talent that each of these opponents?

    This post was edited by tlhwg 18 months ago

  • Our offensive woes against NC State in the second half were the offensive line not picking up stunts well and EJ struggling, part as a result of the line not picking up stunts well, and part him struggling.

    Our "offensive woes" against Miami were fumbles and phantom offensive pass interference calls. If you think our offense struggled in that game, I don't know what to tell you.

    We threw for over 300 yards against VT, and if EJ had a better game, we could have thrown for over 500. We scored 28 points. So again, not sure about your offensive woes there.

    Our offensive woes against UF were 5 turnovers. We had open receivers and we broke some runs. That game is pretty much E.J.

    I don't really agree that we had offensive woes against NIU. We just had trouble hitting the open man in the red zone.

  • Good post.

    And - FWIW - every QB will have a down game or two. That's football.

    It's not that EJ has been a bad QB a lot, because he isn't. It's that offensive problems seem to kill drives. Back misses a hole, receiver drops a ball, EJ misses a throw/takes a sack, etc. Definitely not all on EJ.

    I'm certainly not one who was 100% enamored with receiver play this year. Far too many drops/poor effort. Watching a team like Louisville, who seemed to never drop a pass, is frustrating. Teddy was damn good, but receivers helped bail him out on a rare bad ball. I think most of the passing game issues come from EJ. I'm not absolving the receivers.

    We absolutely dominated NIU. 7.12 YPP. Long fields killed us, and NIU had a very good game plan. 8 in the box, cover 3 with 10+ yard cushion. Force us to pass underneath all day, count on EJ to miss a couple.

  • Sure. There were also a few play calls I didn't like. For instance, in the NIU game, we had two 3rd and shorts in the first half where we went shotgun and threw. I would like to see us more under center in those circumstances. Loved the two calls early on the 4th and short, and then the short yardage where we hit O'Leary for yards when he fumbled.

    It was weird year with E.J. At times, he saw the field really well and made good quick decisions. At other times, it looked like he had no idea what he was looking at.

  • I agree with your evaluations for the most part. So with all the talent that we have stockpiled on O, do you think that Jimbo's O under-performed this year? I do. I'm trying to explain why. Based on your evals it seems like you think it was different for each game and therefore there was nothing in common in the O let-downs this season.

  • I don't know how to answer that. Our offense, like any other, goes how the QB goes. Teams geared up to stop the run and force E.J. to beat them. E.J. was great at times, and at other times not so much, much like our offense. And I don't think he's a bad passer of the football. I just think at times he didn't recognize things quickly enough. And while it's nice to say that Jimbo should have done something about that, I don't know what he should have done, because E.J. did show the ability to recognize defenses, brilliantly at times.

    I just don't think there is a cut and dry answer. The offensive line steadily improved as they got experience. They'd still make rookie mental mistakes at times, but that comes with the territory. O'Leary had flashes of brilliance and showed a lot of improvement, but still made some young mistakes. The receivers need to take the next step. There were plays to be made that they didn't make. I like, for the most part, what I saw from Freeman and Wilder.