The next phase for the pro-style spread

I took the time to hash out some more of the details and explanations behind my theory that the next phase for pro-style spread offenses in college ball will feature dual-threat QBs working with multiple TEs in spread sets.

Check it out at Football Study Hall.

I mention the 2016 South Dakota State Jackrabbits who caught my eye a couple of times last year, first for shredding TCU’s defense and then again when they beat North Dakota State in Fargo (which the Bison later avenged in the playoffs). I think it’s pretty likely that the first program to employ my suggested strategy (if someone hasn’t already) will be a FCS program.

FCS teams seem to find TEs more commonly than many power 5 programs, probably because it’s a developmental position and one that is often more about skill than sheer athletic talent. But Rice has employed tactics not too far from what I’m suggesting and perhaps Tom Herman will eventually get here at Texas.


  1. Cameron

    One solution in terms of getting the most out of a tight end in the run and passing game might be to limit the number of routes the tight end has to master. I say this because of a local high school that does just that, and it seems to be working pretty well. Tight ends only have five routes:
    1) Shallow Cross
    2) Flat route (which they appear to teach as a shallow cross in the opposite direction)
    3) Deep Cross, primarily on PA plays
    4) Seam Read
    5) Chains/Sticks – stem to 1 yard past the first down marker, then break left or right and just get open

    The two option routes take time to master, sure, but you can get a lot of mileage out them.

    • ianaboyd

      That makes a lot of sense, good idea for that level. I figure if you could minimize the difficulty of the blocking assignments though you can nail down even more option routes and alignments.

      One thing I didn’t even mention is the possibilities that this set creates for RB/WR hybrid types that are now working behind TEs out in space.

      • Cameron

        If you are going to really integrate the RBs in the passing game with the TEs, then I think it makes sense to go all EP/Belichick/Saban in your offensive nomenclature, i.e., calling whole pass concepts to a side regardless of personnel or alignment. E.g., having one word for your double slant/flat combination the same whether its 3 WRs, 2 WRs/1 TE, 2 WRs/1 RB, 1 WR/1 TE/1 RB, etc. You know, to keep the language simple enough for a QB running no-huddle.

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