Over at Football Study Hall I did a post on the increasing use of iso run schemes amongst smashmouth spread teams. The smashmouth spread in general is starting to evolve into just becoming “spread-iso” football. By that I mean that the goal is basically to spread teams out, find the weak spot, and hammer it OR get your best player matched up on a weak spot and then feed him.
The Houston Rockets’ or Cleveland Cavs’ offensive strategies in basketball are a good analog. Each one was using spread pick’n’roll with the ultimate goal of putting James Harden or LeBron James in a mismatch from which they could create offense.
Iso runs are a major part of the K-State offense but Iowa State also uses some iso and we may see more of it from Texas with Herb Hand this year. Oklahoma State uses a ton of lead runs, whether iso in particular is part of the package I’d have to check my notes to verify but they make heavy use of the lead insert in either event.
Meanwhile, I have another post up on Penn State who mixed spread-iso and spread-option tactics last year, and their creative solution to the “what if our back-up QB transfers???” dilemma.
Their back-up, Tommy Stevens, is a special athlete at 6-5, 230 but he’s been sitting behind a guy that will probably hold every significant Penn State passing record when he graduates in Trace McSorley. So they’ve been working on two-QB packages to try and keep Stevens involved while he patiently waits his turn for the big senior year after McSorley moves on. If nothing else it’s helped them hang on to Stevens and buy time to develop more QBs to keep their current run of success going.
We may or may not see anything like this in the Big 12, where the problem of QB depth is often solved by poaching transfers from schools that haven’t solved this issue. The NCAA just passed two rules that could impact this whole thing, the first allowing teams to redshirt any players that have played less than five games.
That is going to allow teams to involve QBs more quickly while still using their redshirts, which is going to cut into the ability of a young QB who can’t crack the depth chart to transfer and use his redshirt to eat the year he sits out at the new school.
But the NCAA also just passed a rule that doesn’t require that a player notify a school of which programs he wants to talk to about transferring. Now…obviously schools were cheating this system anyways but this should make it easier for schools to recruit transfers from other schools.