1. Forgot to ask, but it looks like LSU is very RPO-heavy. I assume they call RPOs when the drop back passing game is going well and the box is lighter to run at? I’ve always been curious how OCs handle the ebb and flow of play calling.

    • ianaboyd

      They do mix in RPOs, as most rational OCs these days do, but it’s just a little component to their run game. The dropback passing game is the bread and butter. They’re very effective at the RPOs though and ran a draw/glance RPO at Alabama that was amazing. I have a GIF of it saved, I’ll pull it out at some point when I want to talk about the evolution of the QB draw.

  2. Brady

    Fascinating read, really enjoyed this. I’ve always hated the tough guy “impose your will” cliche, excellent insight.

  3. R

    Interesting, it seemed that you were very pro smash mouth B1G football when Herman initially took over. It was about culture and running the ball down softer teams throats.
    Now, it seems that you favor the spread approach as a way to win in the playoffs.

    Did your thinking change from writing the book and/or Clemson’s success

    • ianaboyd

      Writing the book the book mostly, and breaking down games across multiple levels of the sport. When I saw how proficient HS teams were getting I knew that the secret to the Patriots’ success could translate to college ball.

      As it happens, right after the book came out the two major takeaways were immediately brought to life. LSU dominated the SEC with the passing spread and the inverted Tampa 2 lifted Baylor to the B12 title game.

  4. Flavius Belisarius

    With Ohio State handing Ryan Day the keys to the kingdom, how would you view the Buckeyes offense at this time? When the Buckeyes do pass they seem to be using more pro-spread concepts than even last year with Dwayne Haskins. At the end of the day though, that is when they are actually passing. Using Fields and Dobbins to hammer teams still seems to be the Buckeyes MO. Thoughts?

    • ianaboyd

      I think Day knows how to do the pro-spread deal they’re just better suited personnel wise to lean more on the run this year. Fields is still a novice in the passing game and they have some awesome OL and Dobbins for fields to set up with his own legs.

      So this year I think Ohio State is more run-centric but I think they’ll get more passing in future seasons as Fields develops or their QB talent changes.

  5. Aggie Rick

    Jimbo Fisher is the leading offensive mind in college football. He is one of 4 active coaches to have won a national championship. General Fisher is a season away from making the playoffs again. Fear Texas A&M. Whoop whoop!

  6. Brandon

    So… this is an interesting take. With that in mind: does 2011 Ok State win a 4 team playoff of LSU, Alabama, OSU, Stanford seeded in that order?

    Does OSU beat LSU head to head if matched up via the BCS? I always took the stance of no, but I’m not sure anymore that is the case. I think 2011 OSU wins that game by 14 or more.

    • ianaboyd

      Mike Gundy actually spoke to that recently. He was like, “they (LSU) were mostly a man coverage team that year and we were impossible to play in man coverage so we felt really good about it.”

      We’ll never know, it’s an amazing what-if that I wish I had fit into the book, honestly. Certainly Gundy has a point, could Morris Claiborne have held up on Blackmon? How does Mathieu vs Cooper go?

      I think LSU would have slowed them down more than the B12, but I also think that Ok St D was pretty legit and would have caused problems for the Tigers. One of their best units on that side I’ve ever seen. Would have been interesting. Definitely Ok State would have had a chance.

      • Brandon

        That year really ruined college football for me and proved that the whole system is corrupt. Even this “playoff” is meh. Beyond that – there just won’t ever be a shift to schools like OSU, Baylor, etc. We’ll always be behind the 8 ball. It makes for compelling seasons here and there but OSU’s most likely ONE chance to play for a title was stolen from them.


        • ianaboyd

          It used to be much worse and will likely get more egalitarian in the future.

          But how did this year ruin things? None of the non-bluebloods ended up with a case to make. Baylor lost to OU twice.

      • Turd Ferguson

        I really hate to take a question that i find really interesting and boil it down to an affirmative No. But….that’s kinda what im gonna do.
        Could they stop Blackmon? Maybe for a couple drives but ultimately, No. Especially Not in Man Coverage. The Houston Texans tried this strategy on a Rookie Justin Blackmon and he put up 236 yards(should have been an even 250 + 1 extra TD). 236 yards on an NFL Cover 0, 1, 2-Press, and some combo coverages. This was the 2012 Texans that went 12-4.

        One of the strongest, if not THE strongest receiver i’ve seen come out college.

  7. Clayton Davis

    Have you completely abandoned the Bash Bros vs Raid Bros concept? Did that go by the wayside with the book?

    • ianaboyd

      It’s in need of some revision. The two are becoming one, in some sense, with the Raid bros ultimately conquering and assimilating them.

  8. Eliseo

    Ian with Texas hiring Chris Ash. What kind of changes does he need to make to his defense to make it viable in the big 12? As a follow-up what kind of changes is realistically going to make?

    • ianaboyd

      He needs to downsize his personnel to get weak links in coverage off the field to something like a 4-1-6 and he needs to hire great position coaches, particularly at LB and CB where Texas is in great need of more instruction.

      • Eliseo

        I have to ask how likely is that to happen? Is this going to be another Todd Orlando situation where Chris Ash to is going to stubbornly sticks to his defense despite all evidence that it’s not working?

  9. Brent Blount

    Kirby Smart seems to want to overhaul his offense this year. The talk is he wants to bring someone in like Coach O did to “spice” things up. I still think he wants to run the ball but I see him wanting to change the passing routes of the WR’s more than anything. If you were him, who would you hire to modernize the offense? Would you go with a NFL guy or someone from the college ranks?

    • ianaboyd

      Going with the McVay style would be interesting, maybe a Moorhead disciple or a lower level RPO guy would also be a good idea.

  10. Mark Steirer

    “Here’s the typical argumentation”

    Gee, I always thought it was “less variance”, i.e., fewer zero-yard plays.

  11. Matt

    Throw to score, run to win (i.e. 3rd & short, red zone, run out clock, etc.). This is an old philosophy in the NFL — I’m pretty sure I stole that quote from Ron Jaworski.

    Good article.

    I also like your Mr. Miyagi quote re the pro passing game: “If execute correctly, is no defense!”

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