Monday, August 13, 2007

Game Theory: UT and the No Huddle

There has been much to do about some comments the coaching staff made back in the spring about going to a no-huddle offense for the 2007 season. Originally, the coaches said they'd experiment with it, but through fall practice, it's clear the boys want to run it almost exclusively. Trooper Taylor even went as far to say that they'll use it from the first snap to the last snap. I've always been on the side of fans that needs to "see it to believe it," because a Phil Fulmer staff has never been one to do something like this. What will the no-huddle bring for the offense?

First, what you have to remember is that Tennessee is not converting to a Hurry Up No Huddle offense. It's just the No Huddle, though it could be hurried up, or slowed down, or right in the middle of those two paces. That's part of the theory of why it works. The offense controls the pace 100% of the time. It doesn't mean the defense will see the field more, because Ainge can and will come to the line, assess the defense, most likely look to the sideline for a few signals, and work the play clock down to the last seconds. It's what the Colts do with our golden boy, Peyton Manning. I'm sure if we approach the line, we can have a quick cadence and snap it early, as to keep the defense from finding a snap count rhythm.

Some of this stuff might be obvious, but there could be some Tennessee fans out there who might not know much about the pros and cons of the No Huddle offense. There could also be opposing fans who want to know more about why Tennessee is trying this junk. Anyway, with my super mad skills with the AS Football Play Editor and GIMP, I made a couple examples for you all.

PLAY 1: 3rd and 2

As you can see, I was a bit liberal with the personnel on the field. O'Neal and Vinson probably won't see the field together very much, unless Vinson comes on over the next 3 weeks. However, this would be something Cutcliffe could call on 3rd and 2. This is your typical pulling guard run play. Obviously LaMarcus Coker won't be the running back, unless he gets his crap together. Coker's absence has a huge impact on the No Huddle, but that's for another time. Anyway, McClendon or Foster or Scott, whoever is the right guard, for this play, will pull to the left side and act as a lead blocker for the running back. With the right performance, Tennessee gets the 2 yards to continue the drive. The defense, after 3 downs (if this is the first 1st down of the drive) will be a bit tired. We don't huddle, and run something like this.

PLAY 2: 1st and 10

Tennessee is able to, with the same personnel, go from a power run game to a speed passing game without huddling. The defense, which I now realize I should have added into the diagrams, will still have personnel for their 4-3, 3-4, 5-2, whatever run defense set they use, and will be a bit tired. You slide Coker to the slot (again, not anymore, so Foster or Hardesty), you move Cottam from TE to the slot. Now you have a huge advantage. I have Cottom running a seam route to get matched up against a smaller safety. Cottom is 6'8" 240ish and runs a 4.6 40. Our possession type TE, Chris Brown runs a simple 7 yard cross. Coker, now in the slot, runs a 8-9 yard hook, matched up against either a safety or an OLB. Makes me excited for 7 points. O'Neal and Vinson, speed demons, can run almost any routes because they are weirdly secondary here. Vinson could run a quick in, O'Neal a go route. Doesn't matter. Cottom and Coker have the mismatches.

I know these may seem very elementary to some, but for others, this helps, I hope. You could use these 2 plays in reverse, as well. On 3rd and middle-to-long yardage, run the pass play, then after you get the 1st down, run it to the pass-rush-specialist side. It sounds too easy, but there is a lot of timing and knowledge needed at every position to make it work. With an experienced QB, experienced RBs, TEs, and OL, Tennessee has most of the puzzle. Now, we just need some reliable receivers.

If this entry did nothing for you, let me know.


Justin said...

and now Oklavol would say. I see no advantage to this, our defense will be on the field too long. hehehe I kid. kinda

Anonymous said...

In theory, it's great. You still need those offensive linemen to be able to get that push. That's my whole "believe it when I see it".

Sabanocchio said...

Nicely done.