Why AU went to the spread: they can’t recruit

Blutarsky has an excellent examination and discussion of the spread option attack. One of the best elements pointed out was this Dennis Erickson quote in a Dennis Dodd piece:

“It’s all about mismatches,” Erickson added. “That spread stuff if you’re throwing it, you can get guys who can run who aren’t heavily recruited.”

Read that last line again: you can get guys who can run who aren’t heavily recruited.”

And there you have why Tommy Tuberville made the desperate move to the spread. He recognized AU couldn’t win the recruiting battle against Nick Saban.

But is it a good bargain? Probably not. Because Dodd points out you run off the best players with the college spread attack:

The spread will die out for the same reason the wishbone died out.

It doesn’t translate well to the NFL. Eventually, blue-chip offensive players will see their skills don’t necessarily translate well to the pros. They will start gravitating toward programs that can exploit their talents. Goodbye spread.

“We do point it out in recruiting battles,” said Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, who still runs a pro style offense. “(The NFL) looks at that from not only working with a quarterback but an offensive tackle who protects a drop-back passer.”

Bingo. AU has already lost a running back to Ole Miss due to the spread. Does anyone think Trent Richardson would be interested in Alabama and LSU if Urban Meyer ran a traditional offense instead of the spread?

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Richardson probably would be headed to play for the Gators. But he wants something to further his future. And can you blame the guy?

Potential pro QBs don’t want to play in the spread because, well, it isn’t great for development. Here’s some info from CFN. (Again this excellent quote via Blutarsky)

QBs in the Jeff Tedford / Mike Leach /Urban Meyer /Steve Spurrier systems rarely are asked to read more than a third of the field and tend to complete primarily short, dink-and-dunk passes that allow for quicker decisions to be made and more accuracy. Their systems do not promote the development of a quarterback but rather hide their shortcomings while padding stats that can easily fool not only the average fan but even the most experienced evaluator.”

The spread is good coaching—it covers up deficiencies—it is making lemonade from lemons. In other words, it doesn’t develop players, but works around glaring defects. Doubt development of QBs in the spread is bad? Here’s more from the same CFN article:

Mike Mayock, NFL Network: “The skills haven’t translated well. The footwork has been awful. Look at Joe Flacco (from Delaware) last year. He had the arm and the size and the skills to work with, but he has the talent to develop. You need to have the right scouting and coaching to figure out the player, and not the system. I never thought Vince Young was going to translate well to the NFL, he had way too far to go, and Alex Smith was an aberration; it was a down year for quarterbacks.”

The footwork has been awful.

That is a ringing endorsement of the spread and its coaches.

And you can be sure every football coach from Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico while on the recruiting trial is letting recruits know about these spread problems. And that is the problem with desperate moves—you often end up in worse shape than before.


Add Yours
  1. 2
    War Eagle

    Scared of the spread are we? Apparently. you can’t write about anything else but Auburn. I come on here to read about Auburn because that is all you guys talk about.

  2. 3

    Funny stuff. I haven’t heard that one before.

    I only write it because I know you like it. I mean where else are you going to get honest information about AU? That’s why you come here…I’m not going to give you the Philip Marshall everything is sunshine spin.

    Thanks for your patronage. Come again!

  3. 4

    And there…it has begun! Who’s next? ballplay…julio…shaneisabooger…come on guys, jump right in!!

  4. 5
    Ballplay Indian

    You dooshes failed to point out that under Sabans second full year of players that JPW is still the best option at quarterback. Shula recruited him , right? Shula, the once best coach in the world, but now the worst coach in the world , Shula…..How come the great Saban hasnt gotten a quarterback in the 2 years hes recruited ? Just a thought. I cant start to tell yall how many Bammers Ive heard that wanted JPW yanked last year. Dont act like it wasnt widespread , cause it was…

  5. 6
    C- Bass

    You honestly think Tubbs changed his offense just for Saban? Dont flatter yourself. Your just a bleep in the radar. I would go ahead and hate the spread if I were you too. When your obese #71 can barely hold his head up, you will begin to hate it for several different reasons. It will even effect you in the stands. You wont be able to step away from your seat to re-up on the pocketed spam and moonpie you snuck into Bryant/Denny/Tubbs stadium. You look away, we score. You go to the crapper, we score. On your way to the parking lot, after the game, we score. On your way home in your car, we score. The following week after the game, guess what? We score again.

  6. 7
    Ballplay Indian

    And Kennybanya…..The whole point of the dam article was tho get barners to jump in wasnt it ? If Dennis Dodd said it well then it is fact huh..To compare the spread to the wishbone is black hole stupid….Stop the run, stop the wishbone…The spread can be run or pass oriented. Auburn has never had a problem with talent. Neither has Florida…I was skeptical when Meyer introduced it 3 years ago. I said it would never work in the SEC. I was dead wrong. they won a MNC in 2 years. They had a killer offense last year. If they had half a defense last year they would have won another MNC. West Virginia is a serious contender under the spread. Oregon is too. All the teams that run it have great offensive numbers guys. That cannot be argued. Problem is , most of these teams do not have a defense … Auburn does….

  7. 9

    Cappy, a few points about this article:

    1. In one breath you say that Tubs switched to the spread because of recruiting, and in the next breath you say that the spread won’t work because he won’t be able to recruit with it. ?????? That makes a lot of sense.

    2. Of course the spread will eventually die out over a period of time. Every offense always does. CFB has seen the Notre Dame Box, the old Wing-T, the passing craze of the mid and late sixties (i.e Hunter, Sullivan, Manning), the wish-bone, the power-I, the pro-set, etc. It always evolves. The wishbone died out too, but not before Bear and Okla won a bunch of NC’s with it. Right now, only defenses that are fast as lightning can contain it. Okla contained Missouri in the Big 12 Title game, but couldn’t do the same to WV in the Fiesta bowl.

    3. Defense wins championships. Period. In the SEC, there will be games during the season when ANY offense will sputter and not score many points. The D has to step up and shut the other team down and get you a 14-10 win. That’s what has kep Auburn alive the last 2 years. Do you seriously think Tubs is gonna allow the defense to slack off? I assure you, AU’s offense will not be worse than it was the last 2 years in which AU went 20-6.

    4. The concern about the pro’s is overblown. I’m not too worried about recruiting battles with Brett Bielema, who was the main source of the article on that point. Of course a teams’s recuiting style will change, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be better overall. You might lose the 6-2 225 lb RB, but you might pick up a bunch of receivers that you would not have otherwise gotten. As to qb’s, give me a break. Brodie Croyle and Jason Campbell are the qb’s from either Auburn or Bama to start in the NFL since Richard Todd in the freakin’ mid 70’s. Neither team has been using the “lure of the NFL” as an effective recuiting tool for qb’s for quite some time.

  8. 10
    Ballplay Indian

    Julio, you are pointing out too many facts…..Facts are like kryptonite to a Bammer…..They will run and hide from facts.

  9. 11

    Injun Joe,

    Ever wonder why these teams, like Oregon, WV and Florida don’t have great defenses? If you’ll put your on your thinking cap you’ll figure it out. It’s because they practice against the spread day in and day out. They’re not as physical and rely more on speed. When you’re throwing it more than half the time at practice your team isn’t playing as much smash mouth. Wait and see if the barn’s defense doesn’t become softer over the next few years. Bank on it.

    Also, the point of the stone’s article is that high school players that want to get to the pros are going to turn away from the teams with the spread offense and I certainly do believe that. Do you think Tebow is going to be a high draft pick? H#ll no because his arm isn’t strong enough and he wouldn’t know how to do a 5 step drop and set his feet. Same with their running backs.

    Time will tell and I guarantee you that the spread will not get the pro quality players.

  10. 12

    Educator, teams like WV and Oregon don’t have great defenses for the same reason as every other team in Pac-10 and Big East: they put all of their talented players on offense. Florida had an incredible defense in 2006, but they fell of last year. (Auburn beat UF in 06 without scoring a single offensive td). I guarantee you they will be a lot better this year, and that’s why they were picked to win the East over UGA despite the fact that UGA is the national media’s pick to win the NC. You can hate Tubs all you want, but of you think he’s gonna allow the defense to slack off it just shows how unobjective you are.

  11. 13


    It will slack off. Wait and see. Give it a year or two. Remember that UF won the MNC with a great defense but most of those players were recruited by Zook and not by CUM.

    The barn will be o.k. for a year or two and then it will happen. Time will tell and if I were a betting man I would put some cold hard cash on it. Rhoads won’t be there long either because Tubbs will have to have a scapegoat when it happens.

  12. 14
    War Eagle

    Same ole song and dance for the past decade. You keep saying Auburn is going to go away, this time it is because of the spread and Saban. Last time it was Shula the golden boy. You bama’s are right about one thing, only time will tell, guess you will have to find another song and dance to explain why Auburn will fade away and you will rule the SEC again.

  13. 15

    Kevin good points. I think what I didn’t say enough was that the spread was a knee jerk reaction to bad recruiting momentum. It was obvious Saban was going to have a good year, and Tuberville made a rash decision. Of course, AU fans make a good argument that a change was needed due to a bad offense under Borges.

    What the spread does is allow you to get people other football teams don’t want. That is the advantage.

    Of course, that is a disadvantage too. Vanderbilt and South Carolina might benefit from this, but Auburn is too good a school to go for undersized players. Why not get fast and big players. They do exist. I’ve seen plenty of them in orange and blue. 🙂

    And the spread makes it harder to get those really great talents at QB and RB. Why make it harder to get two of the most important offensive positions? Which is what rash actions like this end up doing.

  14. 16

    While I see the point in that the spread will fizzle out, it wont be anytime soon. Just like all things, it will run it’s course. Let’s just wait and see what transpires while its here. The one thing I do disagree with is that Auburns defense will become soft. Tubs is a defensive minded coach who does sport a national championship ring, albeit as DC at Miami. While we will have to wait and see what happens with the spread, and the non NFL type players it will produce, my bet is Auburn will continue to stock the NFL with defensive players for years to come.

  15. 17

    And I agree with FinebaumJunkie, I don’t see the defense getting soft. Tuberville knows how to direct a defense. I do think the team will miss Muschamp, but it won’t be that big of a deal.

    And I think AU could begin to see big time receivers go there. And good receivers can make average QBs look great.

    I’d still prefer to land top notch RBs though. But, AU has loyal fans, so there will be good RBs who just want to wear the orange & blue and will make the decision based on that instead of what type of offense the team runs.

  16. 18

    I love these barners coming on this board to read what the Alabama fans are discussing. I never go to a barn site.

  17. 19
    Ballplay Indian

    Eduacator 1 ….So by your logic then, Florida wouldve won the MNC with Zook ? Does that also mean that they would have won another one in 07 since there defense would have been as good with Zook ? That is ignorant. They lost there entire defensive front and linebacking core off of that defense along with Reggie Nelson due to GRADUATUION !!!!! Look at Floridas Rivals recruiting rankings. That is Bamas Holy Grail isnt it ? they seem to think that they are doing well in the recruiting front.And I hate to break it to you, but any team in the top 15 – 20 in recruiting didnt have a bad year. Just like if you were ranked in the preseason top 15-20, would that be a bad year? Oregon has never had a good defense W.Virginias defense is decent, not great. The spread is just as productive and as hard to defend against as any offense currently being used. That cannot be argued. As far as Auburns defense getting week. Do yall not remember all of the fights that you wont shut up about. Our defense is intense and will bust your mouth. Nothing is gonna change about that. In Tubbs 9 years , weve had 5 defensive coordinators. Did you know that ? But one thing hasnt changed, weve always, ALWAYS, had a good defense. That wont change. Why? Because thats Tubbervilles passion. Tubbs is aware that practicing against a spread will make your defensive front lazy against the run. Hes on to that , and already taking precautions to make sure it doeesnt happen at Auburn. They are always chewing the lineman about tenacity, hence the fights between the offense and defense. Thats the cause of these fights, not racism, like Shane the doosh is saying. Keep thinking that the spread sux. We beat the Clemson team that your going to face, with only 9 days to prepare for, with this offense. We WOULD NOT have beat Clemson if Borges wouldve been calling the plays. That game produced our season high in yards and in plays from scrimmage. It works. Youll see how good that Clemson defense is in about a week and a half. Good luck. Youll need it.

  18. 20

    Cap, WOW…you agree with me and then I turn around and totally agree with you? LOL….I was thinking the same thing about the receivers, and sure I would love to keep getting great RBs. We have a couple of good ones now, but as you mentioned, that talent level could drop a bit. And Educator1, yes I am a Barner that comes to a Alabama site and posts. You know why? This is actually a very good site, but I have to wonder why the hostility to me based on my comments above? The last few days I have been sidetracked by useless threats here, and I will admit, I am just as much to blame by my reaction to it. I went back and read the post by Cap I believe on July 22, concerning our comments and personal attacks, and it made me think alot. Not saying my smack talk will cease, hey we all do it, but as long as its done in fun, whats the harm?

  19. 21


    You are misinterpreting. Do I think Zook would have won the MNC? NO. Do I think he left extraordinary talent? Yes. CUM did a great job with that talent and with a few of his young players won the MNC. I feel UF will be very good but I don’t think they’ll match their success for that year. Somebody is gonna have to be lucky in the SEC to get to the BCS championship this year. Look at LSU last year with 2 losses.

    I don’t care what any of you say about Tubby’s defensive philosophy. The physical attributes of the barn defense will fade over the course of time with the combination of the spread.

  20. 22

    Man, you little Aubie’s seem so smart. I just can’t figure out why Aubie hasn’t won more than 1 National Title. What year was that National title little Aubie’s, I can’t remember?

    Ballplay Indian,

    Have you found out why Chette Williams Inc. want post his 501c3 IRS tax returns on the net. I think your a good little Aubie boy and would like to know where all that money goes , wouldn’t you?

    Is ” The Lack of Institutional Control” himself, Pat Dye gonna be on the Finebaum show today? Do you think he still calls banks in General Lee County to get players loans?

    Tide fans click on CrimsonBrother above.

    Shane, its amazing to me how you get these General Lee County cockroaches out from under their rock’s.

  21. 23

    I’m just trying to figure out the last time Bama beat Auburn in Tuscaloosa. What year was that? I can’t remember.

  22. 24


    I noticed you passed over my questions maybe you weren’t man enough to answer them.

    I’m man enough to answer your’s though. Alabama has never beat Aubie at home but we have beat Aubie at their place. Gonna beat little Aubie’s for the firt time at home this year. That’s why you guy’s are all over these boards, your worried.

    Are you man enough to answer my quetions now?

    Shane, its amazing to me how you get these General Lee County cockroaches out from under their rock’s.

  23. 25

    You can tell how many NCs the barn has won. They show you an accurate count every time they pick their nose. Which is very often.

  24. 26

    What is it with people challenging other peoples manhood on here? Are you in doubt of your own? What question did you pose to me? A quick glance up of the post and I do not see you asking me anything. I do see you asking Ballplay something. But I will answer those questions also. I believe 1957 was the championship year for Auburn. I know, a pretty long time huh? I wasnt even born when that happened lol. I could point out we ran the table in 93, but couldnt win it because we were on probation. Oh well, life goes on. We could have tanked that year and blamed it on sanctions, but thats already been done. In 04, again we ran the table and because of the current system, was left out to dry. I would have loved to had a shot that year, but when it happened, it really didnt cause me to have a coronary. I never had the urge to write a book called say, “The Missing Ring”, thats been done before also. I have said before I would love to have a couple of championships, much less 12, but we don’t. Either way, I still have to pay my bills and put food on the table and gold..I mean gas in the car. As for Chette Williams, I could care less about his tax returns, just as I am sure he doesnt give a damn about mine. And lastly, I don’t know if Pat Dye will be on the show, but if he is, I will have to put up with his mumbling and coughing. Oh great, just as I typed that, he is on now. Anyway, I hope that answers your questions. If you have any more, feel free to ask, and I will be glad to try to answer them as honestly as I can. War Eagle to me and Roll Tide to you, after all thats who we are isn’t it?

  25. 27
    Ballplay Indian

    C.B…..Chette probably doesnt give enough thought about the accusations of some freak Bama Fan (Shane), to justify posting his 501c3 papers ont the web….I guess he thinks that sending them to the IRS is enough. That is as stupid of a request that Ive heard of by a Bama fan, and Ive heard some doosies. In Short, Its none of your dam business. And exactly what “money ” are you refering to ? And Im not worried in the least. I know jelousy when I see it. If you had a Chette Williams at Bama , maybe 15% of your Dam team wouldnt have been locked up in the past 14 months.

    Educator 1….You cant prove anything about our defense, so please zip it. I cant understand the heart of the blog. Let me get this straight. The only reason the spread is so effective is because you can recruit players no one else wants? Yeeeeaaahhh , thats the ticket.

  26. 28

    If we could combine Ballplay and Junkie into one person, I think Auburn could win 12 National Championships.

    The Aubie’s wouldn’t even need Chette’s 501c3 money floating around.

    Shane’ it’s amazing to me how you get these General Lee county cockroaches out from under their rock’s.

  27. 29
    Ballplay Indian

    C.B. you are one clueless son of a gun. Do you have ANY idea of the regulations and the paperwork and the aaccountability that is involved with a 5013c non profit org. ? No , you dont. You are just like Shane the doosh. You just blow that B.S. out there with no idea of what your even saying. If there were ANY kind of discrepency in his tax papers, the IRS would be all over him. The are REALLY cracking down on this stuff now. You dont know what your talking about. But what else is new ?

    If we could get the last 5 % of the sane bama nation to think like C.B. the cycle of delusional bama fandom would be complete.

  28. 30

    Have a gander at how massive of an impact a little typing does to one particular fan base.

    I, for one, literally fear what kind of mass destruction Tony Franklin is going to extract on opposing defenses. Hopefully it’s not the exact destruction Texas Tech extracted on Alabama’s defense in 2005, or Florida, or even Hawaii. Both Texas Tech and Hawaii both featured the same mediocre talent Alabama Tech is currently recruiting by the dozens.

    I know, I know, Tony Franklin’s offense scored 34 points against UGA, but what Barnzoes fail to realize is in the first half, they only scored 10, and AFTER UGA benched the starters, suddenly they lit up the scoreboard placing 24 points on the board. Don’t forget, Tony Franklin’s offense only squeaked out 3 points against UAB in his first season at Troy. Before you barnzoes are quick to rush to conclusions, I’m not implying Franklin’s offense will be shut out in every single game. I’m implying that Alabama Tech’s offense under Franklin will improve, but it won’t live up to its overblown hype.

  29. 32

    Barners are comparing Tony Franklin with Urban Meyer or Spurrier? Yeah, If Auburn had one of those quality coaches teaching, and recruiting the spread they might be great. But Franklin is no where close. His only SEC expierience is a short stint with Kentucky. Franklin does not have the big time expierience to bring a SEC caliber spread to Auburn from a coaching or a recruiting perspective. Auburn is currently getting the same talent pool as Troy which will be crushed by any respectable SEC squad. A strong ground game is what built Auburn football. They are leaving that behind for a second rate coach that could not even coach at any other SEC school. Good luck Aubies we’ll take all those All American tailbacks that would have went to you.(the former tailback U)

  30. 33

    Finebaumjunkie, you are actually talking like you have some sense, I can take the jabs and the facts like anyone but when it starts getting personal and filthy it brings out the worst in me also, remember we “bammers” are defending our website not Auburns

  31. 34

    Hey Aubies, like the Titanic, you can’t recruit and your pitiful ship is going down.

    “The water is freezing and there are not enough boats.”

  32. 35

    I’m glad you said that Bamaman. I’m not sure exactly where things went wrong with us, but I’m the same way. I don’t take kind to being served with threats, and I don’t recall doing this, but if I said something too over the top, please accept my apology. In a way, you kind of remind me of someone famous for pulling out his verbal machete. That guy may be a Bama fan, but I think he knows that he has my respect as a human being. Again, I hope we can start with a clean slate…….CrimsonBrother, lol good one with the combo of me and Ballplay. I would be too scared to combine you with anything.

  33. 36
    Ballplay Indian

    Natag….Tubbs is currently 4-0 against Spurrier and Meyer. And that is with a lathargic bottom feeding offense. Ranked very low in thee NCAA stats. So think before you type bro.

    George, If Texas Tech would have had a semi crappy defense, they would have won that game. To compare our version of the spread (balanced) to Texas Techs version (pass only) is not a fair comparison. And if I recall , we stomped yall that year too.

  34. 37

    My favorite part about the bammers trashing Chette Williams is that they don’t seem to realize that Bama sent Jeremiah Castille to Auburn talk with Chette Williams about establishing the exact same type of program at Bama that Chette was running at Auburn. Basically, every other team in the SEC has done the exact same thing. If you don’t believe that, just read the article in the Montgomery Advertiser that Cappy himself praised on the blog earlier this month. Hey educator, do we need to get Jeremiah Castille and every other chaplain in the SEC to publicly post their tax returns too? Outside of Shane and that reporter for the NY Times (who is an Auburn grad, in case you’re wondering why in the hell she’s even heard of Chette Williams), no one has anything to say about Chette Williams except to praise his work. If you don’t think so, go ask Nick Saban about Brother Chette.

  35. 38




  36. 39

    Do I need to be the sense maker here? I think AU will be just fine. Franklin is a skilled offensive mastermind whom I doubt will fail at Auburn of all places. But… Alabama will beat him=)

  37. 40

    Finebaumjunkie, my apology also,the slate is clean, this should all be done in fun as intended. I am beginning to understand what Aub fans must have felt like during our streak, it’s pretty tough. I am sure most AL fans, myself included are easier to get fired up these days after six . . . .hey, if we give it, we gotta take it, let the sparks fly.

  38. 41

    How do most “Aubs” even remember that streak? I know they haven’t held a grudge for this long, unless they were sick of our streak in the 90’s.

  39. 42

    If you are in your late thirties or earlier forties which I am, you would remember, you would have been in high school at the end of the streak in 81. However, if you consider most Aubs under thirty you would not and that’s fine, just stating a fact. I think AL and AUB fans will hold a “grudge” or want to see the other perform poorly until they die. Maybe that is where die hard Al or Aub fan comes from.

  40. 43

    Wow, Cappy. That article was a little bit like going to Kansas City by way of Albuquerque. Pretty convoluted.

    The spread will be successful, or it won’t. I think Tubby saw offensive production dropping off and looked at how to improve it. I think that this will be Auburn’s own version of the spread, a bit different from other versions. It will suit Auburn’s personnel and Tubby’s vision.

    Recruiting is fine. And the NFL will still be drafting more players from Auburn this year than UAT. As for the NFL not liking the spread — if Tebow isn’t the #1 draft pick when he leave UF, then I’m a monkey’s uncle. ALL college players need to be trained to succeed in the NFL (and yes, I’m an NFL fan). There isn’t anything about the spread that will stop players from being drafted. They are already being drafted every year.

  41. 44

    Bamaman, I’m 37, and yes I have seen both sides. I remember Reggie Slack’s domination as well as the other Bama QB’S run, and thats what makes this the best feud in all of college football.

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