Shane: Is the ‘Spread’ worth it?

By Shane from Centerpoint
If you’re the country’s number-one ranked wide receiver coming out of high school and you’re planning your post collegiate NFL future, why would you consider signing with a college football program that operates out of the “spread” offense? Most importantly, this offense will not prepare you for the League because the NFL simply does not utilize the system. Spending four years playing in the “spread” could actually damage your marketability, as well as eventually end up costing you a substantial amount of money when draft day rolls around.

In my opinion, college football programs that run “pro-style” systems have a decisive advantage when recruiting the best offensive players—due to the direct connection between their offensive philosophy and the NFL’s.

I find it hard to believe that programs tying to sell the advantages of the “spread” to potential players could really buy into the product they’re selling. I’m truly baffled by the thought that a player with NFL aspirations would choose to play in a “spread” system, especially when so many others offer a setup conducive to that player’s NFL future.

Face it, the “spread” offense is nothing more than a glorified high-school system that is often used because, if executed efficiently, it will allow a physically smaller team with less-talented athletes to compete with the powerhouse programs. Spreading the field usually works well in college, but the sheer speed of NFL defenses cancels any thought of using the system successfully against the elite defenses used in the professional ranks.

Actually, some college players who are currently considered to be the best in the nation at their positions may not be high on the NFL draft list, specifically due to the fact that their college team uses the “spread”. The league’s bias toward this type of offense could potentially have a negative effect on every player’s draft status.

The personnel requirements are totally different for a “pro-style” system. Professional quarterbacks must have the ability to play from under center, reading the field while dropping back. Most “spread” quarterbacks operate entirely from the shotgun, with almost no time spent perfecting the most important element to an NFL signal-caller’s success. Any quarterback who wants to prepare for the next level would be better suited to play for a school that runs a “pro-style” system.

The majority of an NFL lineman’s time is spent in a three-point stance. Drive–blocking for the running game is just as crucial as pass–blocking. It’s a fact that, in the “spread”, linemen are in a two-point stance consistently and almost never go to a three. Many college teams use the two-point method exclusively. Again, what “blue-chip” offensive tackle with designs on a long career in the pros would waste his time with a scheme that doesn’t fit NFL criteria?

One other distinct difference between “pro-style” and the “spread” involves the running back position. NFL–prototype backs are big, strong, hard runners that rely on hitting the holes direct to gain yardage. College “spread” backs don’t usually fit that mold because they use delays, lateral moves and also rely on misdirection to make their yards. Rarely does a great pro back originate from a “spread” offensive background.

College head-coaches who are keen enough to perceive the advantages of instituting a “pro-style” system have a tremendous opportunity to use that as a selling point for their football program.

Truthfully, the duration of the “spread” as an effective form of attack will fade as defensive coaches gain knowledge and perfect the tactics and techniques required to shut it down. This “gimmick” offense will eventually run its course, while the “pro-style” will exist forever.

Those college teams who choose to run the “spread” might win more games in the short term, but they will inevitably lose the best players over the long haul because of the system they operate.

Besides, everybody knows schemes don’t win championships in college or pro football—players do!

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Add Yours
  1. 2

    I think the QB and RB are the biggest problems for spread teams. Good WRs can probably transition (like Crabtree should be able to do.) Tebow is going to have to prove the NFL scouts wrong. If anyone can do it, Tebow can!

  2. 4
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Im sure that Florida is sorry that they ever went to the spread. It really didnt work out too well for them , did it ?

  3. 5
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    West Virgina, and Oklahoma suck too. Not to mention Kansas, Misourri, Oregon, and a hosty of other good schools. When will you dooshers realise that this is a real offense, that scores real points. Its not that new either. Various versions have been run for the past ten years at least. Soooo if defenses were ever going to adapt to it, they already would have.

    That not to say that a spread team cant be stopped. As we all know they can. Oklahoma in the national championship game for instance. But, with the right players (yes Shane , I agree) , Its as effective as any offense currently being ran.

    Didnt Utah run the spread?

    Bottom line……….Bama doesnt run it, so it sux. Right Shane?

  4. 6
    Spread Offense

    I always get confused when I hear: “Spreading the field usually works well in college, but the sheer speed of NFL defenses cancels any thought of using the system successfully against the elite defenses used in the professional ranks.”

    In the NFL draft every year, aren’t the best college players on offense in the same draft pool as all the best defensive players?

    Are you telling me that Percy Harvin, Pat White, and Michael Crabtree aren’t as good as Brian Cushing, Aaron Curry, and BJ Raji?

    The dual threat QB spread offense will continue to grow in the NFL… the wildcat this year was just the appetizer.

  5. 7

    I’m sensing fear from the bammers now that we have someone that can run the offense un-hampered by the head coach.

    It’s obviously the Achilles heel of the mighty saban (see bowl games.)

  6. 9

    Bamasgreat, am I hearing the hoopla about Tony Franklin number two already? Seems like we have been to this rodeo before. And that fear you are sensing is Aub’s record next year. (see no bowl game)

  7. 10

    1 word for you Shane for Brains… versatility. NFL coaches and scouts look for players that can rapidly adapt to any system that may be implemented. If a guy can understand and play the spread, why can’t he go back to the pro style offense. Talent is talent. Schemes are schemes. You want versatile players that can adapt to any scheme implemented. Not a moron that can only play in a scheme that his dad and grandpa played in…

  8. 11
    The BAMMER from St. Clair

    YO! THE MIGHTY SHANE has contradicted himself. He titled his latest journalistic effort “Is The Spread Worth It,” rattled on about the how much BETTER the pro-style (which used to be referred to as a “multiple” system) is than the spread and ended with one of Gene Stallings’ best-known quotes: “Schemes don’t win games, players win games.” Stallings’ statement is very true. I want to remind THE MIGHTY SHANE of some of the other things that Coach Stallings has said. Stallings has said that you can win with the old “single-wing” offense. Stallings also believes a team can still win with the wishbone. SHANE, if you quote one of Stallings’ lines, you need to know something about his mindset and where he is coming from philsophically. Great players are able to adapt to the philosophy that the coaching staff employs. I would dare to say that if an offensive staff somewhere in America chose to run out of the veer, if its taught correctly and the players EXECUTE IT, they could win. Its the same with the wishbone, the single-wing, double-wing, power-I, even the old “Notre Dame box.” If the personnel running these schemes are good enough to make it to the NFL, they will make it. That’s why NFL teams employ scouts, Shane. Here’s another question, SHANE; Why does the NFL draft players from what used to be referred as “Division 1AA” & “Division 2” Institutions, now known as the “Championship Sub-Level?” IF THE PLAYERS ARE GOOD ENOUGH, THEY WILL GET A SHOT IN THE PROS!

  9. 12
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    WJB …….dead on dude…How many players stay in the same system for more than 4 years ? Almost none. You must adapt. You must execute and be willing to learn. Shane doesnt get it. Sure, a pro set offense that executes with players will win. Sure, a spread offense that executes with players will win. The same could be said for a triple option system. A I formation offense. Any offense.

    For anyone to say that the spread is a flash in the pan offense, well, they are in denial. Look at the teams that have players and execute in that offense. Last years Nat. Champ. had 2 spread teams. Look at Ohio State. They have players, and they execute. But they run a pro set system. Answer me this Shaney………What happens to them every time they play a good spread team ? They get stomped. When , not if, Rich Rod gets the steamroller going at Michigan, they will hand the Buckeyes a stomping year in and year out using the spread. Does that mean the pro set system sux ? No. It means they havent defensively answered the spread yet. will they ? I dont know. But again. Its hard to beat any team that executes and has athletes.

  10. 13

    Bamaman did you miss the part where I said “unhampered by the head coach?” It’s well known that Tony Franklin was ham-strung from day one. If you still don’t realize what a well-executed spread offense can do, you must have tuned out after the Iron Bowl.
    Since every other word you write is 36-0, I’m inclined to think so. In case you missed it, let me clue you in on two more scores….31-20 and 31-17. hahahahaha

  11. 14

    Bamasgreat, let me clue you in on SEVEN since you didn’t even make the papa john bowl to add more

    and since you love it so much
    36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 36-0 bwahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahah

  12. 15

    I agree with Shane about the “spread”. This offense continues to morph every year because the defensive gurus are constantly adapting to the system. Eventually they will figure out how to shut it down. The “pro-style” (multiple) offense works because of simple execution – always has and always will. Some of you “spread” enthusiast need to realize that many fad offenses have come and gone, but the simplicity of a “pro-style” is the tried and true path to consistent success. That’s exactly why the NFL uses it exclusively.

  13. 16
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Einstein……2 natioinal championships in 3 years . Thats all I you need to look at. How long has Urban Meyer been running his version of the spread ? 10 plus years. It hasnt changed much since he was at Bowling Green.

  14. 17


  15. 18

    Damn, bammerman that’s cold. You really know how to cut somebody to the bone.

    What I would have given for an SEC championship and bowl win……

  16. 19

    Hell bamasux you would have been happy if the aubbie tigirls would have beat VANDY.O did i say VANDY..hehehehehehehehehe

  17. 21

    Hey Bammer from St Claire,
    Good post. I agree with you, I think as well as most of the top teams are coached, if the spread was a fad, then it would have ceased to exist a long while back.

    If you continue to recruit and get the best and fastest recruits in the nation as FL has year in and year out, then guys who run a sub 4.4 will do well once they have the ball in space. That is basically what the spread is, putting the ball in a dangerous players hand out in space. If he beats one man, he usually has at least 5 yards.

    The reason the pro set works for the NFL is that the best teams establish the run because they have the best paid & sought after O line. Look at Dallas of the 90s, Patriots now, etc.

    I agree that Shaney has a good post here. Although, with Shane, you must read behind the lines. He is not an Alabama fan, he is an Auburn hater. Anything AU does is cheating, their coach sucks, their athletes are subpar, they have no winning tradition (although for that is in question over the past 10 years), and now their offensive scheme (spread and wild hog offense) sucks. What Shane doesnt realize is that the proset offense only works with the best O line. With the loss of Andre Smith and Caldwell, DJ Fluker better be all he has been touted. I dont really care who Trent Richardson is etc, without a line, you must be either Bo Jackson or Barry Sanders to run in the SEC.

    So keep talking smack Shane cause we will see how good Bama really is. If the bowl games were a foreshadow, then being stomped by a Mountain West team (that Michigan nearly beat at the beginning of the year) does not bode well.

    Lets be plain here, Alabama without one O line player got their ass handed to them by an “inferior” spread team. Do you like apples? Well, how do you like them apples.

  18. 22

    bamahate, the Mountain West team beat an Alabama team that completely shut down and shut out the mighty tigahs 36-0 with the second youngest team in the country. With a domination like that with this young team you had better worry about how your own team will “bode”. How do you like them apples? bwahahahahaha


  19. 23

    Bamaman…..I think your putting just a wee bit too much importance in the tides win over a 5 and 7 Auburn team that was the worst in at least a decade. Don’t get me wrong, I would be proud to beat my archrival, but put it in context.

  20. 24

    Is this an Auburn website? Man, Shane can bring all the lunatic fringe Auburn fans together. He must be striking a nerve in some people. Keep up the good work Shane!

  21. 25


  22. 27

    Bamasgreat, the context as I stated was due to the fact that an Aub was on a Bama website attempting to brag about a Mountain West team beating us after what we did to Aub. What the idiot fails to see is just how much further down it puts Aub in the pecking order after what we did to Aub. And the “importance” of the win was not that it was just a win, it was an embarassment to Aub, it’s Aub problem that they were a 5 and 6 team at the time. All you Aubs can do is bring up 1 of 2 teams that beat one of the youngest teams in the country (see above post) to try and feel better about your loser program and the hiring of an even worse loser head coach. Get used to fighting with Troy for second place in this state.

  23. 28

    Thanks woodie! It really means a lot coming from a fine outstanding Auburn man like yourself. You really got me. You showed your great intelligence to everyone here. Please come back again, and tell us more about how you really feel.

  24. 29

    oh yeah, and tell your brother/daddy LARRY C I said hello and I wish he would come back and see us.

  25. 31

    We can probably get you a name and number if you think it would improve the performance of Aub’s players. They sure need it. 36-0

  26. 32

    Well, well, well. It looks as if what I have been saying for the past several months is finally coming to light. When the NCAA figures out all the well orchestrated stonewalling by the university of bammers (from top down), it ain’t gonna be pretty. Ignoring the NCAA inquiry during the pursuit of another first class recruiting class will not be seen as an “extenuating circumstance.”
    Remember that bubble bursting I predicted last week? Hey bamaman, I got a suggestion for you regarding that comment about fighting for second place in the state with Troy. You may soon have to squint real hard and pretend those Troy state maroon jerseys are the mighty crimson tide. You put that in your pipe and smoke it amigo.

  27. 33

    I’ve got something you can put in your pipe and smoke peckerhead. Nothing will come of this as no financial gain was received over the textbooks, so dream on. Bama can never catch Aub which is as you know the third most probation riddled school in the country and yes you will continue to fight with Troy over second place in this state.

  28. 34

    You think this is just about a few textbooks??? You wish (or hope.) YOU peckerwoods have been the ones denying this whole “rumor” the entire time. I think my credibility is bit more reliable than you crimson koolaid drinkers. What’s the reason for the university ignoring these inquiries? Were they buying time? Did they have to clean house before the inevitable investigation? Was the “most powerful man in sports” complicit? As for the financial gain, were the players taking part simply to help better their education? Does a Mobile booster club have anything to do with the investigation??
    Boy, I just don’t know. 😉

  29. 35
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Uh….Not trying to be a doosh bama. But monetary gain WAS recieved from the textbooks. The whole problem with it is that the University possibly knew that they were getting 2 sets of books . One for the class, one for the bookstore.

    Am I right?

  30. 36

    Oh yea…..did several bammer assistants see the writing on the wall?????
    I mean, why wouldn’t you want to hang around the “most powerful man in sports” at a “perennial national championship contender” program and pad your resume for a HC position???? These are all perplexing questions, that need answers.

    They will be forthcoming.

  31. 37

    Ballplay, when the university knew it, they self reported it. What are you talking about one for class and one for the book store? You don’t know that and for that, you are being a doosh. These players were letting other students use the books is what was reported and not for selling them. Once the NCAA determined this, they allowed the players to play again.

    am I wrong?

  32. 39
    Ty from T-Town

    The Book Of War:

    Shane, it appears to me that the Capstoner’s have somehow missed the premise of offence. You can name your offencive strategy any damn thing you want, but you still end up at the mercy of The Book Of War.
    Coach Bryant read it, Coach Stallings read it, and there is a copy of it in Coach Sabin’s office. You can bet your ass that every SEC coach, dug through that ancient text looking for every advantage that they could get.

    The subject of offence has now become as complicated as Chinese algebra, but the end result still hinges on the ability of an offence; taking advantage of their opponents weakness on defence.

    The clock of a football game, no longer gives an advantage to siege mentality.
    unfortunately this years Sugar Bowl seems to be a prime example of an occasionally anominally.

    Shane, I totally agree with the bottom line. Player’s make plays that ultimately become the difference in every game.
    It’s business as usual in T-Town.
    We are only content, when we are number one.
    Time will tell.

  33. 40
    The BAMMER from St. Clair

    YO! TY, it appears that you are referring to the book known as “The Art Of War” by Sun Tzu. War and football are of course two different things and I DO agree that several successful coaches have gleaned knowledge from this text, but by and large coaches are creatures of PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY & HABIT. There are coaches that do try and are sometimes successful at exploiting the weaknesses of opponents. One such individual is Steve Spurrier; he ALWAYS TESTS who he considers to be the weakest link(s) of an opposing secondary. However, this AIN’T ALWAYS THE CASE! When I say that coaches are creatures of philosophy & habit, Spurrier also falls into that category! No matter who the coach is, ultimately HIS overall style and personality tends to be the type of team that he fields. Coaches are human, and we ALL have our “comfort zones.” When anybody is forced out of that “zone,” things get “dicey” for the individuals involved. Anyway, you DO raise an interesting but very debatable subject. The truly successful coach is able to change his “mode of operations” on the playing field (usually during practice leading up to the opponent) and catches whoever they’re playing off-guard. Coach Bryant was good at this, but EVEN THE BEAR was a victim at times of his own tendencies concerning the overall philosophy that his teams possessed.

  34. 41

    Bamasgreat, the “am I wrong” response if you can read, was in response to your lover Ballplay’s post above mine that said “am I right”. Like I said, regardless of what the NCAA does for this horrible crime, we will still be at your house in Nov. for your next ass whipping. . . . peckerhead

  35. 42

    Enough of the 36-0, “ass whipping in Nov”, try as you might, keep trying to ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the chatroom. Why not try and give plausible answers to the questions I posed, especially the last.
    You might then find your way out of the crimson colored fog your in.

  36. 43

    Will the next installment of Shane’s column be titled “Is being a repeat NCAA Offender worth it?”

  37. 44

    No, it will be “Can any University possibly catch Auburn in number of times to be put on probation for cheating” currently holding the title of number “3” of all time.

  38. 45

    Bamaman… about the two universities ranked ahead of Auburn, according to your info. You can’t even be funny without looking stupid. Typical bammer–focus on the past rather than what’s staring you in the face at the present.

  39. 46

    At the end of the day our two losses resulted in the fact that we couldnt stop Flordia and Utah because we couldnt defense the spread and the no huddle offense.

    They may not run the spread in the NFL but we arnt in the NFL and you can bet that a lot of teams we play next year will run the hurry up on us until we can defense the spread.

  40. 47
    Ty from T-Town

    Sun Tzu; was not from T-Town:

    Shane, since St.Clair broke the code;
    I might as well inform the capstoners; that Sun Tzu, ante the oriental dude selling those killer egg-rolls down on the strip by Hale’s Tavern.

    The University Of Alabama, has already nabbed that property; the same way that they nabbed the number one recruiting class again.

    I’ve got news for you goober-heads.
    “Money talks, and bull-shit walks.”
    It’s not show fun. it’s show business.
    The NCAA acronym will soon be basally controlled by our favorite acronym;

    It’s business as usual up here.
    I hope to see you at A-Day.

  41. 48
    The BAMMER from St. Clair

    YO! TY, what’s this about a “code” that I supposedly broke? (Ha Ha!) Seriously dude, some of the guys that post on this site (Barnies included) ARE INTELLIGENT and HAVE GONE TO COLLEGE! You couldn’t even get the name of a centuries-old text correct! While “The Art Of War” is a book that several coaches have probably read, it deals with WAR. It covers the advantages of TERRAIN on which a battle is fought, generals, supply lines, etc. I doubt very seriously that you have read it. There is knowledge that coaches and other leaders can glean from it and translate to their business strategies and personal lives, but COACHES tend to rely on WHAT HAS WORKED FOR THEM IN THE PAST. Once in a while you will see or hear about a coach that realized or realizes that something needed or needs to be changed and the changes were/are made. There are some “tried & true” methods that will NEVER BE ABANDONED, and good coaches are well aware of those.

  42. 50


  43. 51
    Ty from T-Town


    Shane, it appears to me that the retards here on the Comment Page of The Capstone Report; have some how failed to understand the satiracil nature of the

    St. Clair, was right. I just made that shit up.
    There is no book that will magically make you win. Such a book does not exist.
    The fact that I went to Vandy and eventually purchased a PHD from The University Of Mexico; in Mexico City, should have no barring on the obvious.

    It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

    Shane was damn sure right about one thing. Time will tell.

  44. 52
    Shane Crack Korn

    NCAA RECORD: uat stands before the Infraction Committee four times in fourteen years. That record my friends will never be broken.

  45. 53
    Bama Fan

    Shane Crack Korn… Bama will break the NCAA record within the year, when they go before the committe for a 5th time in 15 years…

  46. 54
    Big Ed

    That’s right, Shane, the Spread is inferior, which is why Florida can’t beat UAT and why they also have so few players projected in the draft, and why Tebow is not even being considered by the NFL.

    All of which is baloney,under the right circumstances. Just because Auburn sucked last year, doesn’t mean they will suck in 2012; even your brother in-law (Paul) is picking Ole Miss to beat UAT next year: and I believe they run a version of the “Spread”. But I argue with ignorance… so I’ll defer to the others who, like me, and you, don’t know anything about predicting sporting events, either…

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