Shane: The pro-style advantage

By Shane from Centerpoint

There are roughly seventeen–hundred roster positions available in the National Football League every year when the season kicks-off. Competition for those coveted slots is increasingly becoming more demanding on young athletes, and NFL scrutiny can be humbling. Since playing in the NFL seems to be the end-dream of every young college player who straps on the headgear, any advantage gained while in school stands to enhance the player’s chances and give him an edge. With that said, and in light of recent comments by some professional scouts, I am convinced that the “spread” offense is a complete waste of an offensive player’s time as it applies to preparing him for competition on the next level.

Perhaps the best example in the history of college football is Florida’s Tim Tebow. In spite of the fact that Tebow has proven to be one of the finest college quarterbacks to ever grace the gridiron, there are major questions among scouts concerning his NFL draft-ability at the position.

In reality, Tebow is being black–balled to a large degree because of the type offense Florida uses. Gator’s coach Urban Meyer runs a “spread” attack, mainly based on speed and deception. His offense simply will not translate to the professional game.

Meyer’s recent actions – putting Tebow under center to modify an offensive attack that he both patented and loves – stands as concrete proof that Urban knows other programs (that promote the pro-style attack) would afford Tim a better opportunity for success in the NFL draft. The difference could mean millions of dollars in the end.

Those who follow recruiting will remember that Mike Shula (a professional quarterback–coach) almost convinced Tim to sign with him at Alabama. Shula teaches an “old-school” form that serves as excellent preparation for the League.

I feel sure that Tebow would be drafted higher next year if he had played at Alabama for both Shula and current Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. Both men are totally pro-oriented in their offensive philosophy.

By the way, I do believe that Tim can do the job. After all, he is “Superman”. However, I don’t believe that he has been formally trained to succeed in the professional ranks. He hasn’t had enough live repetition to hone the skills required to handle a system that “eats” quarterbacks. As a result of his lack of traditional training, he is destined to become a “project”. If he expects to step in to a starting role, he’s in for a rude awakening.

I refer to Lindy’s Southeastern 2009 College Football Preview for a few quotes on Tebow from an unnamed draft expert: “As great as he is as a college quarterback, there are major questions about him on the next level. Can he take snaps from center? What about proper footwork? How strong is the arm? Do I think he can play quarterback in the next level? Yes. But it will take a couple of years work to get him out of the bad habits that Florida offense has instilled in him.” Ouch! That guy didn’t exactly endorse Urban’s “spread” attack. Did he?

Do you get the point of this article yet? Let me go ahead and clarify my message.

If an aspiring young athlete wants a legitimate shot at success in the big leagues, especially if he plays offensive football, he should choose a program that operates from the pro-style set.

The coaches who use the “spread” system rack-up thousands of yards and they do win games. They also rake in millions of dollars. But they don’t provide their players with any instruction concerning the specific techniques that must be used in a league where precision means survival.

The Bottom line: If I were a “five star” college prospect, or his parents, I would strongly consider the offensive system before the school when looking for the best option for my NFL future.

Three to four years in a pro-style attack like Nick Saban’s is probably going to give an offensive player the edge over someone who chooses to play in a system like Urban Meyer’s.
—Shane writes a weekly column for the Call News and the Capstone Report.