February 26th, 2014 01:30 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, SEC
A hat tip to The Jackson Clarion-Ledger for uncovering an interesting nugget regarding spread offenses. And, no, this isn’t another up-tempo health argument, though one could probably spin it that way. (Every other number is being spun for or against up-tempo offenses these days.)
Bill Connelly of the site FootballStudyHall.com has attempted to determine which spread offenses are actually the “spreadiest” for lack of a better word. He’s used a simple technique — solo tackles. By his way of thinking, if spread offenses are designed to get their ballcarriers into more open space, the percentage of solo tackles made against a particular spread offense will give a clue as to the effectiveness of that offense’s scheme.
As he points out, defenses can also skew those numbers. ”A team that plays a soft, wide zone could swarm to the ball and make assisted tackles more than a Michigan State type that puts its defensive backs on islands more frequently.” Still, in terms of an interesting discussion, Connelly has created one.
Below are the ranks for the SEC’s squads in terms of being the “spreadiest.”
|National Rank||School||% Solo Tackles Against|
Spot the flaw? By this measure, Auburn would be just the eighth best team in the SEC at getting its players into space. Auburn came within one minute of winning the national championship.
Florida on the other hand, ranked fourth best in the league and 36th nationally in terms of spreading the field. By comparison, Oregon and Ohio State — one runs an uber-fast spread and the other’s spread is coached by former Gator coach Urban Meyer — ranked 48th and 49th nationally in terms of percentage-solo-tackles-against.
So this far from a perfect formula. It’s still an interesting concept, though.
And the fact that Alabama, LSU and Arkansas (whose players were gang-tackled more than any other school’s in America) are at the bottom of the SEC list does lend some credence to the exercise.
For the record, the SEC ranked eighth out of the 10 FBS conference in terms of spreadiness. Only Conference USA and the MAC saw lower percentages of solo-tackles-against.
Now, for those of you wanting to drag this into the up-tempo debate — as most up-tempo teams run a variation of the spread — it can be suggested that one-on-one solo tackles are less likely to produce injuries than gang tackles. We’re sure, in fact, that someone somewhere will try to make that point.
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