FSU's 2010 Offense - From Top 10 to #1?

Prior to the bowl games, FSU's offense ranked #28 in terms of total offensive production for FBS schools, but #8 in FEI offensive rankings (FEI takes into account SOS and eliminates "garbage-time" numbers, a superior metric). Led for most of the season by RS junior QB Christian Ponder, the Noles offense demonstrated prowess in the zone run attack, as well as consistently reeling off gains from bubble screens, short, and intermediate passes. Teams that had their CBs play off the ball got bubble screened to death. Teams that dropped down a safety (e.g., Cover 3) saw deep outs and smash routes that took advantage of CBs playing to keep WRs from beating them deep. While the running game may have been surprisingly quiet through the 1st half of the schedule, RB Jermaine Thomas made the most of 4 of his last 6 games by running for 575 yards on 92 carries for an impressive 6.3 YPC and 6 TDs.

The offense looks to return every starter, except WR Richard Goodman and TE Caz Piurowski. (Here's a quick aside about the correlation between offensive line total starts and team performance) However, both Goodman and Piurowski were injured and were replaced by midway through the season. Think of this: FSU's bowl game offense put up 415 yards on 70 snaps, good for almost 6 YPC, with contributions from 1 senior (WR Rod Owens) and a RS freshman QB. To say next year's offense will be goodgreat is an understatement.

I propose our offense could go to #1 by shear improvement in execution and elite OL play next year alone. But I think one little gameplay change by the offense could really crank things up: A no-huddle offense.

The no-huddle approach is used for several reasons by spread offense football teams.

1. It makes the defense align immediately without disguise. The offense at the line of scrimmage in a formation with the entire 25 seconds left on the 25-second clock. The defense must align because the offense could potentially snap the football at any time. This allows the offensive coaches to have basically the whole 25 seconds to diagnose and determine what the defense will do. It also allows them plenty of time to make the appropriate checks.

2. It takes the pressure off the quarterback because the offensive coaches have time and the mechanics to make the checks. The quarterback's responsibility is lessened. All he has to do is indicate to his team at the line of scrimmage what check the coaches have chosen and execute.

3. The no-huddle takes defenses out of their comfort zone. The no-huddle offense bothers defenses because they can't huddle to call the defensive play. This means every defensive player has to look to the sideline to get the defensive signal from a coach. Normally, when defensive team's can huddle only one player has to look over for the signal and he relays it verbally to the rest of the team in the huddle. There is a much greater chance for error when all 11 defenders have to get the call from the sideline. Another disadvantage is that it gives the offensive coaches a much easier chance to pick up and read defensive signals that are being communicated from the sideline.

4. The no-huddle can control the game tempo and substitutions. With the offense at the line of scrimmage, there is always the possibility that the offense will immediately snap the ball and go into a hurry-up mode. That makes it difficult for the defensive team to substitute personnel and also difficult to disguise their coverages.

(entire article here)

Another good read here, a no-huddle offense can increase total snaps per game by using less of the playclock. This year, we needed long drives from our offense to control the clock and keep our defense off the field. If we can get even some average play from our defense next year, we should should consider maximizing our offensive production, especially at home games (where fan noise wouldn't interfere with our no-huddle play-calling). With a senior and extremely bright QB returning next year (and hopefully some semblance of a defense), I'd like to see us get away from carrying the defense and going for maximum yards and points per game.

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