While most of you are stuck at home today, take a look at the Notre Dame vs Tulsa game on Hulu and the Hawaii vs Tulsa bowl game on youtube. I’ve watched several Tulsa games so far and ND is a particularly good example of the Tulsa running game. Hawaii is a better example of their passing offense and how they attack multiple levels. You will see things that make you think they are running a complex system, but in reality it is quite simple. There are only around 4 or 5 core running plays in the offense, and everything else is window dressing to make it look more complicated to the defense.
After viewing them, I would suggest that the fly sweep package is going to become a problem for our opponents, and I’d be willing to bet that Joe Craig and Mike Bellamy could really slice up some defenses with it. I also doubt that we’ll be giving the ball to Ellington all day. I think it is more likely we end up with a few 700 yard rushers than a 1000 yard rusher, and one may be a WR. Those of us screaming for them to feed Andre the ball will be disappointed.
There are various things about this kind of offense that require you to change your points of evaluation in its success and the success of the team this fall too:
- Teams that run such high-tempo offenses do not care at all about time of possession. It is an entirely meaningless statistic now (as if it wasn’t before). All they care about is the # of plays, which should go from the 60s to the mid 80s.
- Yards per play becomes a more important measure when you run this system.
- Fumbles will go up. Possibly way up. We’ve not been a big fumbling team but that perception can change quickly when you run this system.
- What frequently goes unmentioned is its affect on your defense. Your D now must get in better shape. They face this in practice for one, and so they practice less against pro-style offense each week. The offense may not run more than 0:45 off the clock in a 3 & out next season, so your D is going constantly back and forth to the field. This means that the unit of measuring defensive success has to change somewhat too. Yards per play becomes an important measure for them as well, because they could be on the field quite a bit more. Total yardage allowed will go up, as will points allowed.
We already expected to be worse on defense next year with the losses we’ll have, so with Clemson going to a high-tempo system, expect them to be worse than they would be otherwise. I already expected us to be in the 26-40th rank in total defense in 2011, and us going to this kind of offense only solidifies that belief.
When you think about that, consider whether Steele or any good coordinator will want to stay here for any length of time.