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Tony Franklin On The Spread 

1. The spread is a formation, not an offense: “Some people spread the field to run it, like West Virginia. Others spread the field to pass it, like Texas Tech. It’s what you do after you spread the field that defines your offense. We spread it to figure out what is going to work in any particular game and then we just do that. At Troy we basically ran it half the time and threw it half the time. We just always took what the defense was giving us. (Note: Troy rolled up 488 yards in a 44-34 loss to Georgia last November). Our plan at Auburn is to throw first and run second but if we find a running play that works, we’re going to do that. I’m not hung up on who gets the ball and how we do it. I just want to score points.”

2. Tempo is everything: “A big part of this offense is to dictate the tempo of the game to the defense. We are no huddle all the time and will play at three speeds: Super fast, normal fast, and freeze. At super fast we snap the ball as soon as the official lets us. At normal fast we might snap it with 17 or 18 seconds left on the play clock. At freeze we might wait until there are only two or three seconds left on the clock. But the idea is to make the defense think that you’re going to snap the ball immediately every time you run a play. That way it’s hard for them to get into a rhythm and to make adjustments on the fly.”

3. The goal is to make the defense tired: “In football the defensive linemen are better athletes than the offensive linemen. That’s just the way it is. But you turn it into an even match by running a lot of plays that force the defensive front to run a lot to get to the ball. Early in the game they are feeling frisky and they will chase after everything. Some plays look like they are not working but they are because the defense is running a long way just to make the tackle.

“Most of the big plays in this offense come in the second and fourth quarters after the defense has gotten tired. This works very well in high school and at the Division II and Division I-AA level of college football because at that level teams don’t have the numbers on defense. It’s more difficult at this level because the good teams are so deep in defensive linemen. But in games where I knew we were overmatched physically, I spent the first quarter and third quarter just running plays hoping to get their defense tired. Then if we could just keep it close we might have a chance in the fourth quarter.”

4. The biggest misconception about the spread? “It is that the players who run this offense, particularly the linemen, are not tough. Go look at film of West Virginia’s offensive line or Texas Tech’s. Those guys are tough. People think guys aren’t tough because we’re not lining up in the I-formation and blowing people off the ball. But I’ve seen a lot of tough coaches get fired because they couldn’t score any points. Toughness is an attitude that good coaches teach their players. We have one of the top offensive line coaches in the country (Hugh Nall). Our guys are going to be very tough.”

5. Players love this offense: “This is really simple. If guys are going to invest all this time at practice, when the game comes they want to touch the ball and make plays. All this offense does is put the ball in the hands of guys who can make plays in enough space to where if they make a defender miss, they have a chance to score. We make a lot of changes at the line of scrimmage and so the defense has to change with us. If the defense misses a signal, we might walk in for an easy score. If we miss a signal then we just might have a bad play but we live to run the next play. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Offensive players love that.”

4 Responses to “Tony Franklin On The Spread”

  • Just when I was starting to get a warm fuzzy about our offense, I have to hear our coordinator say something stupid like “I was wasting plays hoping to tire out the other teams D line.” This aint the Sun Belt Conference. Yeah Troy might have scored on UGA but who won that game. Plus, when the other team (UGA) knows you suck (Troy)they can play cover 2 all game, let you score slowly if at all, in order to prevent the big play and assure victory with superior talent. So big whoop. If you think LSU’s defense is going to be tired or UGA defense is going to be tired, take a look at our defense after you spend the 1st and 3rd quarters going 3 and out because you were “just running plays to get their defense tired.” THROW FIRST AND RUN SECOND?!?! With a new starter at QB, no prove WRs, 3 proven TBs and a beastly D. I just an idiot with a computer but hold on to your hats Tiger fans, this could be a long season. WDE!

  • First Tony Franklin Offense game for Auburn = season-high 423 yards against Clemson.

    This is July, the time to be optomistic; not hating on a guy who the only thing he has done was put in an offense in 2 weeks and beat one of the best teams in the nation. If he wants to make defenses tired and gain yards at the same time, that sounds good to me. War Damn Eagle, LET’S GET TO ATLANTA!

  • A no huddle 3 and out takes less than 1 minute off the clock. That is a nightmare for a defense. Hopefully, five years and three NCs from now we can all look back at these fears as unfounded. I like to be optomistic too. It is much more fun. However, failing to acknowledge percieved weaknesses in strategy is the kind of stuff that gets you beat by Louisiana Monroe (or South Florida), and personally, as an avid fan, I think if your not a little scared of LSU, UT, and UGA this year, then your just not paying attention. WDE, Lets get to Atlanta.

  • Our offense wasn’t doing ANYTHING last year. Our Defense won our games for us. I would gladly switch to anything if it puts more points up on the board. The whole point of the spread is to get the ball in the hands of the right people so they can make people miss in space. It’s a lot harder to do that when every team knows what your doing and are lining up eight and nine guys on you. This offense is going to be great to watch. There are numerous plays we can run that we wouldn’t have even seen in the west coast O. Our D is gonna be on point as always with Savage in the secondary, Blackmon at LB, and Marks and Coleman on the line. Of course we should be concerned with LSU-UT-UGA there are the usual suspects…but we have them all at home this year! HOW CAN YOU NOT BE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THIS TEAM? A new era has arrived. WAR DAMN EAGLE

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