South Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Bobo thinks that the offensive push to run as many plays as possible has led to the degradation of some football fundamentals.
The ex-Colorado State head coach is entering his first year as South Carolina’s top offensive assistant in an SEC where offensive philosophies have evolved considerably since he was Georgia’s offensive coordinator in 2014. Teams like LSU and Alabama have overhauled their offensive styles and even Georgia made a coordinator change in the offseason after a season of stagnant offensive play.
During his news conference on Friday, Bobo, a former college quarterback, espoused the virtues of the offensive huddle. He said his teams will, at times, huddle up on offense in 2020 and that college teams’ desire to spend as little time as possible between plays had led to lower-quality aspects of the game.
“I think no-huddle football is very very effective, it stresses the defense, it allows you to sometimes what I call get cheap yards,” Bobo said. “Where guys don’t get lined up — but to me, football has fundamentally gone downhill because of playing so fast and guys don’t play the way they used to play all the time because of no-huddle in my opinion.”
The finer points of blocking have gone down, the finer points of tackling have gone down, the finer points of route running because you’ve got away with so much just by of going fast. We are going to go fast, and we are going to try to get some of those cheap yards and we’re going to try to catch defenses off balance, but at the same time, we’re going huddle and try to execute things to give us an advantage too.”
Teams have spread the field and tried to run a bunch of plays per game over the last 10-plus years because running more plays tends to work. Just take a look at Clemson’s 38-3 win over South Carolina in November of 2019. The Tigers ran 83 plays. South Carolina ran 53. Of course, the reasons for Clemson’s 35-point win aren’t as simple as “the Tigers ran 30 more plays,” but each additional offensive play a team can run in a game is an added scoring chance.
South Carolina was one of the faster offensive teams in college football a year ago as well. The Gamecocks ran 74 plays per game and ranked No. 26 in the country. That was up from under 69 plays per game in 2017.
Colorado State ran just over 72 plays per game in 2019. That was good enough to rank in the top half of college football. Bobo doesn’t seem likely to suddenly make USC’s offense the slowest in football, even if the huddle may be seen a lot more often in Columbia than it has in recent years.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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