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Thread: What Makes Tedford's Offense So Complicated?

  1. #1

    What Makes Tedford's Offense So Complicated?

    I have always wondered about this. We all know the system is complex, but what is it that makes it so difficult?

    Is it the number of plays in the playbook? The reads the QB is required to make? The pre-snap reads and audibles required of the QB? The option routes the WRs have to run? All of the above?

    I have read a bunch of opinions that included some of the reasons listed above, but I don't think I have come across a definitive answer.

  2. #2
    It's written in Sanskrit

  3. #3
    True Blue Golden Bear
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    It's that gigantic playcard.

  4. #4
    You must not have watched the Washington game. Pretending you have an offense when you don't....that's complicated.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by bear1027 View Post
    What Makes Tedford's Offense So Complicated?
    QB's with low football IQ's. Sub-20 wonderlics.

  6. #6
    He has 50 different ways to run the same goddamm play, that's why. It looks complicated until you've seen it for a few seasons, then the good coaches start to look for all the little keys that give the play away, regardless of how the formation starts out.

    Here's an example: Whenever we went to a tight, unbalanced formation this season it was almost always a running play. Not rocket science here--bring up a safety and stack the box.

    (I was a defensive player. I notice these things, and I am obviously not alone.)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GldnBear71 View Post
    He has 50 different ways to run the same goddamm play, that's why. It looks complicated until you've seen it for a few seasons, then the good coaches start to look for all the little keys that give the play away, regardless of how the formation starts out.

    Here's an example: Whenever we went to a tight, unbalanced formation this season it was almost always a running play. Not rocket science here--bring up a safety and stack the box.

    (I was a defensive player. I notice these things, and I am obviously not alone.)
    GldnBear71 has it right.

    From what I can see the philosophy Tedford uses is that he wants to run first and only pass if the running game is stopped. The running offense actually isn't very complex. Even with Marshall its a zone blocking scheme where the O-line has areas of responsibility that change depending on the direction of the run.

    However, basic zone blocking without a lot of misdirection becomes very predictable, Oregon gets around this by running an option offense where the O-line just blocks their zones and the QB and his options make their run route decisions after the snap of the ball. Tedford tries to get around this by having multiple formations, which basically are an attempt to disguise the playh before the snap. Of course, all this does is force the offense to learn extra formations while not actually getting them all that much better at running the plays themselves.

    On passing it gets worse. From what I can tell the pass blocking and the QB's targets are somewhat dependent on the defense formation. Rather than having a simple system where you come to the line and everyone knows the routes and blocking, both the line captain and the QB are calling out the variants to the play at the LOS. Back when Longshore was the QB there were multiple instances where he read the defense one way and the WR read it differently. One of Tedford's msot common excuses back then for the poor performance of the passing offense was that the WR's weren't running the right routes on their reads.

    All of this makes the offense very complex. The problem is that its like bringing a chessboard to a Texas Hold'em Tournament. Tedford is playing the wrong game against an opponent that usually completely ignores all of the gimmicks and diversions. The bubble screens are a great example. Go back and rewatch the Washingtom game. Every bubble screen is run when Cal starts with all the WRs on the field on one side of the formation. Then pay attention to the defense. If Cal lines up like that, the DBs will often cheat towards the LOS because they know that Cal throws screens from that formation often.

    I said elsewhree and will say it again. Tedford needs to simplify the offense.

    No more than 5 basic formations
    50-60 plays, all must be runable form at least 3 of the basic formations.
    No option routes for the receivers, they always come to the LOS with a single route to run.

    Practice them until the team is perfect and all passing route timings are down.
    Then set up the offense where the QB has a simple set of checkdowns and always has easy to call audibles should the defense be lined up perfectly to stop the called play.

    And shorten the time to get new plays in. Cal seems to take 30-35 seconds to get the play in and sometimes doesn't break the huddle until their are 10 seconds left on the play clock. Cal needs to work to always be able to get the play off by then. Half the reason we suck in the 4th quarter now is that we don't exactly tire out the opposiing teams defense. Heck, we give them 30-40 seconds of rest after each play. Just about every announcing team talking about Oregon notes that their get a play off in 15 seconds or less offense tends to exhaust defenses over the course of a game.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mvargus View Post
    GldnBear71 has it right.

    From what I can see the philosophy Tedford uses is that he wants to run first and only pass if the running game is stopped. The running offense actually isn't very complex. Even with Marshall its a zone blocking scheme where the O-line has areas of responsibility that change depending on the direction of the run.

    However, basic zone blocking without a lot of misdirection becomes very predictable, Oregon gets around this by running an option offense where the O-line just blocks their zones and the QB and his options make their run route decisions after the snap of the ball. Tedford tries to get around this by having multiple formations, which basically are an attempt to disguise the playh before the snap. Of course, all this does is force the offense to learn extra formations while not actually getting them all that much better at running the plays themselves.

    On passing it gets worse. From what I can tell the pass blocking and the QB's targets are somewhat dependent on the defense formation. Rather than having a simple system where you come to the line and everyone knows the routes and blocking, both the line captain and the QB are calling out the variants to the play at the LOS. Back when Longshore was the QB there were multiple instances where he read the defense one way and the WR read it differently. One of Tedford's msot common excuses back then for the poor performance of the passing offense was that the WR's weren't running the right routes on their reads.

    All of this makes the offense very complex. The problem is that its like bringing a chessboard to a Texas Hold'em Tournament. Tedford is playing the wrong game against an opponent that usually completely ignores all of the gimmicks and diversions. The bubble screens are a great example. Go back and rewatch the Washingtom game. Every bubble screen is run when Cal starts with all the WRs on the field on one side of the formation. Then pay attention to the defense. If Cal lines up like that, the DBs will often cheat towards the LOS because they know that Cal throws screens from that formation often.

    I said elsewhree and will say it again. Tedford needs to simplify the offense.

    No more than 5 basic formations
    50-60 plays, all must be runable form at least 3 of the basic formations.
    No option routes for the receivers, they always come to the LOS with a single route to run.

    Practice them until the team is perfect and all passing route timings are down.
    Then set up the offense where the QB has a simple set of checkdowns and always has easy to call audibles should the defense be lined up perfectly to stop the called play.

    And shorten the time to get new plays in. Cal seems to take 30-35 seconds to get the play in and sometimes doesn't break the huddle until their are 10 seconds left on the play clock. Cal needs to work to always be able to get the play off by then. Half the reason we suck in the 4th quarter now is that we don't exactly tire out the opposiing teams defense. Heck, we give them 30-40 seconds of rest after each play. Just about every announcing team talking about Oregon notes that their get a play off in 15 seconds or less offense tends to exhaust defenses over the course of a game.
    +1 million Great post

  9. #9
    good posts but in reality it is very hard to really uinderstand if the offense is too complicated.

    But some tipoffs that i have seen.

    1. Mansion and Riley could not run the offense altho they have a total of 9 years in the program and seem to have the ability to throw completed passes.

    2. Cal has had a couple of QB's (longshore and Mansion) who have thrown off their back foot. that tells me they are confused at least when they do that. throwing off the back foot can occur due to a heavy rush but also to taking to long to read your pass keys.

    3. Inaccurate short passes also can be caused by reads that take too long.

    4. Cal's QB's, especially riley, seemed to have improved accuracy when they left the pocket which means they are not reading the whole field but only a small part usually.

    Its easy to conclude when you watch the Pass Offense that it is too complicated but its hard to actually prove. But when u look at the results its easy to conclude that something is wrong and complication seems the easiest answer.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by waltwa View Post
    good posts but in reality it is very hard to really uinderstand if the offense is too complicated.

    But some tipoffs that i have seen.

    1. Mansion and Riley could not run the offense altho they have a total of 9 years in the program and seem to have the ability to throw completed passes.

    2. Cal has had a couple of QB's (longshore and Mansion) who have thrown off their back foot. that tells me they are confused at least when they do that. throwing off the back foot can occur due to a heavy rush but also to taking to long to read your pass keys.

    3. Inaccurate short passes also can be caused by reads that take too long.

    4. Cal's QB's, especially riley, seemed to have improved accuracy when they left the pocket which means they are not reading the whole field but only a small part usually.

    Its easy to conclude when you watch the Pass Offense that it is too complicated but its hard to actually prove. But when u look at the results its easy to conclude that something is wrong and complication seems the easiest answer.
    Sometimes trying to confuse the defense only works to confuse the offense.

    I would love for an offense to be implemented that takes into account the fact that (1) college players will not have the time (they are students first) to master 10,000 different wrinkles that a pro player would be able to learn by dedicating all day, everyday and (2) while the offense may work for some NFL bound players, not all college players will be NFL bound.

    If the complex system (even if it would be great and almost unstoppable if mastered) is not working for a vast majority of the players (as history clearly indicates), I would hope that our coaches would keep it simple and easier to master for college students. Teaching calculus should be encouraged, but not in elementary school. These are college students who still need the basic foundation, and trying to have them become masters of a pro-style offense with all of the intricacies doesn't seem like a winning formula.

    Please keep it simple, and give our players an opportunity to succeed. Even if the defense knows what may be coming, it would be harder to stop if our players became experts at the simplified offense.

  11. #11
    drunkoski
    Guest
    how many over the middle reads does this offense have? crossing routes? do they exist in tedford's offense?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by GldnBear71 View Post
    He has 50 different ways to run the same goddamm play, that's why. It looks complicated until you've seen it for a few seasons, then the good coaches start to look for all the little keys that give the play away, regardless of how the formation starts out.

    Here's an example: Whenever we went to a tight, unbalanced formation this season it was almost always a running play. Not rocket science here--bring up a safety and stack the box.

    (I was a defensive player. I notice these things, and I am obviously not alone.)

    Good one. Here's another one: Cal QBs scan the field (the secondary, actually) pre-snap when it's gonna be a pass play. You can see this "key" clear as day. It's a dead giveaway for a pass play and then the secondary tightens up and some jump our routes or at least prevent WR separation.

    The only way to "play it off" is to have the QB do it all the time regardless of pass or running play, something Peyton Manning does with all his pre-snap gyrations and hand-motions.

    Tedford lives in a dark box blind-folded if he doesn't see the same things Joe 12-Pac can see with his own eyes on any given Saturday.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by waltwa View Post
    good posts but in reality it is very hard to really uinderstand if the offense is too complicated.

    But some tipoffs that i have seen.

    1. Mansion and Riley could not run the offense altho they have a total of 9 years in the program and seem to have the ability to throw completed passes.

    2. Cal has had a couple of QB's (longshore and Mansion) who have thrown off their back foot. that tells me they are confused at least when they do that. throwing off the back foot can occur due to a heavy rush but also to taking to long to read your pass keys.

    3. Inaccurate short passes also can be caused by reads that take too long.

    4. Cal's QB's, especially riley, seemed to have improved accuracy when they left the pocket which means they are not reading the whole field but only a small part usually.

    Its easy to conclude when you watch the Pass Offense that it is too complicated but its hard to actually prove. But when u look at the results its easy to conclude that something is wrong and complication seems the easiest answer.
    Another tipoff is when the coach believes it is so complicated that one of the first things he mentions about a QB is his "understanding."

    Another tipoff is when the coach only plays the QB with the most experience in the system, even when they are injured or otherwise struggling.

    However, the biggest tipoff that it is complicated is when the QBs say it is really complicated and that they have struggled with it.
    Last edited by calumnus; 11-29-2010 at 12:21 PM.

  14. #14

    One of the easiest things to do to spruce up the offense

    is to give the QB some dump off options. Everyone has mentioned that lack of dump-offs to the backs (not pre-planned swing passes that the whole defense sees coming), the lack of shallow drag routes and the lack of backs circling over the middle. Every time I looked up Saturday to see our receivers I only saw 1 or 2 running simple, deep, posts or streaks and everyone else in protection. Even Aaron Rodgers chastised the Green Bay coaches for not giving him any dump-off options. When Tedford first came here he talked about the importance of protecting the QB and so there was a lot of max-protect and moving pockets. The difference was we could power run and then play-fake. The play-fake passes with max-protect worked because the defense had to respect our running. Now, we don't play-fake well and we certainly don't reap the rewards of max-protect: our QB still gets hit and he is still rushed and he has no one to throw to. At least let him (and train him) dump the ball off if his first and/or second options are covered or he is hurried. Several short, easy completions would probably be good for his confidence too. (I know, I'm rehashing. Oh well.)

  15. #15
    I don't get it. How can this be so complicated that a Cal student cannot understand? I'm not saying it is not complicated. But, chemistry and physics are complicated, too, along with a large number of subjects that these students manage just fine.

    I think the problem with mastering the playbook lies with players who do not spend as much time, effort, and brain power on football as they do on their academic pursuits.

    I will admit I have not seen the playbook. But, I have a hard time imagining it is any harder to understand than a freshman chemistry text.

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