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Does the spread offense prepare a QB for the pros?


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Pryor's commitment a sad day for spread

Posted: March 27, 2008

Say this much for young Terrelle Pryor: The high school phenom already has turned the college football world sideways.


And the impact is more significant than you think. On the surface, there are bragging rights and championship dreams. When Pryor, the nation's No. 1 quarterback recruit, finally chose Ohio State over Michigan last week, it was a huge boost for the Buckeyes' national title hopes and a kick in the groin to Rich Rodriguez's teardown project at Michigan.

Now come closer, everyone. See the big picture. When Pryor said playing at Ohio State would prepare him better for the NFL, the spread option offense -- the fad that has overtaken college football -- took a haymaker to the nose.

This isn't about coaching ability. Ohio State's Jim Tressel and Rodriguez are among the game's best offensive minds and could teach your yellow Lab to run an 8-yard drag route.

The point is this: The spread offense -- the scheme that is nothing more than the triple option from the shotgun and the scheme Rodriguez has used to change the face of the game -- doesn't prepare quarterbacks for the next level. When was the last time a triple option quarterback made it big in the NFL? Here's a hint: never.

It hasn't helped that Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick three years ago by the 49ers, still is struggling and is a year or two away from the dreaded b-word. Or that Vince Young, one of the most dynamic players in college football history, regressed in his second season in the league after teams adjusted to his running ability.

The NFL is a play-action world. You run the ball, you throw the ball off play-action. In the spread, the quarterback never turns his back to the defense, never loses sight of the free safety, never has to adjust. In the NFL, those 2 seconds of change in a five-step drop are more like 2 hours for quarterbacks who haven't done it.

Just last week, an NFL scout told me that West Virginia quarterback Pat White will be a "terrific wide receiver" at the next level. Scouts have similar thoughts about ubertalented Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. And record-setting quarterback Colt Brennan, once labeled a potential first-round draft pick, now appears, at best, a late-round pick next month.

See the big picture, everyone? Terrelle Pryor did, and he's just a high school kid.

Matt Hayes is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at mhayes@sportingnews.com.

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IMO this guy hit the nail on the head. Spread option QBs are more of QB/RB hybrids, instead of a dropback passing quarterback.

And watch Chase Daniels stock fall far because he runs the spread option... he might even fall all the way to the 5th like Colt Brennan.

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Great,great article.

I've been saying that forever on here about spread QB's. That offesne does nothing whatsoever to prepare QB's for the next level. And the proof is in the pudding.

And to all you Tebow lovers who want him under center, I hope you read that last bolded sentence. B/c it's the truth! He's gonna be a TE or FB on the next level.

Thanks for posting that, Brook.

Matt Hayes knows his stuff. But has he ever eaten crow for picking Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl over Georgia?

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Serge Storms (3/27/2008)
Even the regular spread is a little scary. Anything that isn't a conventional dropback system means that the quarterback is going to have to learn how to move around in the pocket and find targets all over again.

Well, some teams like the Pats and whoever Martz is coaching in a given year, basically run a spread. That is why the spread can't be discounted. As for the option, it will never happen except on the occasional trick play.

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