Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mailbag question: Route running

Posted at 8:00am -- 4/29/2010

Mailbag question: Route running

After the 2008 season, asserted that Coach Rod's route combinations for receivers were obsolete. What is your take on Smartfootball's assessment?

The Trojan package, presumably, updated some routes for the tight ends. Have you seen any route changes for the slots or split ends?

Thanks again for all the superb info you guys provide.



Thanks for the question and the kind comment Joe.

The once heavily ballyhooed "Trojan package" was advertised as a big addition to the Michigan passing game implemented last spring.

It was, in our opinion, Michigan's number one passing scheme until Carlos Brown was injured.

Coach Rod is on record as saying the passing game will expand when the players can successfully execute what is currently on the table. Michigan, in this year’s spring scrimmage game used the same routes and packages as seen for the last two springs. It is not a stretch to see the routes and the stem tree of this offense and pronounce the offense as without sophistication. On the other hand, the fly/jet/streak/run past the fourth bush on the right has been a simple play for decades, but has evaporated from the scene lately in Ann Arbor.

Every offensive assistant coach and Coach Rod in the past and now in the present are on record as saying this is a simple offense with very few plays, to allow for consistent execution fast play. It is certainly unsure as to whether or not obsolete is the right word, uncomplicated and purposely basic may be better descriptors.

Coach Dews put forth some discussion this spring about what the staff would like to add for this fall, and Coach Rod would offer counterpoint concerning what would/could/should be taken out of the playbook to insure a high level of execution.

The name of the game for this staff is to execute a limited number of plays perfectly and the coaches hold the position that such skilled execution will overcome having a bigger playbook for game day.

Having stated the defense of the simplistic approach above, one staff member of GBMW believes this thinking is flawed and perhaps fatal, unless the talent simply overwhelms the opponent. Michigan has struggled in the second half offensively, and one overriding flaw is that simplicity provides little opportunity for halftime adjustment and a Plan B to be put in place.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!


BLUEMAX79 said...

what specifically made that Trojan package work ONLY when Carlos Brown was available?

I do agree being too simple makes it pretty easy for the opponents DC to shut down our second half attacks. We are not going ot out athlete many teams in the Big Ten or in Bowl games when they have weeks to prepare for our simplistic approach to offense.
was really hoping we would go Oklahoma a bit more in the spread.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the thickness of Michigan's current playbook compares to that of one of Bo's teams in the early 70s? My guess would be they are about the same.

Anonymous said...

Don't we have some of the best talent and coaching in the country? Then why must we dumb it down for them? Why can't we execute plays as complex as other top schools?

Also, don't we want to help these players develop and grow? I thought the way to do that was to challenge them to improve, not to lower the bar. What happens when they reach the NFL and don't even know how to execute a standard college playbook?

Voice of Reason said...

Interesting questions. I know some things have changed in football over the years but have they changed where they really matter? The late great football coach Vince Lombardi once said that he simplified his playbook to about 46plays. When questioned about his opponents knowing and being prepared for his team because of this he scoffed and said that he would even give his opponents a copy of his playbook.

He said that he wanted his team to practice and be able to execute certain plays so well that no one would be able to stop them even when they knew what was coming. For Coach Lombardi, he record spoke for itself, he was very successful with this. They seemed to out work their opponents. I doubt if his players [per man] were actually better than his opponents [per man] but they were a very disciplined, high character, and well coached team. Maybe this is what Coach Rod is trying to do here.

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