Sunday, October 02, 2005

Alabama showed the option is dead!

Over on the Florida message board, the Auburn message board and heck ... even the GT board (i.e - all over the internet), there has been discussion today that Alabama's woodshedding of Florida proved that Urban Meyer's fancy spread option just won't work in the SEC. As AUHank on the Auburn board succintly put it: "Florida's offense is the biggest joke, the option hasn't worked in the SEC since the early '80s." That's not even touching - which already is proclaiming "the Honeymoon is over."

There's been a lot of dissent in the southern football fanbases about the hype that Florida has received for hiring Meyer, and to some extent the idea that "West Coast" football is better because of these fancy offenses. Boise State getting drilled between the hedges, and now this loss by Florida are being viewed as the rallying point for the idea that you have to play smash mouth football in the SEC/ACC or you can't win - because the defenses are just to good. A whole lot of the old guard SEC fans enjoyed watching "The Tahd" roll it up on Meyer yesterday, the right order of things was restored.

Well, I gotta take exception with the idea that Meyer's offense won't work in the SEC. See, I remember the option working pretty darn well against SEC defenses much more recently than the mid-80's, unless Tommie Frazier running wild in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl against Florida, with an option offense that was downright prehistoric compared to Meyer's is simply a figment of my imagination. That game was 62-24. Two years later they ran the same option offense against Tennessee in the Orange Bowl to the tune of 42-17. Don't tell me the option offense won't work against SEC defenses, because those Nebraska teams shredded two very good defenses in those games.

(This guy had some success running the option against SEC defenses)

Lots of offenses work in college football, and really they can all be dominating at times. Spurrier won with his crazy Fun-N-Gun, Osborne won with a brutally efficient and punishing option attack, Carroll is winning with a modern pro-style attack in L.A, Saban won with ground oriented ball control offense. All of those teams did share some characteristics though, among those being great talent on offense and strong offensive lines. Yesterday, Florida's offensive line got absolutely manhandled by Alabama, and that was all she wrote. Absolutely no offense looks good when you lose the battle at the line of scrimmage on every play, and until Florida fixes their protection issues, they will continue to struggle. When (or if) it gets fixed, the offense will look great and Meyer will be a genius again.

In short, the people jumping on the "new fangled offenses mean teams are so much better" bandwagon (here's looking at you, and you) are just as wrong as the people sticking to the "3 yards and a cloud of dust is the only way to win" crowd that is quickly throwing Meyer under the bus over the past 48 hours. You can win with a number of offenses in college football, it's part of what makes it so exciting and unpredicatable to follow. Meyer is going to be fine at Florida once he gets his talent in place and his o-line shored up, just as Osborne was fine at Nebraska and Spurrier was fine at Florida previously.


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