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Big Ten Offensive Formations and Adjustments For 2009

Here is a overarching look at the Big Ten's offensive formations, with some comments on which direction these offenses will be moving.

All my stats are from ...


Primary Formation, Trademark Plays

2008 Run/Pass%

2007 Run/Pass%

Differences in 2009?


Shotgun Spread... QB option, RB or 2 in backfield, deep seam routes, QB draw

53% run,    47% pass

64% run,    36% pass

New OC has said he won't tinker with offensive system much...OL and RB's must improve pass blocking...Coaches should ask Juice to make shorter, more efficient throws...


Pistol...Quick slants, option handoff, no huddle, off tackle run

54%run, 46%pass

50%run, 50%pass

No more Kellen Lewis means less threat from inside handoff/play action...Pistol asks for quick reads and Chappell will have more experience than last year when he was pressed into duty v Top 25 teams...


Pro Form... Rollout pass, off tackle power run, pulling guards, effective play action, great zone blocking

60%run,     40% pass

51%run, 49%pass

No Shonn Greene, no changes really...KOK and OC have been together so long they could be common law married, so don't expect huge move to passing offense unless Hampton gets hurt...


Run-Focused Shotgun Spread...Read Option, WR screen pass, zone blocking

56%run, 44%pass

54%run, 46%pass

Healthy Minor and Forcier will run offense correctly, unlike Aberration '08 players...There will be more running than last year - UM got behind in almost every game and was forced to throw to try and catch up...


Pro Form... Sideline out routes, deep seam routes, HB dive, versatile tight ends

55%run,     45% pass

58%run, 42%pass

Lansing State Journal mentioned wildcat and option attack, but I'll believe it when I see it...Vanilla scheme has depended on great RB's and straight forward smashmouth blocking - with no experience in the backfield, QB's Counsins and Nichol will be asked to deliver results immediately...More shotgun this year because both QB's move better than Hoyer...


Pro Form... both under center and from the shotgun... Great quick slants, some option read, rollout passes

50%run, 50%pass

48%run, 52%pass

Weber's short throws were effective in early 2008 and ineffective in late 2008 - Brewster needs to mix up what became an easily defended, predictable passing game...Mini probably doesn't have the athletes on the OL to open giant holes in the running game, but Brewster cannot risk an injured Weber by running more option...


Shotgun Spread...WR screens, inside dives, short comeback routes, four wide receivers

51%run, 49%pass

53%pass, 47%run

The quick hitting passes that were effective under Bacher and Basanez will inevitably be used less under Kafka...The offensive line will be one of the Big Ten's best, allowing for a surprisingly effective run game out of the shotgun, even if Sutton is gone to the NFL...


Shotgun Spread, I Form... Off tackle power run, inside read option or spread option, QB rollout deep throw

65%run, 35%pass

61%run, 39%pass

'08 offense was run off an abbreviated playbook, but the Buckeyes pounded the B10 anyways, using an almost throwback running game...Pryor looked to be unleashed and improved during Spring game, which will surely lead to an increase in passing formations and effectiveness...


Spread HD... QB under center and in shotgun... Wheel route, screen pass, eight yard sideline route, QB draw, TB draw, short sit down route

56%run, 44%pass

55%run, 45%pass

Big question - Was the Spread HD's success predicated on great WR play and one of the Big Tens best offensive lines from the last 10 years?...Clark's size and versatility will allow JayPa to run the same plays and formations he did in 2008...


Pass focused Shotgun Spread... Quick slants, draw, short out routes

57%pass, 43%run

60%pass, 40%run

The Purdue Spread has mellowed since Drew Brees recklessly ran it...There is always a HB in the backfield and the quarterbacks move around less than Brees...Elliot has a great arm, but his lack of playmakers could lead to another year of mis-timed routes and ineffective red zone play...Everyone is waiting for the day when Hope or his successor departs from the Tiller Spread - this won't be the year...


Run-Focused Pro Form... Counter with pulling OL, sweep, play action pass to TE

61%run, 39%pass

61%run, 39%pass

The Badgers are strongest when the play action is working...2008, no one really respected Evridge or Sherer, thus the play action didn't work and the offense struggled... Bielema has shown no indication that he's switching to a more varied offense, look for more of the same power running...