19 Facts About Spread offense


Spread offense is an offensive scheme in gridiron football that typically places the quarterback in the shotgun formation, and "spreads" the defense horizontally using three-, four-, and even five-receiver sets.

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Grandfather of the spread offense is Rusty Russell, a graduate of Howard Payne University, in Brownwood, Texas, and coach of Fort Worth's Masonic Home and School for orphaned boys.

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The Spread offense used motion and receivers changing pass routes based on the reactions of defenders.

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Spread offense made further strides with his offensive concepts after the Chargers hired him to return to San Diego in 1978.

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Spread offense thought the spread might help his players, who came to be known as the “Mighty Mites” because of their diminutive size, compete against taller, bigger, stronger and faster opponents, much like opposing teams that would dwarf Neumeier's Granada Hills High School team of 1970.

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Russell's story and the story of his players are encapsulated in the book, "Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football", by sportswriter and author Jim Dent, so it is clear that variations of a spread offense existed for almost 50 years when Jack Neumeier experienced his epiphany in late 1969.

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Spread offense continued to field teams utilizing the one-back spread offense over the next few years, whether they possessed the unique physical and intellectual skills of his 1970 Granada Hills players or not.

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When Jack Elway watched his own son running Neumeier's Spread offense and saw the potential in it, he began to rethink his own offensive schemes, which focused at the time like many of his contemporaries around the triple-option Veer.

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Spread offense took it with him when he became head coach at San Jose State a year later.

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Dennis Erickson initially heard about the spread offense while serving as the offensive coordinator at Fresno State in the late 1970s.

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Spread offense's offense continues to live on and thrive years after Jack Neumeier's death in 2004.

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Spread offense is specifically designed to open up seams and holes for the offense, and does not specifically focus on the passing or running game like all types of offenses, there can be sub types which can specifically focus on the passing or running game, or even option, fakes or trick plays.

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Notable users of this Spread offense include Brent Venables's Oklahoma Sooners, Mario Cristobal's Miami Hurricanes, Chip Kelly's UCLA Bruins, Scott Frost's Nebraska Cornhuskers, Gus Malzahn's UCF Knights, Jim Harbaugh's Michigan Wolverines and Scott Satterfield's Louisville Cardinals.

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Third version of the spread offense is the Pistol offense used by Brian Polian's Nevada Wolf Pack, Dabo Swinney's Clemson Tigers and some US high schools.

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In 2009, they led the country in rushing and total Spread offense, and were the first team in college football history to have three players rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.

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Spread offense is generally not used as a team's primary offense in the NFL.

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In recent years, the spread offense has become a very popular term used in context of the high school game with the offense's innovative ways to make the game faster and higher scoring.

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Spread offense is currently the head coach of Enka High School in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Defenses are left with the challenge of defending more of the field than ever before, and the offense was given the advantage of having numerous running and passing lanes created by the defense being so spread out.

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