Monday, November 23, 2009

Football Position Previews Continue...QB's

4/8/10
I continue to update the football player rankings, and previewing the positions for the upcoming season. Next up is the quarterbacks.

Here are the Rankings
1. Keith Farkas - Nashua South - 2011
2. Steve Cronan - Winnacunnet - 2011
3. Matt Cannone - Salem - 2011
4. Steve Cuipa - Bishop Guertin - 2011
5. Brandon Karkhanis - Nashua North - 2011
6. Sam Carney - Hanover - 2011
7. Jared Chandler - Manchester Central - 2012
8. Jonathan Baldwin - Alvirne - 2011
9. Tate Jozokos - Kingswood - 2013
10. Michael Luks - Souhegan - 2011

The Big Four
For the running backs there was a "Big Four" and the same is true for the QB's. Farkas, Cronan, Cannone and Cuipa are all potential scholarship players at the quarterback position. All four are expected to have HUGE senior seasons.

Keith Farkas: Good size at about 6'2", most athletic QB in the state. Good speed when running the football and a very strong throwing arm. Can put up a ton of points and yards either with his arm or his legs. At times he's prone to interceptions though. He won a state championship as a sophomore then his team finished 6th last year. This year he has some good weapons at his disposal and we will see what kind of player he really is.

Steve Cronan: He started as a sophomore but last year as a junior was his breakout season. He made some amazing plays in Winnacunnet's big playoff victory over Exeter. He has the ability to avoid tackles and make accurate throws while on the run. Like Farkas, he just has to work on limiting interceptions. Loses his top 2 receivers in Harry Knowles and Jesse Gould, so he'll need some receivers to step in for them to put up good numbers. He has a good skill set though, he's a winner, and he is very good at running the option.

Matt Cannone: Cannone is a very good player, and he has shown that he can throw the football when called upon. However Salem's offense is so run-happy that it has been tough for him to truly show off his skills. He is a good field general and picks up some big first downs to move the chains, either with his arm or legs. Not as mobile as Farkas or Cronan, but he can run the ball when needed. Cannone has also gotten a lot stronger in his upper body since last year's football season which will also help him out.

Steve Cuipa: Mistake free player. I saw all four of these QB's play last year. Cronan and Farkas threw interceptions, Cannone had a couple fumbled. But anytime I saw Cuipa the kid played mistake-free football. He made very good reads when running the option. Always knew when to run it and when to pitch it. Did an very good job of limiting interceptions, fumbles and hit his receivers downfield when they were open. Has good speed when running the ball himself. Better accuracy than some of the guys ahead of him, but not as strong of an arm as the top 3. All four players have scholarship potential though, no question.

Somers Switching Back to QB?
In 2008 Luke Somers was a sophomore and was in a competition for the starting QB job with junior Ryan Simpson. Simpson won the job and was the team's QB in 2008 and in 2009. In 2008 Somers saw most of his action on defense, and last year he was a very good linebacker and on offense he saw time catching passes as well as running the football. But now with Simpson graduating what will Somers' role on the team be in 2010? Somers is a big, strong kid with a good arm. Does he go back to QB? Then again Pinkerton has a run oriented offense, and the team also graduates star back Eric Guinto. So does Somers play running back instead? This will be an interesting situation to monitor going forward.

Baldwin Just a LB?
Alvirne's Jonathan Baldwin is possibly the only QB on this list who also plays defense. Not only that, but he is one of the top returning linebacker's in NH. Also, the Broncos have another QB returning who could step in and play the position if Alvirne decides to use Baldwin strictly on defense. Baldwin suffered an injury last year, and junior Patrick Reidy stepped in for him and did a solid job at QB for him. Baldwin is a good QB, but is a better player on defense. Then again, he is a slightly better QB than Reidy. So what does Alvirne head coach Bob Nimblett do? Play Baldwin at QB and risk losing his top defensive player to injury, or start Reidy even though he's not quite as good?

Getting their Chance
North's Karkhanis and Luks from Souhegan will both be full-time starters for the first time this season. Karkhanis was a big play guy last year for the Titans, but split duties under center with Dylan Brodeur. Brodeur has graduated, so the job is now belongs to Karkhanis. With him, Andre Williams and Jamar Gathright all back North will have plenty of playmakers.

As for Luks, he is a big, strong kid with a very good arm. He would have started for most every team in the state last year, but unfortunately he played on the team with the state's top QB, DJ Petropulos. Luks was his backup, and now as a senior has the starting gig. Souhegan has a pass-happy offense and that will continue in 2010, with Luks and senior WR Brendan McKenna, who is in for a big year.

73 comments:

  1. jeremy i know this isnt a place to sit and complain
    but Timberlane HS could had quite a few of the top football players in New Hampshire if there highschool was better than it is:
    QB Ben O'Nett- got a full basketball and football schlorship to DeMatha a top 10 program in the nation for both sports.
    The also lost ALOT of other great Football, Baseball, Lacrosse, and Basketball players to Governors Adcademy, Central Catholic, and other prep schools

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  2. Timberlane needs to hire better coaches, then maybe quality kids will stop leaving.

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  3. Jeremy, I would not be surprised to see Farkas, Cannone and Cronan on defense this year. All 3 kids are big and strong and would a nice complement in the Denfensive backfield. I don't see BG playing Cuipa based on his athletic ability. But the Other 3 are athletic enoguh to play every down on both sides.

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  4. Central Catholic isn't a prep school, people on this site need to learn the difference between normal private school and prep school.

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  5. Cuipa will do more running the ball this year now that his receiving core is depleted and he doesn't have 5 talented runningbacks to give the ball to. That being said, if Kelly doesn't get POY I'll owe somebody a milkshake

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  6. When I saw alvirnes qb he threw like 200 interception in around 5 minutes. That couldve been just against BG though

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  7. I think Jared Chandlere's height may affect his game play

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  8. Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Luks finishes this season in the top 3. Kid's 6'3 230 and throws it with some sweet touch. Maybe tries to finesse it too much, but he's got the arm when he wants to use it to bomb the ball all over the field. He will have a scholarship somewhere when it's all said and done and may be the top QB next year. Just a sleeper to watch, because I've seen the kid and he's an absolute stud. It's just too bad he was stuck behind Petropulos for so long. I would've gone to a prep school, BG, or Trinity if I was him to get starting time as a SO or JR personally, but he'll still get his this year. 10 is way too low for this kid on the list.

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  9. Luks is unproven, that's why he's ranked there. He could certainly move up though once the season gets going.

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  10. Timberlane hired Fantasia as an AD they wont be hiring any good coaches for awhile.

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  11. Alvirne had to use their back-up vs. BG i believe and it was his first start ever vs. the best defense in the state?

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  12. Hi Jeremy,
    I thought your assessment of the top 4 QBs was very good. But, I was just curious about your comment about Cuipa not having as strong an arm as the other top QBs. He averaged over 28 yds/pass and hit several strikes over 40 yards and a few over 50 yards in the air. What was your assessment based on?

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  13. Hi Jeremy

    I agree with 10:37 your assessment is very well done. The only comment I would make about the top 4 QB's is that Steve Cronan is the only QB who has not led his team to a State Championship. Although not a huge one but one point that I think should be factored in. The other three all had very important roles leading their teams to State Championships and performed well in those Championship games.

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  14. except for when he threw those two perfect passes to harry knowles and harry had bricks for hands that day and dropped them? Or how about that same game when he carried the option 80 yards but the zebras blew the whistle because they fell for the fake. Oh that's right he didn't do enough for his team, right 10:59

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  15. 2:21

    Fair enough don't get me wrong I don't question him being in the top four, I am just making a point. I think he is an outstanding QB but come on the score was 31 to 0 in favor of BG. The game was a blow out..

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  16. 2:21- passes are valid, they were dropped.
    Whistle played zero part in the option play...SS had QB lined up for a knock out shot. A good gain, but not a TD. I had a great angle and the tape supports it.
    Regardless, a very, very good player who will lead Winny to the state title this year.

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  17. cronan is the best of the bunch, clearly the best athlete he is a stand out in basketball and baseball as well as football

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  18. I think that point could be made for all these QB's. When Cannone and Cronan squared off in hoop, they both were the biggest and strongest on their teams. Both are outstanding athletes, and I think they both have gotten even better since last season ended. Cronan and Cannoen are both starting on their baseball teams. Farkas has the upper hand because of his height. You can't teach size gentlemen. Let's just keep positive and get ready for a year that will include some of the top players ever form the state of NH.

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  19. Out of the "Big Four" quarterbacks, Cronan has the best potential for the next level. The kid is a natural athlete, standing at 6'2 weighing 205 i dont know how division 1A schools havent offered him yet, i have personally seen the kid huck the ball 65-70 yards, i think he's one of the best quarterbacks this state has seen in a while. Rumor has it Holy Cross, UNH, UCONN are all interested in him. If this kid doesnt go division 1 it will be a damn shame. Granted he does throw interceptions but who doesnt? He still can run the option better than anyone in the state, and has probably the strongest arm hands down. The potential for this kid is through the roof.

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  20. 7:22
    Totally disagree you can not say as of yet Cronan is best in the state clearly it is your opinion.. I think the other three are right there. Cannone and Farkas are both 6'2 now and are in the 195 to 200lb range not sure on Cuipa. Outside of BG where will Cronan be tested against tough defenses the other three will face much more difficult schedules..

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  21. From NHFootballReport.com

    Auffant said the University of Connecticut, UNH, Holy Cross and Colgate are among the schools that have shown interest in Winnacunnet quarterback Steve Cronan, who will be a senior next season.

    "The Patriot League and the Colonial (Athletic Association) have shown the most interest, but he's definitely a Division I kid," Auffant said.

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  22. I am sure all 4 QB' are getting looks from those schools. It is way too early, interest means nothing is he onthier prospect board? these Coaches are in spring practice right now and probably have not started thier junior recruiting yet I can't find that article on NH football report

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  23. When Cronan plays Dover he will get shut down, just like last year.

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  24. So we have 4 D1 QB's in the year of 2011? Best of luck to all 4 but maybe 1 of the 4 goes d1. You will find out that interest and acutally being recruited are 2 different things.

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  25. 9:03
    Just click on Jeremy's NH Football Report link. It is the most recent article April 8th title "Powers, Busfield headed to St. Anselm" It's the last paragraph.

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  26. If 4 QBs from NH go division 1, I'll get my ice skates ready for hell's frozen water. Cronan to UConn? Not as a QB. Is there really anyone on this board that seriously considers him a Big East quarterback? You can MAYBE talk me into him being a legit UNH recruit...still might be a stretch. The kid from Salem has no shot of getting noticed behind the two backs. I'm all for being positive, but lets keep things grounded in reality.
    The next QB from NH to go D1 may be coach Knight's (nashua south) son. I think he'll be a freshman this year, he played pop warner for Amherst so not sure if he'll be going to SHS or South

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  27. Karkhanis? He gets opportunites. He cashes in on them too.

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  28. Knight's son is very talented, but last I saw him a month or so ago he was only 5'10 at most. If he's gonna play D1, he'd better pray for a big time growth spurt, which isn't guaranteed. He is a nasty junior high QB though and should be a fun one to watch in high school. Personally hoping he goes to SHS. Once Luks leaves I think he'd have an excellent shot at starting as a sophomore for a top notch team that loves to throw the ball... a lot.

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  29. Cronan doesn't have much at receiver this year so we'll see what he's really made of come this season

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  30. jared chandler is going to be good, keep an eye on that kid. solid play, and very good chemistry with his recievers especially junior brown. this kids going to go somewhere, he works his tail off.

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  31. Not at 5'7 and playing QB he won't. Switch to receiver and maybe we're talking D3.

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  32. I don't get why the Salem kid is on here on a team that just runs the ball? Does he hand it off any better than everyone else? I'm not trying to shoot the kid down at all, if someone can explain to me why he is a top qb please do so.

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  33. 9:36

    I saw this kid play in the State Championship and believe me when I tell you he is the real deal. I am a Nashua North fan and we shut down their running game, both running backs and Salem beat us with their passing game,, Cannone had 3 TD's through the air. Jeremy's summary is dead on the Salem QB. The last pass in the Championship was the killer a 50 yard bomb with a minute left. BTW we have pretty good QB coming back for us this year watch out for BK...

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  34. Does Salem have anyone worth throwing to next year?

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  35. 12:36
    Of course last years Hero is coming back. There were a couple of very good juniors in JV that will be varsity starters. But really, it won't matter. The running game will be even stronger this year than last with Jerickson poised for a breakout year and the NH Gatorade player of the year returning. I would say that the 2010 running game will be better and the passing game will be about the same. In the end, the passing game won the title in 2009.

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  36. I disagree I think their passing game will be much better, Salem will definitely have to put the ball in the air this year, the strong D1 teams will do what North and Pinkerton did in the playoffs putting 9 men in the box and trying to take away the corners. For the most part North did shut down both Salem RB's. That opened up the passing game and Cannone took advantage of the defensive schemes he was shown. Cannone is a returning three year starter and from what I saw from the playoffs the kid can make the throws when called upon. It will be very interesting to see what types of defenses are schemed to stop these two outstanding running backs.

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  37. 2:11
    I don't know how well you know the Salem team. There is this one kid that Cannone will have this year that was dubbed 'little Randy Moss' at one point. Good hands, great speed. If he has to throw, he will have a few good targets.

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  38. Being nicknamed little Randy moss means nothing at all

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  39. I'd imagine it had something to do with his ability to catch the ball, 9:10, but you are the expert.

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  40. ok so if i nickname a kid megatron it means he MUST be a giant evil blasting robot right? it makes perfect sense

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  41. Ok, before we get too worked up, remember two things:
    1) It's only April, anything can happen; and
    2) They are all High School kids, anything can happen.
    Kids get bigger, kids get stronger, kids lose interest or get interested in something else, kids move, kids get hurt...

    Understand, D1 is a big deal and very few NH kids ever get D1 scholarship offers. I know of plenty that get interest but, as 11:58 said, interest does not = offer. So dial it back, stay positive and lets anticipate and then enjoy a great season without putting down any of these kids..

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  42. Cuipa is not a mistake free player he makes up his mind before he even takes the snap and does force throws. He also has a jabit of trying to call audibles on plays that were on first sound, resulting in a broken play. He is however outstanding at the option and I think is more athletic and better arm than he is given credit for. So the ranking is right, but for the wrong reasons.

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  43. Once again, very good list and the reasoning is sound. The top 4 QB's will have the opportunity to prove who's #1 on the field. As for D1 scholarships, I would be careful with your assumptions. NH plays some good football but there are states that football is life or death. Obviously alot can happen next season and time will tell who steps it up and who doesn't. Luks will have a great year as Souhegan is always loaded. He will have his opportunity to prove himself. Carney is solid and has many intangibles that make up for his lack of size. Jozokos is heading to Governor's Academy so you can scratch him off the list. Spring sports season is just beginning but I can't wait for football season.

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  44. why did tymann from exeter get knocked off the list? he did all he could with the time he was given. he completed all of his passes during his varstiy time.

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  45. Tymann is on the rankings post. That is the one that is being updated.

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  46. Saw the videos of cannone, cronan, farkas and luks. Not from any of those four schools. I have seen farkas and cannone in person also have seen Cronan and cannone play hoop. Advice shorten your videos to 3 or 4 minutes each and get your best game tape ready to send out. For a QB they don't want to see many runs,(unless "true" speed guy) they want to see footwork, release and good decision making. They want to see whole game film to see how you react after bad play. Most release points of all the QB's were way too low with Cronan's being the best.

    Cronan looks like the best athlete of the group. His throws were ok but i could see him at a higher level of college ball at a different position besides qb.(maybe defense or TE). He did not have patience for play to develop and ran way too quickly. Pretty flexible on basketball court. It would not hurt his college chances if coaches saw him on court. Also, coaches won't be impressed with F... bombs all through his rap song on video. it shows immaturity. Good all around athlete.

    I don't know alot about Souhegan expect that they had one of the best teams in the state this year. With that being said, based on just video Luks ball fluttered a little too much and he looked slow for a qb. Passes were ok at best and there is no need for his picture to pop up every 30 seconds in the video. Need video to show him drop back quickly and release over the top. I have not seen him in person so not sure how athletic he is.

    Cannone had some nice throws but looks very stiff out there. He did show good patience on play instead of running too quickly though. On the hoop court he has decent build but did not look incredibly athletic. Does look like he has been in weight room though. I could see him having big year for salem because of teams keying on their two great backs. Video is way too long! He looks like nescac kid assuming he has the grades.

    Farkas seems in good rhytm with his receivers but did not really move too well. South has best passing game and he seems to do well throwing to a spot where his receiver should be. Too many intereceptions this year.

    Good luck to all four in the recruiting process and have realistic goals. Meaning if no offers yet don't start looking for off campus apartment in Chestnut Hill. Many more opportunities at other positions than QB if you are athletic enough.

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  47. Jeremy,
    You can have 2:36 write articles for you, good stuff. I think it was well written by someone who knows football better than me.

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  48. 10:41, Kind words from someone. Just my observations. I have had son go through process and have had a chance to speak with several college coaches and have watched a lot of NH high school football. Very misleading process in the beginning and middle when you actually think there is a chance to go to Ohio State or Texas(kidding of course).

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  49. And by something to sign, I don't mean necessarily at BC or anything close to that. But D2 or 1AA is believable. And I'd love to see any QB in the spread drop back, since that's clearly what they're supposed to do in the spread lined up back already! Most college teams are switching to the spread and are looking for playmakers who can read defenses and throw with accuracy. Luks was the best at reading and with throw accuracy from what I've seen, and he already runs the spread. He also was the best at keeping the play alive and looking downfield, as tearing off like Cronan won't work in college. He'll be fine and will go at least D2 with the beforementioned LOI to sign at the end of it.

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  50. Teams did for a time go to the spread but are finding themselves going back to their roots a bit more except in the truly high level schools. The spread entails quick scores and higher turnover risk. But can really pay off if you have top caliber athletes at the skill positions. The problem is many d3, 2, and even lower level 1a schools are finding the system isn't a universal solution, there is still alot to be said for slowing the game down and trusting your defense

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  51. I hope Baldwin starts at qb opposed to the other kid. The other kid looks like a good qb physically but I play for BG and he couldn't handle pressure and was just throwing easy picks left and right
    even Baldwin is really a defensive player, where even there he benefits from not having anyone else with a nose for the ball on his team

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  52. False, the spread is so widely popular (and gaining popularity) because you DON'T need fabulously talented athletes all over the field.

    It's in the name, s-p-r-e-a-d. The object is to spread the defense thin so that you can manipulate one on one matchups. Also, by spreading a superior talent-wise defense out, an offense with less talent if they execute correctly can attack the thin areas and soft spots with many different schemes. If you really knew anything about the spread offense you'd know that. Teams with incredible talent like USC don't need to run a spread offense because they're stacked everywhere, but teams like Mouse Davis' Portland State (technically run and shoot, the spread is a derivative of this), Houston, Texas Tech, and so on have found a way to compete with the USC's of the world. Their answer is the spread.

    What use is a dominant run-stuffing front seven when the defense is forced into dime coverage and only has five in the box? That just sets up the audible for inside zone. Five linemen can block the five in the box. Nice gain for the running back. Or if there's 6 or more in the box you can nickle and dime them with less talented players by loading one side with three receivers and if one of them is "uncovered" (nobody directly on him) you can run a quick bubble or outside arrow for 5-6 yards. If all men are covered, a quick slant, hook, or out to the solo man on the other side in one on one coverage can be called. And if you choose the solo man on the other side and the safety cheats over to the trips side, hitch and go for six.

    You see what I'm getting at? The spread is the GREAT EQUALIZER in today's college and high school football. A physically less talented team can now compete with dominant squads if the setup and execution is right on (QB's have lots of audible responsibilities). That's why, 7:42, you are completely 100% wrong. Even the old power offenses of the Big 10 are going spread (Ohio State, Michigan, etc) including the "weak" teams of the MAC like Bowling Green, Central Michigan, etc and so on. The spread's popularity will only continue to grow until its achilles ankle is found (such as how the disguised 6 and 7 man blitz was the downfall of the run and shoot as by then it's too late to call screen). And since I know you're going to bring up small school ball, I thought you should know that teams like Endicott, Saint A's, New Haven, Assumption, and so on at the D2/D3 level have all switched to the spread. In fact, I believe Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater have as well, and D2 is poluted with the spread (can't think of a non-spread team in the NE-10 right now). Spread is king in 2010.

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  53. 8:10 you are correct and it is changing the game on defense as well. Size is not as important as speed if you are big and not able to run you become less important.

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  54. In response to 8:10 5/11, 7:42's posts wasn't as off-base as you make it seem. While it is true that you don't need a physically more gifted team to run the spread, you do need some gifted athletes to create a mismatch somewhere. The spread doesn't allow less talented teams to compete with dominant teams, it lets fast teams compete with slow teams with an overall talent advantage. A lot of armchair experts think the spread is some great equalizer when it really isn't. The spread is a different, effective, way to play football, plain and simple. Its all about the players you have and if you don't have the athletically talented players you are just putting them in matchups that they can't win and asking your QB to play a perfect game just to have a chance. Its not a "Great Equalizer" of talent, but rather a "Great Amplifier" of talent. The spread might allow you to utilize a specific talent mismatch, but running a spread offense doesn't mean WR X will beat DB Y each time because we're in Trips and WR X is on the single side, so he has space to make a play.
    Instead of using completely off based arguments like "Portland State, Houston and Texas Tech can now compete with the USC's of the world" (An argument that falls apart when you look at Portland State's record over the last few years, or the fact that Houston can't win a C-USA championship since '06, I'd hardly say an upset sprinkled here or there can be counted as "competing".) let just look at one of the Spread guru's, Rich Rodriguez and Michigan. This "Great Equalizer" has been anything but that in his tenure there, even with added, illegal practice time. I'm sure when he has a chance to get the players to fit his system he will be fine, but he didn't have athletes on the outside to make plays like he did at WVU.
    As for the six men in the box and what's the use of a dominant front seven argument, well what's the point of going into Nickel or Dime coverage if you can't beat me with your receivers. As a defensive coach, I'd just tell my 4 most athletic guys to cover your 4 WRs pressed with bump and run coverage, if I had 4 guys I thought could stay close for 4 seconds (not out of the question if I'm a truly more talented team, because I'm sending 7 and I won't need to disguise it. I hope you have a pinpoint accurate QB, who can also throw on the run and won't get rattled when he's hit every few passes. The way you describe the Spread is the way it works on paper, and I could easily do the same thing for Singlewing, Wing-T, Double Wing, etc and explain to you how if you take this away, you open yourself up for that.
    The Spread offense isn't the answer to a coaches prayers, and it will never allow less talented teams to truly compete with better teams (upsets don't count, non spread teams upset teams all the time). I love the spread offense personally, but I think there is a lot of misinformation out there that people take as fact, none more than the MYTH that it allows less talented team to compete with more talented teams. All it does is put an emphasis on speed, rather than strength. It's basketball's version of "Small Ball". It only allows you to compete with a team that is significantly better than you if that team's weakness is speed.

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  55. I just tried to post a lengthy counter as to why you're wrong 9:55. It involves intelligence > speed, and speed is a given in D1. And examples of Appalachian State, etc. But an error message came up and I don't feel like rewriting it. Maybe I will later when I'm not so lazy. Just know I've been studying the spread from coaches at the college level for a few years now, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. Intelligence and preperation in the one on one matchups the spread creates win out over speed any day. Will repost when not so lazy (it was a loooooong post dude).

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  56. If you really are studying football from coaches at the college level (I'd be interested if this is anymore than reading books/articles, if its not, which coaches have you actually sat with) I too read many articles, study film, coach, attend multiple clinics etc. While I certainly wouldn't call myself an expert (maybe for this blog but I certainly hope you don't consider yourself an expert in the real "football world" on the level of college coaches), I do feel I have a deep knowledge of the Spread game and would love an open-minded debate about this.
    In response to your 4:10, "Speed is a given in D1". I don't mean to be rude, but is that really an argument from an "expert"? You can't really believe that all D-1 teams have the same speed! Some D-1 teams are CLEARLY faster than others (i.e. every SEC team compared to every Big Ten team)
    Also, Intelligence and preparation are a part of every offense from Spread to the West Coast to T and even the A-11 offense. If a team can run any offense to perfection, a defense will always be hard pressed to stop them. Neither of those points prove that the Spread offense is a great equalizer. Spread offense allows a fast, less talented team, to exploit their advantage (SPEED). In your first post you describe the way the Spread works on paper, and I for the most part agree. The point I'm making is that its no more a great equalizer of talent than an effective, clock killing offense.
    I don't want to make it seem as though I don't like the spread offense, its the exact opposite. I probably wouldn't run anything else. The reason is because it amplifies athletic talent in a way that football hasn't seen in a long time. The main reason small school like Saint A's and the like have switched is because it no longer emphasis size and strength (especially on the line where those guys are scooped up by the D1's), rather quickness and mobility. The fact that spread schools covet speed isn't even debatable. Like I said, I don't disagree with you that the Spread is a wonderful offense, the new "it" offense, or your description of how it works. Just that it isn't a magic offense and that speed is the driving force behind the spread. I look forward to your post.

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  57. I've learned lots about the spread through coaches clinics, books, playing the game in college, etc. No, I'm not the next Mouse Davis, but compared to the average person on here I could call myself something of an expert, yes.

    Yes, teams in D1 do not all have the same speed. The point is that it's not just speed that dictates whether a receiver gets open in one on one situations. There's route running, knowing the snap count (huge), crossing routes, bubbles (with a SE setting a "pick"), etc. The point is that due to the receiver already knowing what he's doing and the DB always constantly being on the reactive side of things, it can be very easy to manipulate him regardless of his speed and quickness. What you're telling me is that any ole fast kid at DB can dominate a 4.5-4.6 receiver (the slowest you'll see in D1 except at TE, which isn't in the spread) in one on one coverage. That's utterly false. Each year the NFL fights over the TWO OR THREE TRUE COVER CORNERS IN THE NATION that can truly be left out on an island. This is because unless you are Darell Revis or Champ Bailey, the defender is ALWAYS AT A DISADVANTAGE in one on ones BECAUSE he is always reacting to the receiver. It takes time to react. Just enough time so that a still quick (though maybe not AS quick) receiver can get the one step necessary. Remember, the spread is more about HORIZONTAL spread, not verticle spread (that'd be the Air Coryell offense, we can talk about that one later). If you can make a quick cut for a 5-6 yard gain on first down in the spread, you're being successful. Yes, you are counting heavily on the intelligence and accuracy of the quarterback, but due to the timing and design of the offense it is VERY quarterback friendly and can make even average quarterbacks look great such as Jason White, Andre Ware, Colt Brennan, Tommy Chang, etc. And yes I know I use three run n shooters there for name recognition purposes, but the spread IS a derivative of the run n shoot and the two are extremely closely related.

    I'd also like to argue quickly that the new tOSU is just as fast as any team in the SEC, but that's a different debate. ;)

    The true genius of the spread, what makes it work, is the one on one matchups it creates. One guy out there reacting to what an entire offense is working to due puts the advantage firmly with the offense. Now yes, it will be tough to pull off the spread with a bunch of 4.8 D2/3 guys vs USC, but lil ole Oregon State keeps finding a way, huh? The only way to truly dominate a spread team is to have elite talent in your front 5 or 6 that can dominate the other team's offensive line so that you can flood the defensive backfield with bodies. That's why nearly ALL spread offenses are extremely effective no matter the team's record (St A's I believe had over 400 yards of offense a game to go with their 2-8 record). Where these teams get in trouble is on defense. Without the talent to make a few stops, they lose 50-30 with regularity. I look forward to a good debate as well.

    BTW, Portland State is in 1aa/FCS, so you'll notice I didn't list them as able to beat UT or USC. But you will notice that Tech beat UT with the spread with ONE elite talent on the entire roster at receiver and an undrafted QB. I just used Portland State because they were Mouse Davis' last stop before he retired, and they were always fantastic on offense (defense suffered though).

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  58. Oh, and Rich Rod runs the "Spread Option" as opposed to the true spread. And the "athletes" he was missing that first season were their, it was just THE "ATHLETE" at quarterback. After he got a 4.5 QB in Forcier, he was much better off as the SPREAD OPTION depends on a rushing threat at QB, and the kid before Forcier was a pocket passer trying to run option... ouch for him.

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  59. And where I was going with the stretching them horizontally piece over the verticle (Coryell) method, is that yes, speed is crucial for beating a defender deep. But quick slants, outside arrows, pick and bubbles, etc are more than do-able due to the extremely short time span in which the defender has to react to the action, then he'd better watch for double moves (hitch and go) or else he could be burned regardless of how fast he is. One on one defending is the hardest thing to do in football, and usually in a single NFL draft class there's only 1 to 3 TRUE cover corners you can trust out on an island all alone.

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  60. Oh, and I've gone to seminars and visited with coaches such as Murphy at Saint A's, Kelly at Oregon (when he was with UNH), and so on. Also read a lot on Mouse Davis but never really felt the need to fly all the way out to Oregon to pick his brain for obvious reasons. Sorry for the 4 different posts, but yours is just so long and I keep forgetting to answer parts and questions you have!

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  61. Jeremy, looks like you have Farkas in the right spot.

    http://www.nhfootballreport.com/2010/05/farkas_hoping_for_division_i_o.html

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  62. First off, I think we might be mincing words over what exactly is the "Spread". Just for the sake of a broader debate, let's include the Spread as counting all teams that run some version of the Spread. Spread Option (Oregon/Michigan/Florida), Air Raid(Texas Tech/Jones' Hawaii teams/Auburn...or at least they employ a "spread guru" at OC), Run and Shoot, etc. I think we can both agree that they all run on similar principles of gaining a numbers advantage, spreading out the defense, keeping men out of the box and attacking one on one match ups. Obviously there are differences but they have all evolved from each other.

    You did say that Portland State can compete with the USC's of the world. This is a cut and past quote from your first post "teams like Mouse Davis' Portland State (technically run and shoot, the spread is a derivative of this), Houston, Texas Tech, and so on have found a way to compete with the USC's of the world. Their answer is the spread." Also, Texas Tech in no way competes with Texas. 2 wins in the last decade and they give up 30+ points to Texas with regularity. And lets no ruin a good debate by calling Oregon State "lil ole". Oregon State plays in the Pac-10 and is a huge school. They have more than enough resources to recruit talented athletes, and they haven't exactly found a way to compete with USC. 1 conference CO-title and an upset sprinkled here or there isn't competing.

    You called it the "great equalizer" and said another poster was wrong for saying schools are finding out it isn't a magic way to compete with better teams if they don't have athletes to do it, which is why I originally got into this debate.

    The Spread is undoubtedly a great way to score points, but thats only half the game. You said it yourself, St A's averages 400 yards a game, goes 2-8 and loses most games 50-30. How on earth is that competing? If you can take a moral victory because you scored 30 points when your defense gave up 50, thats on you. St A's doesn't yet have the full program needed to run a truly effective spread offense, especially now that playing a spread team is no longer a novelty, and when their drive is stopped, they leave their defense out to dry. A truly outmatched team really needs to limit the total number of possessions in a game. There have been numerous studies published on TrojanFootballAnalysis.com, NFL Outsiders, and Advanced NFL statistics about this, it is fact and it isn't debatable. Like you said, the defense is always at a disadvantage, it is easier to score in football that it is to stop someone from scoring. Eventually more talented teams make stops here or there and the less talented team can't make up enough ground because their defense can't get enough stops.

    Now, they not to say teams just need to "run more to keep the offense off the field". Thats just crazy NFL commentator talk. Teams do, however, need to control the clock. Big plays can actually hurt a team if they can't stop the other.

    The problem spread teams run into when they face a more talented team is that it becomes harder and harder to win those one on one match ups the greater the talent disparity. Any offense like that isn't a great equalizer.

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  63. Now, to the point about Speed vs Intelligence. First, I'd like to replace my previous posts with "Quickness" rather than speed. I think we can both agree that its more about the receivers ability to get open, rather than his ability to outrun coverage. Quickness is far more important to a spread team than intelligence. Quickness is what allows teams to exploit those one on one match ups past the extent of getting slightly open 5 or 6 yards down field. If you are a truly outmatched team with little quickness all you can do is hope your QB fits the ball into tight holes, both QB and WR make perfect reads, and your WR is able to catch the ball in some kind of traffic consistently. If they can do that, they are either playing above their heads that day, or they weren't as outmatched as you thought. I don't mean to say you don't gain an advantage by being a smart, well prepared team, its just that you can gain that same advantage in other offenses that don't require as much skill.

    I will agree though that the more a team tries to stretch the field horizontally and the more they are truly committed to short 5 yard passes, the less it needs to rely on quickness.

    I also agree that right now, Spread is king. However, many bad teams are starting to find out that it isn't a magical way to win game, its just easier to score points. Bad teams can't consistently stop good teams and they can't score enough points to off set that if they give the opposing offense too many chances.

    My last point, Tate Forcier did very little to help Michigan. They started 4-0 including a win over a highly over ranked Notre Dame team and proceeded to go 1-7 in Big Ten play. The Spread option needs MUCH more than just an athlete at QB. Michigan was built around a powerful, strong, run first offense for 50 years before Ri-Rod got there. They don't have top notch athletes outside to make enough plays. Teams end up getting too many possessions on offense and ultimately Michigans D can't stop them enough.

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  64. I hope my last two post make sense, I had to break it up into two posts because of length. Hopefully I didn't screw it up when cutting and pasting.

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  65. 1:57
    I am not the person that you are having the interesting discussion with, but. You two were dabating the effectivness of the spread and what kind of atheletes were required to be sucessfull with it. You seemed to have turned it into a 'you are not being successfull with the spread if you don't win' argument. While this is true to a point, the goal is to win. It does not really lend itself to what you two were discussing.

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  66. 6:54, The main point of our debate is whether or not the spread offense is a "great equalizer of talent". I think we both are fans of the spread offense and I acknowledge its effectiveness and explosive abilities. I don't know anyone who would debate whether or not the Spread can be an effective way to run an offense. I also don't think we are debating the type of athletes needed to run the spread, just how much athletic ability they need. I'm sure even the other poster would agree that in a dream world a spread offensive coach wants 4 explosive playmakers outside.
    The other poster, I think, believes that Spread teams can compete with more talented teams because the Spread offense allows them to score points, and by running the Spread, they can exploit one on one matchups using timing and execution to do so. My argument against that is by running the spread, first you increase the number of possessions each team has, thus reducing a less talented teams chances of winning. Also, those one on one matchups get harder and harder the greater the talent disparity is.
    While Spread may be king right now, many teams are starting to find out that even if they can score points, they can't stop the opposing offense enough to win.

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  67. The spread is the great equalizer in that a week team can score points and compete with a stronger team by putting points up on the board. Sure, 50-35 may not be winning, but it's competing and EQUALIZING the playing field when that team's on OFFENSE. Now, obviously the spread isn't going to help you on defense. You're making a BS argument there, no offense. You know exactly what I mean when I say it's the great equalizer of talent. I mean it enables a much weaker team on paper to at least hang in there in a shoot out and compete while hoping they can get at least a couple stops to possibly come in with the upset. However, if you put that same team in a power I or pro offense, they'd get 60-0 in their face. Look, even an weak team like Saint A's competed in all of their games except the one against SOCO. It's because the spread EQUALIZED the playing field on offense enabling them to try outscoring teams in a shootout that in reality they had no business being in.

    And again, I'll argue that quickness and speed are important, but it's THE MATCHUPS that make the spread work. Remember, the best spread receiver of all time was David Ball at 4.66 and Davone Bess of Hawaii ran a 4.6 too if I recall. Yes, speed and quickness are important, but in D1 and the pros there's no such thing as a "slow receiver." You get just about any D1 talent at receiver a one on one with a quick slant and he'll win 7/10 times. It's the design of the offense and the decision-making of the QB that matter the most in the spread. Not the physical ability of the wideouts. Remember, the NFL actually looks down on lots of spread receivers like Jackson out of Florida as the SYSTEM is responsible for their stats, not the talent of the player (same goes at QB).

    And no, the spread option is a completely different beast from the regular spread. The spread option is entirely dependent on speed and quick option reads while the spread is more premeditated. About the only thing the two share is the shotgun formation, that's it.

    I knew I mentioned Portland State, but I thought I excluded them from the USC and UT discussion. Simple mistake, and you knew what I meant. And I'd say yes, Tech DOES compete with UT, especially lately. Having a good close game counts as competing to me. They don't have to necessarily win to compete and be competitive. A team that never wins against a certain team but always loses by 1 is considered competitive by me.

    And Oregon State is so far from a football power that it's ridiculus. I can't remember the last 5 star they signed, and can probably name 3 in USC's current class. They will always be "little ole Oregeon State" on the football state compared to USC, no matter what their student enrollment says. Nice try though ;)

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  68. And defense isn't the spread's fault. Coaches are finding out that spread IS king, and that they can compete in shootouts now with little talent, but to assert the spread is supposed to help the d is absurd. The spread is the great equalizer in that it allows teams to compete that otherwise have no business being on the same field as USC. So what if they don't necessarily win because of their DEFENSE, the spread still EQUALED the playing field and actually tipped it in their favor on offense annd allowed them to be competitive, proving it as the true equalizer.

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  69. First off, Chad Jackson was a second round pick, thats not being looked down on. The only time a spread wide out is questioned is if he is too small (Wes Welker). QB's are the ones who take the brunt of the "system player" bashing (which is crazy in my opinion. If a kid can throw, he can throw. If you put Peyton Manning in a spread offense it doesn't make him any less the best QB on the planet. I think we can both agree that stats are in no way a true indication of talent.) They look down on spread QBs because they take at least 90% of snaps out of the shotgun, have learned handoff mesh points that NFL teams don't use, and there is only a handful of people on the planet who are 6ft or taller with the skill needed to play QB at the NFL. Not being drafted doesn't make them "average" QBs. If there decision making was so important and had to be so good, NFL teams would covet them. I'm not saying it isn't important, but a lot of their stats are contingent on WRs ability to make catches and gain YAC. Same way the WRs stats are related to his QB's ability.
    Also, I'm not saying Oregon State is a football power, but they do bring in a top 50 recruiting class annually. That should be more than enough talent to run the spread offense and truly compete with the likes of USC, which they don't, if the spread is a true "great equalizer", which it isn't.
    The Spread and Spread option aren't similar? Do you think the Spread runs some kind of secret pass patterns that the Spread option coaches don't know about? If you take out the option, a Spread option and Spread team are pretty similar. They use very similar concepts in the passing game. Granted, they do require different quarterbacks, and the "Air raid" version of the spread (which is what I'm assuming is what you define as spread, Texas Tech under Mike Leech for example) certainly relies much more heavily on the pass but to say the only thing the share in common is the shotgun is crazy. But yes, the Spread option is MORE dependent on speed and quickness than an Air Raid spread team.
    I'm not saying the spread can help a defense when the defense is on the field, but any offense can help its defense by taking time off the clock, which I'll get more into later.

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  70. Back to the "equalizer" debate, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. The spread can certainly score points. There is no debate to that. The problem that below average teams run into when they run the spread to equal the playing field is they find out it is harder and harder to consistently win those one on one match ups, and every drive they go 3 and out, they take little time off the clock.
    If football were shortened to a single half, you would see a dramatic increase in upsets. If you extended it an extra half, you would see less. The problem with running the spread when you have a weak team is that you end up lengthening the game with incomplete passes and receivers running or being forced out of bounds.
    Lets say you run a 3 and out drive with 3 incomplete passes. At most, you've taken 25 seconds off the clock before handing the ball back over to a more talented team. According to Advanced NFL Stats, for every 5 plays run without stopping the clock, the total number of possible possessions in a game is reduced by 1. I'm not saying that a spread offense can't control the clock, but its harder to do when every incomplete pass stops the clock.
    Teams like St. A's end up losing games 48-44 because the opposing offense has more chances to score. Thats not to say they wouldn't be 2-8 running a conservative offense. Its just that even if they can average 40 points a game, they are still losing with regularity and a big reason, in my opinion, is because they extend the game and increase the total number of possessions.
    In all honesty, you make a perfect argument for running the spread from a viewpoint of an offensive coordinator. It lets you score points much easier. From a head coaches point of view though, if you aren't a good team you want the game to be a short as possible. You want as much "dead time" (time where the clock is running but neither team is running a play) as possible. The shorter the game, the more randomness comes into play.
    Again, the Spread is a GREAT way to score points. From an offensive coordinators stand point, in some ways it does "equalize" talent. But from a head coaches standpoint, if it truly equalize talent and evens the edge more talented teams have, bad teams would be able to run it and win consistently, not just score points. You have to look at the other effects a high scoring offense can have on the overall game before you call the spread an "equalizer". Average teams still end up with average records when they run the spread. Bad teams end up with bad records. Same with every other offense. However, I do think the spread allows good teams to end up with great records and great teams to go undefeated. Thus making it an amplifier of talent, not an equalizer.

    Just wondering, do you coach anywhere (I don't need to know where)? Where you at the St. A's clinic Thursday?

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  71. Many D3 teams across the country are going away from the spread because the point of the spread is to give speed players more room to run and make things happen. It is to make full use of athleticism and talent on your roster. It can help you win if you are the faster more athletic team, but the point of grinding it ou like Exeter does is to equalize. If you can't be fast youv got to execcute and not make mistakes and protect the ball at all costs. Spread is the opposite of that.

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  72. lucas luopa from keene? outplayed the alvire qb whose on here. and hes only a sophmore. the kid has 8 total tds already. and no picks in three games.

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