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Interesting Triple Option perspective from a Citadel fan

Posted: 6/3/2014 10:25 PM

Interesting Triple Option perspective from a Citadel fan 

citadel fan - BIGGUN

I've noticed some comments about whether or not to limit coaching candidates to ones that run some form of triple option.

I also saw a lot of comments, during the season, advocating more balance in run/pass play selection. 
I respect most everyone's view point. I just thought I would take some time and discuss why I think triple option offense is important. Additionally, show some statistics and see if run/pass play selection is really needed, a reasonable expectation, or what winning triple option teams do.

Sorry for the length of this, but getting this out and off my mind helps me to move on to other stuff. 

Why is running the triple option so important? 
Note: I would never turn away or eliminate a candidate because of the offense or defense they run. But its hard to find a successful head coach at a military school that doesn't implement this offense and mentality. 

Ok so why is this offense such a good fit for The Citadel IMHO?

I'm calling from memory, but I remember one of Barry Switzer's reasonings in his book Bootleggers Boy.

The lineman do not have to sustain blocks for long periods of time. A crease is needed because it is quick hitting. No OT has to lock up and sustain a 5 second block like a toss sweep out of the I formation for example. 

Above expands our pool of offensive lineman to recruit from. We often can get in on someone that is too small for "sustained blocking" offenses, but is hungry with quick feet, and will do a good job for us. 

A defense can have superior athletic talent, but if they're not disciplined they'll be exposed by this offense. It can neutralize the talent gap. 

Opponents don't see it very often and it's frustrating to defend with cut blocks being thrown at you.

It does not have a ton of "plays" to learn, and requires the players to be disciplined and follow the rules of the offense. When you're a military school teaching/training self-discipline, and have players with a demanding's a good fit.  Note: this offense has complexity even though there's not a ton of plays to learn. The sophistication is in reads and variances of the plays at the line of scrimmage. 

It grinds clock. Grinding clock keeps an opponents offense off the field and makes them press when they're on the field. As 84 pointed out today we were undersized on the dline and Furman got their yards at will on us. Honestly I don't know that we're ever going to have huge d lineman or a stock of top flight press corners. 

The same happened up at Furman in 2012. We couldn't get pressure on the QB or stuff the run to save our lives. However, we had an offense road grading Furman's defense up and down the field grinding the  @#$% out of clock and scoring. So Furman had very limited opportunities to score on us.  We kicked their tails that day. 

Our school is about being straight ahead and aggressive. Not everyone at our school is going active duty, but the spirit of our school is supposed to make people with "fighting heart." "Chuck it and duck" offenses full of finesse just doesn't fit our outlook, attitude, or how we go about doing business. It sure doesn't form a "fighting heart."

There's more, but I hope maybe that helps answer "why is this offense so important"?

Balance-"We need to pass more. Everyone knows what's coming. We should have balance between run and pass."

The Citadel taught me to deal in facts. Not hopes, wishes, and feelings.  I'm sure it did a lot of others on here as well. 

So I went to the NCAA website for stats and took down the following stats for teams that run the triple option. This is their season statistics for 2013. Here are the teams you'll see listed:
Air Force
The Citadel 
Georgia Southern

Here's what I took down for stats:
Record for 2013
Percentage of run plays called
Yards gained
Average run play in yards
Percentage of pass plays called
Yards gained
Average pass play in yards
Average time of possession per game
Rank in turnover margin
Rank in fewest penalties committed.
(the last two are pretty good indicators for team discipline or things we should do well at The Citadel and figures into wins and losses)

84% run play selection
3864 yards
5.46 yards per run
16% pass play selection
1098 yards 
15.47 yards per pass completed.
Penalties #1 for fewest
Turnover margin tied for 9th best.
Time of possession 31:10 per game
(above does not count bowl game against MTSU except for won loss record)

Air Force
79% run play selection
3152 yards
4.94 yards per run play
21% pass play selection
1259 yards
13.53 yards per pass completed
Penalties #22 for fewest
Turnover margin tied for 86th best
Time of possession 27:34 per game

82% run play selection
3742 yards
5.4 yards per run play
18% pass play selection
936 yards
12.48 yards per pass completed
Penalties #6 for fewest
Turnover margin 66th best.
Time of possession 32:09 per game

The Citadel
80% run play selection
3279 yards
5.21 yards per run play
20% pass play selection
1001 yards
12.83 yards per pass completed
Penalties #1 for fewest penalties in FCS
Turnover margin tied for 54th best
Time of possession 32:10 per game

83% run play selection
3204 yards
4.95 yards per run play
17% pass play selection
939 yards
14.23 yards per pass completed
Penalties #14 for fewest penalties in FCS
Turnover margin 96th best
Time of possession 28:54 per game

Georgia Southern
86% run play selection
4227 yards
6.3 yards per run play
14% pass play selection
1002 yards 
19.27 yards per pass play completed
The ranking in FCS for penalties and turnovers were not available on NCAA for some reason.
Time of possession 31:34 per game

So here's what this tells me (realizing the score on the scoreboard is the only stat that truly matters).

Key indicators for successful TO teams this year (Navy and Ga. Southern).

There isn't balance between run and pass (or for any other triple option team for that matter). It could be argued that the teams selecting to pass more....lost more games on average. AGAIN SUCCESSFUL TRIPLE OPTION TEAMS (Or any known triple option team I could find) DO NOT HAVE BALANCE BETWEEN RUN AND PASS PLAY SELECTION OR YARDS. 

When the more successful TO teams do pass....they go deeper and get more per play. I would imagine with option look play action and throw go routes or at the very least medium range passing. It takes a QB with some height plus arm and a speedy wideout to make it happen. Average completion for Navy 15.47 yards. Georgia Southern 18.27 yards. Air Force 13.53 yards. Army 12.48 yards.

Turnover margin can sink everything. See Air Force and Wofford as opposed to Navy. As my former athletic cadre squad corporal, Mr Everette Sands, tells his running backs in Columbia daily: "Ball job security....for you...and me." The teams that accomplish ball security are winners. 

That's what the facts tell me. I did look at previous seasons this is a typical year and not an anomaly.
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Posted: 6/4/2014 11:42 PM

Re: Interesting Triple Option perspective from a Citadel fan 

So why didn't you include Georgia Tech?
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Posted: 6/5/2014 4:29 AM

Re: Interesting Triple Option perspective from a Citadel fan 

It was not I (TALON) that "created" the post it was "BigGun" of the Citadel board.
I just reposted his here because I thought it was interesting
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Posted: 6/5/2014 11:13 AM

Re: Interesting Triple Option perspective from a Citadel fan 

It is interesting.  Assumed it was your post when I saw the GSU comments.  Didn't read closely enough!
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Posted: 6/11/2014 5:45 PM

Re: Interesting Triple Option perspective from a Citadel fan 

Very interesting. Obviously, the fulcrum for " balanced " is understandably at a different position on a TO team than on a conventional team. 85-15?

Last edited 6/12/2014 2:12 PM by pclearning

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