When most people hear “spread offense,” they have visions of four wide receivers and teams flinging the ball all around the field. That’s a fair assessment to an extent, as the offense is designed to create individual matchups in the secondary, but few think about spreading a defense out with offensive lineman gaps.
One of the trademarks of a Willie Taggart-coached offense is the splits of his linemen. One of the key areas of development that FSU fans will be looking for this spring is along the offensive line. The unit has lost some depth with guys transferring since Taggart took over.
Taggart’s line coach is Greg Frey, who comes with as much experience and résumé credentials as anybody on the staff. He probably should already be an offensive coordinator, a position that he will more than likely land if he’s able to work some magic with FSU’s line, which has been one of the Seminoles’ most underwhelming units in the past few seasons. If he has success similar to what he achieved in Indiana, he might skip all that and become a head coach candidate.
Frey comes from the “old school” Wayne McDuffie and Brad Scott school of thought, something with which older FSU fans should be familiar. He wants long, athletic lineman who are tenacious and nasty. In short, we should see a pissed-off offensive line. And that’s fine, as the unit has been the butt of jokes in the ACC as of late.
The running game of late has looked good on paper, but at times, it was stalled because opposing defenses stacked the box and penetrated, which messes up a zone-run game. Based upon what Taggart has run in the past, along with what I saw in the first week of spring practice, what FSU is using know is more of a gap blocking scheme.
Gap blocking is more aggressive than zone blocking, and that affects technique as well as mindset and attitude. It’s more of an attacking type of scheme; in terms of the run game, it helps create spacing, or gaps, and when you have talented running backs with vision, they can exploit those gaps. When executed properly, the way the splits are set up can mean big plays in the run game, as we’ve seen already this spring. It’s still not perfect but it’s effective.
In this scheme, I expect less zone reads and more blast/traps, jet sweeps and counter treys – plays that are more aggressive and attacking.
This has focused mainly on how it’ll the line splits will impact the run game; I believe the pass protection will be shored up from a technical aspect by Frey. In addition, pacing and momentum should help keep the opposing front seven off balance. When a defense can’t just pin its ears back, it helps slow the pass rush. In addition, the larger gaps give the ends a little bit more ground to cover. Ideally, the new aggressive mindset should help FSU linemen hold blocks longer. Superior conditioning and technique will help, too.
As for who starts? That remains an unknown for now, but it’ll be the nastiest and most aggressive war daddies of the bunch. Attitude reflects leadership. With Frey’s addition and the energy I’ve seen from him, one can expect that his trend of turning offensive lines around will continue.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/florida-state-offensive-line-coach-greg-frey-improve-unit