Friday, August 8, 2008
Big 12 teams are adept at picking up the offensive tempo
By Ivan Maisel
Which teams know how to use speed to their advantage? Here are the nation's top tempo teams.
The Ducks averaged 79 plays and 38.2 points per game despite finishing ninth in the Pac-10 in average time of possession (28 minutes, 37 seconds) in 2007. Get on the field, score your points and get off.
Tempo guru and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin has brought his magic to the Plains this season. With a talented line and a bunch of good running backs, the effect should be immediate.
In the past two seasons, the Trojans have upset Oklahoma State (41-23 in 2007) and made Georgia (44-34 in 2007) and Florida State (24-14 in 2006) work much harder than they expected to. The equalizer? Offensive tempo.
Golden Hurricane coach Todd Graham is fearless on offense. In the past two seasons, he has led Tulsa and Rice to bowls. In 2007, Tulsa averaged 80 snaps, 40.5 passes and 40.3 rushes per game.
Tigers quarterback Chase Daniel has been running a version of this no-huddle spread since the early days of high school. His proficiency is obvious: 40 points and 79 plays per game, and a turnover margin of plus-13.
The biggest returning starter for the Jayhawks is not quarterback Todd Reesing but offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, who turned away an overture from at least one big-name school during the offseason.
7. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders' explosive offensive production will be even more decisive now that the defense, under coordinator Ruffin McNeill, has learned how to stop people.
No one knows how often the Sooners will ratchet up the tempo. But they will do so more often this season and with an offense loaded with talent (quarterback Sam Bradford, tailbacks DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown).
9. Oklahoma State
As the 2007 season went along, the Cowboys' offense got faster and faster. First six games: 32 points and 473 yards per game. Last seven games: 37 points and 498 yards per game. Figure they'll pick up where they left off.
10. Southern Miss/Baylor
Two schools with new coaches (Larry Fedora at Southern Miss and Art Briles at Baylor) have adopted the tempo spread offense. They should be humming by midseason.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Ivan at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book, "The Maisel Report: College Football's Most Overrated and Underrated Players, Coaches, Teams, & Traditions," is on sale now.