Norm Chow's Airraid Offense: Inexperience Is The Problem

Bumped. GO BRUINS. - N

Since the generalization posts have come out today, I say we lighten things up and look towards the future a little ignorantly (smiles at Nes)

The goal of the Chowster is to get to the Air-Raid offense that he was so used to using back at BYU and U$C. Commoners, like me before research, say that balance is the best thing in an offense, but when you can replace different parts of schemes (ie intermediate passing game can replace intermediate running game) balance is inevitable. People that live by these schemes include the following

  1. Hal Mumme
  2. Mike Leach
  3. Lavell Edwards
  4. Norm Chow
  5. Bronco Mendenhall
  6. Chris Hatcher
  7. Tony Franklin
  8. Sonny Dykes
  9. Art Briles
  10. Mark Mangino

-via Chris from

That's a pretty good list of OC's right?

Analysis after the jump

Way back when, Norm Chow devised a sinister plan to shock the College football world.

The offense that he wanted to use would not require insane running backs, tricky motions, or overly athletic quarterbacks. And it wasn't the A-11, or the victory formation.

The offense that he described was originally meant for the split back offense. Of course, the split back is easily converted into the I, split wide Shotgun, Dual Back Shotgun... etc. The first play I found that illustrated it well was this one. 



(Play credit to Chris from Football Smarts)

Entitled 65 Flood or Y-Sail, it is basically the beginnings for all "Airraid" offenses:

Preplay: Read cover 2- "Where are the corners? Cushion... if yes, then cover 2."

During play: 5 step drop

Before he does anything, he "peeks" at the Z (#1, fade underneath him) to see if some massive breakdown in coverage occurred for the big play.

He then goes to the Y (#2 Tight End, Sail--->[Sail is a corner route, with an over-middle-under policy, or go where the guy/s covering you aren't]) 

Your safety valve is your full back, which has been a primary route this year.

Also, your running back is also able to go across the middle as a safety vale for the safety valve, but it is unlikely that he will be able to escape the pileup.

Coverage Pending: If it is cover 2, the QB has to read the Strong Safety

You can use your Z (#1, fade underneath him) as either a safety valve, or tunnel vision lockdown guy, because it will be one on one, no matter what. Also, he Y receiver can be a tunnel vision candidate because he will be up 1 on 1 with the SS, or wide open.

That play is just amazing, however, it requires your QB to get a bunch of reads in in a matter of milliseconds. Try it to get an idea of the timing required with a traditional 5 step drop. Count to 3. Thats how long the play takes to develop. Anything more than 3 seconds will require a scramble/sack. 

Ok comparison time:

BYU: OL is big, built for Pass protection, Dennis Pitta (TE) is just a beast, shotgun with Harvey Unga blocking for you and then being your check-down is guaranteeing you yards every time. Hall has the arm and vision as a 8th year senior (he's been there for a while and I didn't include the LDS mission)

TTU: OL is huge, built for Pass protection, Y spot is shifted to a rotated Slot spot. Lyle Leong and Co. are amazing receivers who know how to catch the ball. Baron Batch is a good receiving back, haven't seen so much of his pass protection, but you would imagine it was good... I mean he gets enough practice at it. Potts/Sheffield are bred for this play 20 yard darts every time.

UCLA: OL isn't massive, but still big, built for timed release protection, Moya and Paulsen can catch, but aren't as fast as the TE's/Y's mentioned above. CR/JF/DC aren't necessarily big, but can be adequate blockers, DC is the best at blocking, worst at catching, JF's in the middle somewhere and CR is the best receiving back we've got. KP has mechanical problems, but has made good reads, KC and RB are using the lockdown guys incorrectly. In my opinion, KP is the best option for this play because he can make those reads. Mechanics are something you can fix too. BUT RB has the mechanics down, he might have to be spoon-fed the coverages though (ie have Austin shout them out in a code or something), which could work out really well... if the receivers catch the ball

Comparison Conclusions:

BYU & TTU have big, experienced lines with great shuffle-step technique and enough strength to follow through with that technique. Then, they have a designated star RB who can draw in another defender on passing plays because of his dual-threat capabilities, which could ease up coverage downfield. TTU has more than one receiver, on the other hand, that can really draw a safety back, and then he can catch the ball.

For the offense to work, UCLA will have to develop a better sense of pass protection through a downfield threat, or develop a deep threat through pass protection. It's the chicken and the egg right? I don't care which starts which though. But specifically, we're headed in the right direction as XSF is built for the Airraid offense, as is KM. Randall Carroll needs some hands, but he does have the speed for it. ALSO, all of these players from the other teams have been veterans who have earned their playing time towards the latter half of their freshman year. So Nes, being young IS the excuse. This offense requires a lot of practice and development, and asking them to open up the playbook and expect to win 6 games is a stretch with a VERY inexperienced offense, so Chow dampened his playbook wisely, so he's coaching outside of his zone right now, which attributes to non-chowy playcalling.

Chow out of his zone expanded:

Last year Kevin Craft set the record for the most UCLA passing attempts and threw 20 INT's. I bet that both CRN and CNC had a talk and decided that the offense would need to develop more off the field before the entire Airraid offense could be unleashed. Which is Dorrellian, I know, but smart because he didn't want to go 4-8 again, and he learned his lesson with an inexperienced (and crippled) offense. Now we got some whippersnappers and he is developing off the field right now, and the playbook is slowly starting to open up, but faster than the development is going, so it's a matter of just one measly year before the Airraid starts working correctly, or shows some signs of doing so. I wanted to make sure that Chow wasn't off his rocker, and he isn't... to any degree.

"I have never played with a freshman quarterback before. That's the situation we're in. Most kids get two years before they have to do this job." -Norm Chow (Interview with LA Times' Chris Foster)

Another point is to add upon the "chicken or egg theory" is that opposed to Dorrellian offenses, the Pass should open up the run in this offense, not the other way around (most effective IMO, as the past 11 National Champions have done just that).

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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