Inside College Football: NFL proving it can’t run from spread offense QBs anymore – CBS sports.com (blog)


Mike Leach
sees the hypocrisy of the latest NFL Draft and cannot keep silent.

A league that largely decries college spread offense quarterbacks for being “unprepared” has drafted a lot of them lately. Specifically, the top five quarterbacks taken last week operated out of spread offenses. That group included three in the top 12:
North Carolina Tar Heels
‘s Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2,
Texas Tech Red Raiders
‘s Patrick Mahomes and No. 10 and
Clemson Tigers
‘s
Deshaun Watson
at No. 12.

It doesn’t end there. Two of the top three quarterbacks in the 2016 draft (
Jared Goff
,
Paxton Lynch
) came from spread offenses. In 2015, a pair of former Heisman Trophy winners —
Jameis Winston
and
Marcus Mariota
— went from the shotgun to 1-2 in the draft. 

Not ready for the NFL? The spread option quarterback is the NFL, Leach said.

“Anybody who says [otherwise], in my mind, I immediately categorized as an idiot,”
Washington State Cougars
‘s coach said.

“I’m fully prepared to debate these people on this subject because the entire thing is so absurd.”

Leach — never a wallflower — is fully qualified for that debate as one of the fathers of the modern spread offense. The 56-year-old coach was teaching the concepts you see today almost 30 years ago at Iowa Wesleyan when no one knew what to call it.

Now it is the dominant offense nationally in college and high schools. You might have noticed that even a certain Super Bowl champion has its franchise quarterback in the shotgun the majority of the time throwing to four- and five-receiver sets.

So what’s the big deal?
Arizona Cardinals
coach Bruce Arians, for one, has been an
outspoken critic of the offense’s influence
in his league’s quarterback prospects.

“I think it’s mainly prognosticators, handicappers repeating dogma they’ve heard to try to sound intelligent,” Leach said. “In the end, there’s good football players and not-as-good football players. The sad truth these people dumping on this spread offense don’t want to admit is the fact that most of the NFL runs the spread offense.”

This draft was sort of a convoluted salute to Leach. For a decade, he lifted Texas Tech from quaint anonymity to national prominence in large part because of his Air Raid offense. Five years into his stay at Washington State, the Cougars have won at least eight games in consecutive years for only the fourth time in school history.

Mahomes was coached by Kliff Kingsbury, who played for Leach at Tech. Mahomes was only the second Red Raiders quarterback to be drafted from Tech since Kingsbury in 2003 (by the
New England Patriots
).

For years, one of the few knocks on Leach was that his Air Raid offense didn’t translate to his quarterbacks’ success in the NFL. Kingsbury still runs a version of Leach’s Air Raid.

And in a weird twist, Kingsbury coached Mahomes, Cal’s
Davis Webb
(third round to the
New York Giants
) and
Oklahoma Sooners
‘s
Baker Mayfield
— all at Texas Tech. Mayfield is expected to be a valuable NFL prospect next year.

Leach’s current quarterback,
Luke Falk
, will also be in the draft discussion. Falk comes into the season as 2017’s leading returning passer.

“I know a lot of coaches in the NFL and talked football with a lot of coaches in the NFL,” Leach said. “The NFL has progressed steadily toward the spread offense, not away from it. Most coaches in the NFL don’t share these concerns.”

Those concerns seem almost prehistoric these days.

Spread quarterbacks can’t read a defense?  Leach launched into lecture mode. “Do we want a guy who checks at the line of scrimmage and read defenses or not? … We’ve been too stupid and shortsighted to realize most of [the NFL] runs the spread offense.”

Spread quarterbacks can’t take a snap under center? “Ignoring the fact that most of your league doesn’t take the ball under center,” Leach said of the NFL, “let’s start with the fact everybody I know learned it either in junior high or before.

“We can pretend the best coaches are in the NFL but that flies in the face of the fact they don’t seem to be able to do what every junior high coach in the country can do. That is learn to take a snap under center.”

Spread quarterbacks can’t play in the NFL? “The highest level of football that exists with allegedly the best coaching that exists?” Leach said of the NFL. “That is absurd because the NFL hasn’t had the best coaching for a long time.”

Bruce Arians, we await your response. 

Nick’s windfall

Very quietly this week
Alabama Crimson Tide
‘s Nick Saban became college football‘s first $10 million coach. Actually, he will earn
more than $11 million in 2017 after figuring in a bonus for extending his contract
.

The college football world barely blinked.

Maybe by now we’re conditioned to all zeroes flying through the air. Maybe it’s because that $11 million is a one-time figure because of a $4 million bonus. It’s now almost expected that most big-time coaches are the highest paid employees in their state.

Or in the case of Alabama’s coach, maybe the comparisons should aim higher. Maybe all the way into space. We mention NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot because stratospheric (financial) figures factor into the discussion. Also, because Lightfoot (published salary: $185,000) got his undergrad in mechanical engineering from Alabama.

To sum it up, Saban will make 60 times more than the head of NASA in 2017. But even Alabama’s coach doesn’t answer to the president of the United States like Lightfoot.

Under the terms of the new deal, Saban will make $65 million beginning this season through 2024. That sliver of his contract is larger than 181 Division I athletic budgets as tracked by USA Today. http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/

Considering he’s averaging almost 12 wins a season at Alabama, Saban is still a bargain.

Craig Bohl: Quarterback guru

You need to know
Josh Allen
.
Wyoming Cowboys
‘s quarterback just might be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.

Allen already is popping up on 2018 mock drafts as the next big thing.
Check out the mocks
from CBS Sports’ Will Brinson and Rob Rang.

A quarterback from Wyoming making it in the NFL is about obscure as it gets. The last and only
Dallas Cowboys
quarterback to be drafted was the Jim Walden in the 16th round by the
Cleveland Browns
in 1960. (In a weird connection to Leach, Walden coached Washington State from 1978-86.)

Allen hails from Firebaugh, California — a Central California town a few miles from Fresno.

“He’s about 235 pounds, runs a 4.65, can throw it a country mile and is ultra competitive …,” said Craig Bohl, Wyoming’s coach. “It wasn’t like he was heavily recruited at all.”

Allen would be the second top quarterback in three years developed by Bohl. Yes, it was Bohl who recruited and developed
Carson Wentz
at North Dakota State. (Bohl had left for Wyoming prior to Wentz’ final season in 2015.)

When it is suggested Bohl has become foreman of a quarterback factory, he laughs.

There is nothing fake about the kid, nothing complicated. He drives a beat up old pick-up and likes to chuck it. That explains a sub-standard 56 percent completion rate and also a Mountain West-leading 28 touchdown passes.

Like Wentz, Allen was a late bloomer coming from juco Reedley College. (Yeah, I’d never hear of it either.) Bohl tells the story of Allen chasing down a
San Diego State Aztecs
defender who had intercepted one of his passes.

“The guy is running down the sidelines, Josh takes off and lights the kid up,” the coach said. “Josh comes over the sideline and has blood coming out of his lip. He’s like a Brett Favre.”

Well, a Brett Favre who’s only 72,000 passing yards, 11 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl title behind. Hey, but what would the draft be without a little hype?

Stay tuned to this space for much more on Allen in the future.