Spread HD: It's Good For You

Good for you.  Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror was able to collect some good player and coach quotes about the new playbook that might help us understand this new high definition offense.

Jay Paterno on his Playstation creation:

''It's a run offense,'' Jay Paterno said. ''It's really a glorified wishbone offense.''

...

''That's the biggest misconception about the spread offense is that it's this wide open, throw it all over the place [offense],'' Paterno said.

...

''It helps immensely because we can move them around and do things because they all know the other positions,'' Paterno said. ''You're not going to necessarily know where Deon Butler is every time. You're not going to necessarily know where Derrick is or Jordan is or any of those guys. We're going to be able to move them around and put them in different places.''

...

''We really want to get into where we have that running game, but we want to be able to throw the ball so we can win games in the fourth quarter,'' Paterno said.

This is both scary and exciting.  In the bowl game Clark was able to gain a first down virtually every time he touched the ball, all despite the fact that it was painfully obvious he was keeping it after the snap.  Williams' end arounds are usually very predictable but he still averaged over 6 ypc last year.  So now we are looking at those two weapons on the field at the same time, plus a tried and tested Royster and very promising Green in the backfield.  That is four very good options without even taking into consideration any type of passing attack.

This raises some interesting (read: potentially troubling) question, however.  If Jay has historically been in charge of the pass and Hall in charge of the run, how is this offense going to be able to maintain any type of consistent game plan?  I know you could say that no matter what offense is being run with our ridiculous OC system, but it seems especially important here.  Besides, if Jay is the creator of this thing he needs to be the guy directing it, at least from a high level.  The worst thing that could possibly happen is Penn State attempts to implement this offense, only to handicap it with 1970's style hand-offs every other series.

I've always hated the offensive play calling system even though we know almost nothing about it.  I have my complaints about Jay, but if he is moving forward with an updated offense and tailoring it to our personnel, it's not fair to handicap him and thus diminish the effectiveness of the playbook.

Regardless, the players sound excited:

''We're going to make more of, when Daryll's in there, more of his legs,'' Butler said. ''Obviously he's still going to throw passes because teams are going to make him prove that he can pass. We know he can, but he's going to have to prove it.''

...

''With the talent that me and Pat may bring with being able to run the ball,'' Clark said, ''we're going to have some options and a couple of wrinkles with the wideouts being in the backfield and things like that.''

...

Clark added: ''With Stephfon and Royster being back there, Derrick being back there, reverse here, reverse there, reverse pass here, a lot of quick passes and putting the wideouts in position to make plays, make yards after the catch.''  [ed - awesome]

For the most part this is all good news.  Penn State led the nation last year in 'boring offensive' and, as a result, the team was predictable and struggled with late game drives.  The coaches and players all seem to be excited and hopeful about the new playbook. The system and personal are in place.  The big question will be how far Joe will let this thing go.  The two most important games of the year are on the road, a place both the players and coaches have historically struggled. The only way we are going to be able to mount an attack at the Big Ten Crown is if the head coach can stomach a truly contemporary and aggressive offense.

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