During new head coach Jim McElwain’s introductory press conference, a reporter asked Coach Mac… “Are you going to bring the Fun N’ Gun offense back to Florida”; Mac’s response: “I don’t know what you call it but it’s going to be fun to watch.”
After watching tape of Alabama’s offense during the 2009 and 2011 BCS National Championship games and studying some game tape of Colorado State this past season, I believe that Florida can have an explosive offense in McElwain’s first year. Many folks proclaim McElwain’s offense to be “Pro-style” offense. It is, but it isn’t either. I would describe it as a “multiple” offense.
The first thing that jumped off the screen is how big Mac’s offensive lines are. He stacks his line with NFL caliber linemen to give his quarterback the best protection imaginable. Listen to just a few of these names under Jim McElwain’s offense at Alabama: Chance Warmack, Barrett Jones, Cyrus Kuandjio, DJ Fluker, James Carpenter, and Andre Smith. Alabama was practically a factory of offensive line talent from 2008-2011. Look for Mac to not only emphasize recruiting big linemen, but linemen that will project to be NFL talent.
Second thing to look for: Mac’s running backs are his go-to playmakers. Mac used Dee Hart at Colorado State like a Swiss Army knife. He was not only running counters and zone reads with Hart, he was also catching passes on wheel routes, swing passes in the flat off of play-action and bumping off of blocks for short screens. While at Alabama, coach Mac had the luxury of having Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy all back-to-back-to-back. One could argue these were some of the best running backs to ever play at the University of Alabama.
Third thing to look for is, heavy tight end usage. Gator fans aren’t used to hearing the words “Tight End” and “Use” in the same sentence. But brace yourself Gator Nation, its going to happen and happen often. Mac loves having 2-3 tight ends on the field at one time. It confuses the defense into thinking run heavy package and then BOOM, play-action to a receiver that is covered one-on-one to the outside. And if that receiver is just a “decoy” or that read isn’t there, it gives the quarterback options to check it down to any of the tight ends or the running back coming off of his block.
Fourth thing to watch is how much pistol formation there is. This confuses the defense and opens up running lanes for the back. Mac will spread 4 receivers wide on a “down and distance” play and then run out of the pistol, leaving only 6 defenders near the line of scrimmage. This allows the offensive line to get a massive push up front and the running back to either get outside the tackles or look for a crease in the A and B gaps.
The fifth and most important thing to look for in this “multiple” offense is how the quarterback benefits along with his receivers. Mac was a quarterback at Eastern Washington and has the mentality of a quarterback when coaching. He simplifies the game for his QB’s which means limiting mistakes, higher efficiency throws, and more opportunities for his receivers to get open and the quarterback a chance to get the ball to them. The most important thing a quarterback has is his confidence. Once that is gone, the quarterback has no effectiveness in the game. Mac will get Florida’s QB making confident throws and will allow him to develop a rhythm which will keep the offense on the field and the defense on the sidelines (mind blown, right?).
This should be a fun time to watch Florida Gator football again. Once the Gators get the talent on offense to be successful in Mac’s system, I believe that Florida will be in control once again of the SEC East division.