Published June 5, 2012 - 7:25am
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If you’re a football fan active on the web and on Twitter, you’ve likely come across Chris Brown’s work online either at his home site at SmartFootball.com or with his contributions to sites like ESPN’s Grantland.com. His writing combines an unusual depth of the game of football with a style easily understood by the average fan.
Recently, Chris published his book: The Essential Smart Football. It combines some of his previously published material from the web with some new writing into a 138-page, paperback book. The format is one of short chapters, each on a specific team, coach or topic. Let’s be honest, it’s an ideal format for guys who like football. Skip around to chapters which interest you or read the book cover-to-cover. It works well either way you approach it.
While the book covers a variety of fascinating topics such as Rex Ryan and the Jets, Tom Brady’s no-huddle attack and a great chapter on how Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed changed the safety position, I’m going to focus more on the SEC-related chapters considering the audience of Saturday Down South.
The following are some chapters from The Essential Smart Football:
Urban Meyer and the Spread Option Offense
Probably my favorite chapter in the book, Chris does an excellent job explaining what Urban Meyer’s spread offense actually does, why it works, and why it thrived with someone like Tim Tebow at the helm.
Regardless of your opinion on the spread offense attack, it’s impossible to deny the success Meyer has had with it. He led the first non-BCS team to a BCS win (Utah), had a #1 draft pick (Alex Smith), won two national titles at Florida and had a Heisman trophy winner (Tebow). By reading this chapter, you’ll see that the spread is actually rather simple in strategy and consistently effective.
While Meyer is no longer at Florida, his impact has been massive on all of college football. This chapter does wonders for helping the average fan understand the method behind the dominant run of the Florida Gators during the 2006-2009 seasons.
Nick Saban’s Defense
An entire chapter explaining the origin and strategy of Nick Saban’s defense? Mandatory reading for any Alabama fan. Like most of the topics in this book, you’ll see Saban didn’t really invent anything, but just seeks perfection on fairly standard defensive principles. That doesn’t mean there aren’t specific strategies and concepts built in to Saban’s defense, and Chris does a great job of explaining what these are and why they’re important.
Gus Malzahn’s Multiple Attack
The convergence of Gus Malzahn and Cam Newton with the 2010 national championship Auburn Tigers team is a fascinating story. Chris breaks down the offensive system that Malzahn sought to implement and how it evolved with having the all-world quarterback of Cam Newton at his disposal. Again, a must-read chapter for the Auburn fan.
The Long Arc Of Steve Spurrier
Chris does a fascinating job of explaining the simple yet dominating offensive attack full of draw plays and play action from the mid-90′s Florida Gators teams that dominated the SEC. Moreover, Chris articulates how Spurrier has impressively evolved using the same offensive framework and managing to win games without putting up the massive passing statistics at South Carolina that was the norm years ago with the Gators.
Who Should Read The Book
I would recommend this book to the vast majority of football fans. The reality is that despite football being massively popular, most fans have little to no knowledge of football schemes and on-field strategy. This book is the perfect introduction into such topics.
By using teams and players we’re all familiar with and maybe even emotionally invested in, the more in-depth football topics are easily explained and easily digested by the reader. As I mentioned above, the short chapters and easy-to-read style is ideal for the average football fan. Pick up a copy of the book via Amazon today.