Study ranks the SEC’s ‘most spread’ offenses


SBNation’s Football Study Hall is always informative and wildly entertaining, and Bill Connelly does a terrific job crunching numbers. His most recent study pertained to college football’s ‘most spread’ offenses.

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Spread ‘em out attacks are becoming more popular, even in the SEC. Remember when Urban Meyer brought the spread attack to Florida? Many said he couldn’t win with that offense. He won two championships and had a Heisman winner in Tim Tebow with his scheme. Most recently, Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin have turned the SEC on its head with a similar style of play, and the explosive box scores they are putting together aren’t what we’re used to seeing.

Connelly’s theory, which evolved into a study, is that if spread offenses are designed to get the ball in space to its playmakers, the percent of solo tackles is the biggest indicator of the most spread offenses, as opposed to assisted tackles.

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Here’s Connelly’s list of how the SEC’s offenses rank in terms of the most spread attacks:

SEC Rank   National Rank   School   % Solo Tackles Against
1   12   Ole Miss   80.8%
2   25   Kentucky   78.9%
3   35   S. Carolina   77.7%
4   36   Florida   77.5%
5   38   Missouri   77.4%
6   53   Georgia   75.2%
7   61   Tennessee   74.5%
8   66   Auburn   73.7%
9   71   Miss. State   72.9%
10   80   Texas A&M   72.3%
11   91   Vanderbilt   69.7%
12   93   Alabama   69.2%
13   119   LSU   61.9%
14   125   Arkansas   55.5%

Granted, this is one year’s worth of numbers, but the study revealed Ole Miss had the SEC’s most spread offense, while Arkansas had the least spread attack. I wouldn’t agree that Auburn has the SEC’s eighth most spread attack (or the country’s 66th most spread attack), but based on this past season, you could call Auburn’s offense a downhill power running game with tempo.

I’m anxious to watch Kentucky’s Air Raid attack when they get their personnel right. Arkansas, LSU and Alabama bring up the rear in the least spread teams.

Is it a perfect theory or study? I’m not sure anything’s a perfect study in college football, because it’s ever evolving, and coaches evolve offenses to fit the personnel. It won’t bring anyone to a complete conclusion, but it’s certainly interesting.

Photo Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports



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  • I see where the stat compiler is coming from. He defines a spread offense as one the that creates more one on one matchups and that should equal more solo tackles. However, there are several other defensive variables that contribute to the making of a solo tackle. Also I would say the spread offense has several other variables that define the craze. I’d like to see these rankings combined with solo tackle%, avg time between snaps, avg. personel (RB/WR/TE ratio), and yards per snap. (Tell me if I’m missing a stat)

  • Well, on the flip side, it could mean our guys are just easy to tackle. That would suck…..

  • Auburn #8 & TAMU #10….I don’t think so……lets recheck those numbers……..the margin of error in his theory is larger than the spread% in the teams……
    “If you torture data long enough, you can make it confess to anything.”

    • aTm had Manziel for 2 years and he had some very large numbers but Evans was the main reason. If you take away the catches on balls that were just thrown up for grabs that Evans turned into miracle plays, both Manziel and the team would not look nearly as impressive nor would their numbers be the same. Malzahn showed up with a HS offense nobody was prepared for. He won some games on luck and some because he had a very good tackle and RB for his running back QB to follow. Now all of the main players from both offenses are gone. Instead of busting folks chops about silly numbers you better start worrying about this year, cause it ain’t going to be nearly as pretty as you seem to believe. Both teams if they continue to play like they did last year on offense will lose 3 or 4 games.

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