The future of football?

As I wrote in my column today, Purdue coach Joe Tiller insists that the spread of the spread offense has as much to do with changes in our society as a whole as it does finding a way to win football games.

While I was speaking with Indiana coach Bill Lynch about his thoughts on the spread offense, I began wondering about the future of football. How far would the trend go? But I forgot to ask him because, well, I saw an opening to talk to kicker Austin Starr and wanted to get his thoughts on a variety of things, most of them having nothing to do with football.

Luckily, I’ve found my answer to what football will be in the future: two quarterbacks and nine eligible receivers. What that means, really, is that all 11 players on the field could end up catching the ball. It’s the spread on ‘roids.

Read the story. Watch the video. Then tell me what you think….will football really evolve the way the creators of this offense believe it will?

I’m going to be interested to check back on this later in the year. The team that runs this offense — dubbed the A-ll — has made three straight playoff appearances using it. But by now I’m guessing other defensive coaches are planning for it by shifting defensive sets and personnel.


  1. I really hope not. This offense is very, very ugly and I’m pretty big on running the ball. Just not a fan.

  2. As it becomes more popular, it will be to easy to defend. If you run a T-N-T defensive line to take out the 2 tightends and center, using 4 linebackers, you send two around the edge, the other two up the middle, and pressure the 2 QB’s.

    I know there are 6 “receivers” spread wide, but out of those 6, only 4 can be eligible to catch a pass, (you can only have 5 receivers, the “QB” who does not take the snap is an automatic eligible)so you play zone coverage to pick-up the 4 eligible.

    This is a great gimmick offense, but nothing more than just that. There are also many, many officiating issues that come along with this, and I look for it to be outlawed in the next couple years.

  3. After looking into this more, the formation is legal (for now) in high school, but has already been deemed illegal by the NCAA. So don’t expect it to be around for long.

  4. I need to revisit my defensive strategy on this. Being that it is only legal in High School for the moment, I could not run the defense I previously stated.

    Since the A-11 is basically a scrimmage kick formation, it is illegal to put a nose tackle heads up over the center. I would run a 4-3-4, sending the front 4 and middle line backer into the back field (5 on 3). I would play my corners and safeties in a soft cover zone with my 2 outside linebackers responsible to cover underneath and across the middle.

    Of course you would need athletes on the field to match their athletes, as the offense would be using all skill players. If you know the team uses this formation, it would be easy to scheme against it.

  5. Why not? Thinking out of the box within the parameters of the rules will revolutionize the game. Why not three pass-run-catch backs who can block as well. And, add depth to the spread by moving the ball back as well. Then watch the 345lb defensive linemen and 265 lb linebackers try to keep up with the whole thing.

    This is what it will take to level the playing field in college football…a coach with a strategic mind who can innovate and make use of the concepts of “the Art of War” and distribute rather than concentrate the battlefield. u

  6. Tsao Tsu,

    If you read in my above post, this offense is already illegal by the wording contained in the NCAA rules.

    Speaking with a high school official who does the NFHS rules meetings every year, this will be an illegal offense to run next year. I didn’t ask how they were planning on making it illegal, but my guess would be the rules will require a minimum of 5 players to wear numbers 50-79, therefore making them non eligible to receive a pass.

  7. Mike P, when and where did the NCAA declare the formation illegal? Why would anyone be limited by your interpretation of the NCAA rules. Speaking “with a high school official,” merely leaves it at the level of …rumor.

    Speaking football; yours is not a strategy…it is merely a simple and mechanical operation…Genius change the paradigm; mechanics adjust the valves.

    Tsao Tsu say: the Truth is on the grass…

  8. In the NCAA this offense is not be legal. The language added in the (formation) rule says that “it must be obvious that a kick may be attempted.”

    Since this is a scrimmage kick formation, it could only be used as a trick play on a 3rd (quick kick situation) or 4th down punting situations. It could not be installed and ran as a primary offense. The NCAA will not allow it as a standard offense. That comes directly from an NCAA official who works in the MAC conference and is on the weekly officials review board.

    Oh, and if you think it is so great, ask Tim Tebow what he thinks about this formation when Glenn Dorsey is on the defensive side of the ball. Florida used a modified version of the A-11 last year against LSU, the result of the play was 300lbs of DT (Dorsey) planting Tebow behind the line of scrimmage.

  9. Mark P…there never was a statement about fourth down formation…the issue is not all one of rule interpretation… Again…rumors, a high school authority, a nameless un-named ‘NCAA official from the MAC???)…to substantiate what?..your interpretation of an un-named rumor of an NCAA rule

    Tsao Tsu repeats …constantly know and adjust to the terrain…overrate your adversary…underrate your own forces…create…deceive…deceive…spread your forces…..fight like a ghost…strike and disappear…the offense known as …the Amoeba 11….totally permissible under current NCAA rules.

  10. Tsao Tsu,

    Do you understand the rules? The rule says that you must have 5 players numbered 50-79 on the line between the ends, those 5 players are not eligible by number and position. The exception to this rule is that team A lines up in a scrimmage kick formation, then you can have all 11 players numbered 1-49, 80-99.

    However, the scrimmage kick rule states that it must be obvious (down and distance) that a kick may be attempted. Therefore in all 1st and 2nd down situations, and the majority of 3rd down situations, running this formation will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

    So again, this is illegal to use as an offense, it still can be used as a formation, but I look for the loophole that allows it to be closed soon.

    If you don’t believe me, call Danny Shields or Bob Parker, they are both officials, and they will both tell you it is not legal to use as an offense in the NCAA unless used in a punting situation, and that it still could be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

  11. Danny and Bobby know Tsao Tsu way is best…read…see…think…paradigms explain phenomena inside paradigm only… like rule book…great coaches see more…play outside paradigm…Beethoven hear music when there was no sound…Einstein see atoms move in space…Bob Knight see movement on floor when no one on floor…look outside paradigm…win! change football dynamics…Tsao Tsu goes to sleep

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