Friday, October 30, 2015

Iowa and a strategy model for non-blueblood teams

The Hawkeyes are in solid position to reach the college football playoffs if they can stay healthy, beat out the rest of the Big 10 West (they've already beaten Wisconsin), and then win a big game in the B1G title against Michigan State or Ohio State.

Their defense is standard, 4-3 Over/Cover 4 stuff that most everyone runs. They're the Midwest version of Kansas St on defense with comparable players and strategy. We already know that works reasonably well in the Big 12 although they might struggle to get away with playing a 225 pound space-backer rather than a nickel.

What's more interesting is how committed Iowa is to stretch zone on offense, which allows them to build awesome running games with a cast of 6'3" 285 pound OL. Think Big 12 teams could find OL like that?

TCU is built around stretch zone as well, although with bigger OL, and they've married it to the Air Raid. Texas Tech has done this as well, in theory, but they've not really been committed to it. Mangino more or less relied on that strategy to turn Kansas into a contender back in the day.

I'm curious to see if more teams can master this strategy and be willing to commit to the rep-intensive nature of it and still get enough reps to make a spread passing game work. TCU might be a model for this, David Beatty and Kansas should be taking notes and Iowa State might want to aim for something like that if they need to replace Rhoads at the end of the year.

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