Monday, June 13, 2016

Josh Rosen and the OODA loop

UCLA is looking to get all up in their opponents' OODA loop next year by giving sophomore QB Josh Rosen tremendous autonomy to run the offense from the field next season.

I recall that when Peyton Manning first started running the no-huddle offense at Indianapolis a common take from commentators was that Manning wasn't going to be able to out smart a DC sitting up in the booth who'd spent years in the game and hours in film study. Then Manning won five MVPs and you stopped hearing that take as much.

The reason they were wrong is that a player who can adjust and call plays from the field is at a major advantage against a coach stuck watching from a booth because he can cycle through the OODA loop much more quickly.

The OODA loop is to Observe, Orient, Decide, Act and is a concept devised by military strategist Col. John Boyd. A re-occurring principle from warfare and competition's long history is that the side which can adjust on the fly to avoid disasters and seize opportunities is generally going to win, even if at a deficit in other areas. Peyton Manning allowed the Colts to have that advantage and generally dominated the league unless he was facing opponents that could stop him from cycling through the OODA loop, like the Patriots who always had crafty defensive players that could match his adjustments, or the Steelers who had a player in Troy Polamalu who was nearly impossible to accurately observe.

If Rosen can handle all of this, and I suspect he can, then UCLA could have a big season this year or the next before he departs for the NFL.

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