Flexbone...Basketball on grass?

I apologize in advance to anyone that might have reached this blog by accident.  This is not a blog in support of the new marijuana laws in Colorado or Washington.  This is a Flexbone Option football blog.  Sorry, hippies.

Okay, the title of this blog came about as the result of a discussion with another coach about the Spread vs the Flexbone.  He used the term "basketball on grass" to describe the Spread offense in not a very positive light.  As I thought about it more and more, I came to realize that the term is more applicable to the Flexbone than it is to the Spread.  Before you throw me out of the club, hear me out.

There are 2 separate conversations in particular that I remember having with Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech Head Coach and former Navy Head Coach, and Ivin Jasper, Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach at Navy, about the Flexbone option.  Both conversations occurred in 2006, shortly after I had been hired by Paul Johnson to be the Athletic Director at NAPS (Naval Academy Prep School) in Newport, Rhode Island.  Coach Jasper was explaining the triple option decision-making process to me, and he compared it to a 3 on 2 fast break in basketball.  Coach Jasper said that he's looking for a point guard to play quarterback in this offense, because they make the best decisions.  Coach Johnson and I were talking about our coaching and playing backgrounds.  Coach Johnson shared with me that he was a basketball guy in school.  As we discussed coaching philosophy, Coach Johnson explained that in his mind, the Flexbone triple option was just a basketball concept-- the 3 on 2 fast break-- applied to football.

When run correctly, the triple option does look a lot like a 3 on 2 fast break.  We choose the 2 defenders that we're going to "option" with our 3 possible ball carriers, and then we block the remaining defenders.  Determining who to "option" and how to block the remaining defenders are 2 important keys to running the offense successfully.

The Spread offense is normally run with Zone blocking or Wing T blocking principles, both of which require blocking most of the defenders.  Spread offenses have begun to incorporate Read Option principles into their run game, based on veer and midline option principles.  So the next time someone refers to the Spread offense as basketball on grass, you can set them straight.  The flexbone is the epitome of basketball on grass.

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