Old School Vs. New School

January 25th, 2019

View may differ from Mike Leach.

Joe is going to credit Jenna Laine of ESPN for coming up with this line because Joe hadn’t heard anyone speak of it until Laine did last fall.

Last year, Laine noted that the NFC South is the Big XII of the NFL.

And she is right. The pass-happy ways of the teams in the NFC South are very much like the pass-happy teams in the Big XII. Those teams generally don’t run the ball much but when they do, they are effective. But what those teams excel at is passing.

Teams there have largely been on the cutting edge of the passing revolution in football, which the NFL seems to be fully embracing. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech and Iowa State have become arena league teams on artificial turf in the heartland. And the guy who started it all in that conference is Mike Leach, when he was an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (oddly enough, Leach is now coaching in the PAC-12).

Leach’s influence and fingerprints are all over the Big XII, much more than, say, Nick Saban has influenced the SEC.

And it is spreading to the NFL. Pat Mahomes and Baker Mayfield each played for Leach disciples in college, Kliff Kingsbury and Lincoln Riley. Both Kingsbury and Riley were once quarterbacks for Leach at Texas Tech. Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm. Mayfield seems to be on the cusp of doing so. And Kingsbury just got hired by the Cardinals.

So what does this have to do with the Bucs? Well, Leach and his proteges are thought to be on the cutting edge of offense. New wave if you will. Maybe it is a fad, maybe not.

Now with the Bucs, new coach Bucco Bruce Arians is a wonderful mixture of Bear Bryant old school mentality with a guy who loves to launch the football. You know, no risk it, no biscuit. But this is where Arians and, say Leach and his cronies, begin to differ.

Leach has famously said those who believe a balanced offense is half-run, half-pass are off the mark. “There is nothing balanced about 50 percent run and 50 percent pass because that is 50 percent stupid.”

Leach believes a balanced offense is one that spreads the ball equally to a team’s playmakers. If that means a team is loaded with running backs and no receivers, then you pound the ball. If you have no running game but do have a passing attack, you basically ignore the run game.

As Laine points out in a story on the four-letter’s website, the Bucs must develop a running game and quotes Arians going old school.

New coach Bruce Arians favors a strong vertical passing attack, but he believes in balance, too. The Bucs averaged 3.92 yards per carry in 2018, which ranked 31st in the league. “Balance is key,” Arians told reporters. “At the end of the season, you’d like to have 50-50 run-pass [division]. Now some games, you’re winning in the fourth quarter, so you run the ball a bit [more], some games you’re losing, so you’re throwing it all the time. But by the end, you like to stay balanced.” He also said that the offensive line is an area that needs to improve.

Joe sort of leans to Leach’s view. A team only gets so many plays a game. You shouldn’t waste them trying something that has a low percentage of success (which is why Joe thought Dirk Koetter was wasting plays forcing America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, to throw deep to malcontent DeSean Jackson when they clearly struggled).

To Joe, running the ball just to run the ball only because some meathead defensive coach back it the 1960s said so doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

So this ought to be interesting. If the Bucs do not address the run game with new bodies this offseason, should we really expect Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones or Jacquizz Rodgers to run for 1,200 yards?

21 Responses to “Old School Vs. New School”

  1. Tbbucs3 Says:

    If the NFC south is the Big 12…

    The Saints = Oaklahoma
    Falcons= Oaklahoma State
    Panthers= Texas
    Bucs= Texas Tech (Offensive numbers with no wins to show for it)

  2. Stanglassman Says:

    Our division teams all have balance but the Bucs. They have quality Rbs and improved defenses. The Falcons struggled this year because they were riddled with injuries on the backend of their defense and Rb, Freeman got injured. I do however agree you need to be a unpredictable play caller and shouldn’t run just to run or pass just to pass. I’m glad we got a coach who isn’t going to punt in 4-1 all the time and put team away when we’re ahead. We’ll have a attacking style team on both sides of the ball. This should be exciting for both players and the fans.

  3. teacherman777 Says:

    Warhop was a big problem. We have sucked since Logan Mankins retired.

    “Logan teaches us things things we have never seen before.”- Sli Marlet and Fobivsn Snith

  4. DB55 Says:

    equally to a team’s playmakers.
    Idk about all that.

    Championship teams all have a trifecta. Runs across all leagues. White, Edelman and gronk. Lamar’s Ingram and Thomas. Kelce hunt and hill oh wait… Evans oj brate/Godwin (only cuz brate was hurt and we don’t have a RB). If only we’d draft cook but I digress.

    Football will always be about one team doing what they do best and the other team trying to stop them. Getting “creative” and trying to fool the other team is fools gold.

    Get an oline in the 3-4 rounds, a udfa as a RB (ie Lindsey) and defensive lineman who come from a very poor and very big family, 4 kids minimum. Get those guys bc they want nice things they want to take care of their fams and they bust they arse to do so.

    Ain’t no udfa trying to put a Batman logo on a Bentley that’s just blasphemous and disrespectful to all working families trying to put food on the table. Compound it with 17! Solo TACKLES and that’s enough to get you smacked right in the mouth in NY or NE. Ijs.

  5. DB55 Says:

    *kamara Ingram and Thomas.

  6. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    You need to run even though it doesn’t work to keep the defense honest, it keeps the linebackers and safeties closer to the line of scrimmage to open up the deep pass and make it easier for WR and TE to beat linebackers pass coverage

  7. Whatinthebuchappend Says:

    Well said db55…I have absolutely hated McCoy since we drafted him and his antics and play has justified everything I have thought of him coming out…he may work hard here and there but when the going gets tuff , the tuff gets going and the Batman pajama man does not get going tuff ! I say get the best olineman 1st Rd and get that kid Henderson RB out of menphis 2nd round and Dline and corners the rest of the way , good football players who have Moxy and grit that want to feed thier families ! We all are so tired of the losing culture and with this coaching staff is a good start because Bruce is going to hold everyone accountable and get players who want to prove themselves..he knows what it takes to win in this league and how to get there so I’m not worried about that.furthermore , he just needs to get everyone on the same Paige , something that’s been lacking on this team for years now ! We do have talent we just have to put a few pieces in place and Bruce will not tolerate anything but perfection at what he wants each one to do so I have a feeling we will be much better off because of that alone ! Let’s sit back and watch it all unfold and enjoy the entertainment for once ! Go bucs !

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “A team only gets so many plays a game. You shouldn’t waste them trying something that has a low percentage of success.” Agree 100% (sometimes we tend to overlook the obvious … play to your strengths & minimize your weaknesses?).

    Out of curiosity looked at the last 4 teams in the playoffs vs the Bucs:

    o Chiefs (12-4): Total plays – 983 (includes 26 sacks) … 38.9% run – 61.1% pass
    o Pats (11-5): Total plays – 1073 (includes 21 sacks) … 44.5% run – 55.5% pass
    o Saints (13-3): Total plays – 1010 (includes 20 sacks) … 46.6% run – 53.4% pass
    o Rams (13-3): Total plays – 1060 (includes 33 sacks) … 43.3% run – 56.7% pass
    o Bucs (5-11): Total plays – 1055 (includes 41 sacks) … 36.9% run – 63.1% pass

    Chiefs came closest to emulating the Bucs (except in the W-L category of course) … weak defense but strong offense more focused on the pass (their strength?) than the run. The other 3 teams however (Patriots, Saints, Rams) had pretty much the same run-pass BALANCE in their offense (roughly 45% run – 55% pass). All 3 of those teams got over 2,000 yds rushing BTW (Chiefs still got 1855 yds rushing & 4.8 YPC). And all 3 of those had pretty decent defenses & S/Ts (they were good at playing COMPLIMENTARY FOOTBALL?).

    So why were those teams so successful this year & the Bucs no-so-much? Look no further than the play of their QBs, their OLine effectiveness, in pass AND run blocking, and the quality of their RBs versus the Bucs’ performances in those areas. And oh ya, they were more well-rounded TEAMS when it came to offense, defense & S/Ts (even the Chiefs). And all have coaches who know how to ATTACK. Go get ’em BA.

  9. Bucsfanman Says:

    I love how a conversation about balanced offense turns into a critique of a DT. Only on JBF!

    There is no right or wrong answer. It’s what makes great coaches great, ADJUSTMENTS. Exploit the oppositions weaknesses and play to your strengths. Some teams set up the pass by running the ball, some pass to set up the run. In the end, successful teams will always appear balanced.
    Think about it. I always think of New England as a “passing team” yet, they are always a top 10 rushing offense as well, #5 actually this year.
    You MUST have both. Need proof? Who was the #1 passing team in the NFL and what was their record? What were they missing?………BALANCE!

  10. Bird Says:


    So let’s say for arguments sake McCoy’s numbers /play on field were average over last few years …some would say average to good …but not great.

    Pretty sure everyone outside of a few in the cult here would say Jameis ‘s numbers /play on field have been average. Some would say average to good

    McCoy has had how many coaches /Dline coaches In that time frame ? 5 or 6?
    Jameis has had pretty much the same 2-3 guys since he has been here.

    McCoy finally got some assistance in JPP this past year. Nassib too
    Say what you want but Jameis has the best receiving/tight end group in NFL.

    All I hear is Jameis just needs a new speed receiver , running back , defense and offensive line to win (so pretty much a whole new team to be a game manager?). Yet McCoy is just soft and needs to get the hell out of town.

    No question McCoy not worth 13 mil and they should try to renegotiate. However is Jameis worth 21 mil this year and then 25 plus mil after that. You trash one and worship the other. Seems pretty hypocritical to me . BWTFDIK

  11. RustyRhinos Says:

    “Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm. Mayfield seems to be on the cusp of doing so.”

    So with this statement how much longer will it take for our NFL ready QB to take the NFL by storm? Mahomes is in year 2 and Mayfield is in year 1. Our NFL ready QB in year 4 has he taken the NFL by storm yet? Or are we to still just “wait for it”? Year 5 and if we do not see our QB take the NFL by storm, then what? Yeah, I know first 2 seasons 4000+ yards, same stats as the “greats QB’s”….. Wins! Yeah I am still waiting for it. I have seen a glimpse or three of the storm, but not to much more to write home about.
    Show Me.
    Go Bucs!

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our running game was so bad our play action didn’t work…..so……beef up the line and if that doesn’t improve things, forget play action go with an empty backfield and pass the hell out of the ball…..short, intermediate & downfield. We have the weapons.

    Invest in the lines……draft Dline & Oline

  13. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Joe thought Dirk Koetter was wasting plays forcing America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, to throw deep to malcontent DeSean Jackson when they clearly struggled).

    Wrong on so many levels. Even though Jameis and Djax struggled to hook up Djax demanded accountability by the defense which helped take pressure off the other receivers. Especially Evans who even recently mentioned himself.

  14. Joe Says:


    If the NFC south is the Big 12…

    The Saints = Oaklahoma
    Falcons= Oaklahoma State
    Panthers= Texas
    Bucs= Texas Tech (Offensive numbers with no wins to show for it)

    That’s pretty good!

  15. Stanglassman Says:

    Rookie year results

    Jameis 9-7

    Baker 7-8-1

    Mahomes only started one game.

  16. Greg Says:

    Tbbucs3 Says:

    January 25th, 2019 at 12:27 am

    If the NFC south is the Big 12…

    The Saints = Oaklahoma
    Falcons= Oaklahoma State
    Panthers= Texas
    Bucs= Texas Tech (Offensive numbers with no wins to show for it)
    Pretty good analogy, I’d agree with that.

  17. BringBucsBack Says:

    Nice article, Joe.

    I love how Leach has the stones to insult decades worth of coaches and conventionality with his, “it’s delusional” statement. I am sure he is a quote-machine, alot of fun to have around. He makes a fair point.

    DB55, you make a great point about teams doing what they do best and attempting to stop other teams’ strengths. However, the Belacheats are masters at morphing from game to game to take advantage of their skill set and their opponents deficiencies. Yes, they are the exception in many ways.

    Stanglassman, you referenced #3’s second year. His rookie year he doubled Lovie’s win total of two, from the year before, with only four wins.

  18. unbelievable Says:

    If you can’t run the ball effectively in November and December, you’re not going to do squat in January.

    Peep the run games of all the teams that played in championship games last weekend and are going to the SB.

    You don’t have to be 50/50 balanced, but YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RUN the ball effectively and consistently to have post-season success.

  19. Anonymous Says:


    You can’t trust anything that Sli Marlet and Fobivsn Snith say.


  20. Rod Munch Says:

    Barber can run for 1200 yards, I don’t see any reason why not. He’s not a bad back, he’s just an average back, sort of like Errict Rhett for example, and Rhett ran for 1207 on a dramatically worse offense than this. I firmly believe most of the running game issues were due to play calling and Dirk being ultra predictable. If it’s 1st and 10, in the first half, he just runs up the middle and rarely used play action passes. If he wanted to throw on 1st down, well, he’d go to shotgun and let the defense know it’s a pass. Go check the gameday threads, I’d be in there saying what play was coming up next, and I think I was successful 100% of the time.

  21. Bucsfanman Says:

    Rod- Man, I remember when they drafted Rhett. He had just smashed Emmit’s Florida records.
    Great analogy! Rhett ran incredibly hard, he just got too greedy in the end.