Hugh Freeze isn’t the only coach riding the tempo offense wave right now.
Snap-it-fast-football is catching on as coaches try to off-set the speed of defenses by limiting personnel moves and hopefully getting those big guys tired at the end of games.
Freeze, at Ole Miss, and coaches with other teams have been successful enough that some opponents – insert Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema here – have been vocal critics of the approach.
Tempo offense, when executed correctly and turnovers are limited, threatens the establishment.
Football, though, has many time-honored traditions. One of them is that defenses adjust.
With that in mind, Freeze continues to study the tempo game and not just his own. He’s had coaches this week breaking down an unnamed tempo team to see what, if anything, the Rebels might borrow to improve their own system.
We’ll just get better
“People say these defenses are going to catch up to it and things like that. Well, we’re just going to get better at it,” Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace said. “It’s not like we’re where we need to be with it right now. We’re just going to keep getting better with it. Hopefully they don’t catch up to us.”
There are certainly ways to get better, such as second-quarter execution and improved power running.
The very definition of tempo offense requires all players to react quickly to what they see and hear, whether it’s the play call from the sideline or the alignment of the defense. Players have to process that information and apply it on the next play.
It is demanding of all players – none more than the quarterback.
It’s taken Wallace some time to get used to it, but he’s looked strong in three games. Yes, he had knowledge of the system when he signed with Freeze at Ole Miss, but that was practice knowledge at Arkansas State, not game knowledge.
Wallace says some of his 17 interceptions thrown in 2012 were “foolish.” He is interception-free right now because of improved decisions, and it’s made a tremendous difference in how the Rebels perform and feel about themselves.
Wallace needs to make good decisions in everything from washing behind his ears to not forcing the ball into coverage.
You can find running backs and receivers in the South.
Snap-it-fast football relies on a savvy quarterback with some degree of fearlessness who accurately assesses risk and reaps reward.
Right now Wallace is doing that, and the Rebels are thriving.
Parrish Alford (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at Djournal.com.