Georgia high school offenses loosening up

Sun News correspondentSeptember 4, 2013 

Georgia has long been known as a state that loves to run the ball and play a physical style of offensive football.

Numerous defensive linemen and linebackers have gone on to star in college and the NFL, while standout Georgia products at the quarterback position have seemed to lag behind.

“Just talking to college coaches and what not, I think Georgia kids are known for being tough, hard-nosed kids,” Warner Robins head coach Brian Way said. “That may be the reason we have lagged in this state, but I think kids here grow up wanting to be a tough, hard-nosed football player.”

In the past several years, the trend has changed to more open passing attacks and the Peach State has produced such talents as LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw and Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.

“Offenses have changed a lot,” Veterans head coach David Bruce said. “I’ve been doing this 27 years and when I started you were always going to see two backs in the backfield and people were more conservative, trying to knock you off the ball. Now, it’s more about finding that athlete and getting that one-on-one open space where that athlete can do something.”

Despite the trend toward the passing game, rushing offenses such as the Wing-T are still around and have proven to be successful in this modern era.

Camden County won a state championship recently at the highest levels of GHSA football by running what some would call a conservative offense.

“The Wing-T has been around a long time and there are still teams running it, and running it successfully while winning championships,” Way said.

“We’ve gone from playing six, seven or eight teams a year that run the Wing-T, to now playing maybe one,” Bruce said.

The relatively new explosion of 7-on-7 summer passing leagues also has helped to develop offenses thanks to the sharing of ideas amongst coaches.

“I imagine when you go to (7-on-7 passing tournaments) you can pick up a lot of stuff off some other teams,” Bruce said. “The route combinations and formations that they use, you can pick up a lot.”

The cat-and-mouse game between offensive and defensive coordinators is what many fans love about the strategy behind the game, and what’s popular now can be old news tomorrow.

“The spread and the no huddle seems to be the craze now,” Way said. “Defenses are getting smaller and more athletic to defend that stuff, but offenses will change eventually to line up and run at them. It’s going to be constantly changing.”

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