Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Collision at the Line of Scrimmage

The Texas A&M football team is about to teach the Green Bay Packers a little something about the game of football.

No, really.

The loss was really tough on all of us.
During the Green Bay Packers' season-ending playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense set a playoff record - 579 yards of total offense - against the Packers' defense. As if being knocked out of the running for the Super Bowl wasn't bad enough...

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, this unfortunate (in the eyes of Wisconsinites) loss convinced Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy that his team still has a lot to learn, so in preparation for the 2013 season, McCarthy is sending his defensive coaches to TAMU to learn how to better defend the zone-read option offense.  (I know a fair amount about football, but I had to ask Tom to explain the zone-read option offense to me...  In a zone-read option, the quarterback reads how the defense has set up and how the defense reacts after the snap and THEN decides whether to run the ball himself, hand the ball off to a running back, or pass the ball.  Apparently this style of offense is particularly difficult to defend because it requires those on the defensive side of the ball to be equally good at stopping both the run and the pass, and to be able to change how they're defending the ball midway through the play.  Move over, Herbie, there's a new football expert in town.)

"We're studying the read option, the teams that are doing it in the NFL. We're even going to the college ranks...Actually, our defensive staff is going to take a trip to Texas A&M."

I'm surprised I didn't already know that a connection existed between McCarthy and TAMU head coach Kevin Sumlin; apparently they met through Packers special teams coach Shawn Slocum and coached together under R.C. Slocum (TAMU head coach from 1989-2002) in 2001 and 2002.

According to McCarthy, the TAMU coaching staff can actually help the Packers from both sides of the zone-read option.  In the SEC, which is widely recognized as the most athletic conference in college football, the Aggies' defense plays against some of the best zone-read quarterbacks in the NCAA.  And the Aggie offense knows how to mix it up as well; quarterback Johnny Manziel Football Heisman is a good passer as well as an extraordinary runner.  As McCarthy puts it, the Aggies "know what has worked for them defensively and what bothers it offensively".

So if you see any Packers coaches walking around on campus (you'll know who they are not necessarily by their green and gold attire, but by the fact that while Texans are wearing winter coats and mittens, they'll be sporting shorts and t-shirts), tell them I say hello.
Lambeau Field, December 26th, 2008...
...otherwise known as the coldest day of my life.
I love it when my two "worlds" collide.

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