There was a post about Brad Smith and the wildcat, and there was a question that basically asked why do teams run it? The main answer is because it "evens up the numbers", but what does that mean? First a quick aside...
When David Lee, yes that David Lee, our current QB coach, was at Arkansas he had a pretty good backfield. In other words he had Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at the running back position. He wanted a way to get them on the field at the same time, with both of them being a threat. So he lined up McFadden in the shotgun and had Felix Jones come in Jet motion with an unbalanced OL. McFadden either handed it to Jones or basically ran up the middle following a pulling guard. This was the beginnings of the Wildcat. Lee then went to Miami, had Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and did the same thing. That kind of wildcat has morphed into more of a college spread running attack with the player in the shotgun being a run-pass threat mainly based around the zone-read option. Basically what Oregon does today and what Tebow did in Denver last year.
Now let me tell you, if Denver had some coaches who knew option football, they would have been a lot better and a lot more dangerous. But nevertheless they give us the best example of how Buffalo wants to use Brad Smith, so I will use a play from the Den-NE regular season game to demonstrate how have a running threat at QB "evens out the numbers"
This is a typical Bills formation, shotgun, 3 WR 1 TE 1RB, pretend that Tebow is Brad Smith.
There are 8 defenders "in the box" for NE, and 8 non-QB players "in the offensive box" for the Broncos.
Normally this would mean that there are only 7 available blockers because the QB hands it to the RB and takes himself out of the play. But if the QB is a running threat then the RB becomes available as a blocker, so there are 8 blockers for 8 defenders. The FS circled in green is the match for the QB, but he is almost 20 yards downfield.
Here is the actual play diagram, this is the basic power running play that every team uses from pop warner to the NFL, everyone blocks down, double team at the point of attack, and the left guard pulls into the hole. Only this time it is not the RB following him, it is the QB
Because there are 8 blockers, every player in the box has a blocker ready for them. And if the defense takes a couple false steps b/c of the play fake to the RB (which the SS did), even better. The Broncos block everyone and Tebow has a huge hole to run through. The only unblocked defender is the FS, and he is 20 yards away.
On most running plays, at least 1 defender is left unblocked because the QB has to hand the ball off to the RB and is unavailable to block. Teams are able to run successfully this way, so that is why if you can gain an additional blocker by having the QB as the runner it is that much easier to run. Everyone can be blocked, or you can still leave a guy unblocked and instead double team more defenders closer to the point of attack.
So just having the threat of the pass and making that FS play back is why having someone who can throw the ball so important when running the wildcat. This is one of the main reasons why Brad Smith was brought it, and I think one of the reasons why Vince Young was as well.
Cam Newton basically did the same thing down in Carolina last year, but nobody noticed because he isn't Tebow and plays in Carolina. Of course you noticed if you had him on your fantasy team. He had 14 rushing TD's and over 700 yards rushing.
The wildcat in it's original form might be dead... but having a runner that can throw most definitely is not. Watch Oregon play this year and the crazy stuff they do will make this look like child's play
Comments/thoughts always welcomed.