Breaking Down Missouri's Offensive Philosophy

James Franklin Leads Mizzou's Fast Pace O

Saturday night's matchup, as Mark Richt put it earlier this week, is a monster game. If Georgia wants to prove it belongs in the national discussion of elite teams, then they have to go to Columbia and take out a team in front of their home fans in a stadium that will be rocking.

In order to do that, Georgia will need to deal with Mizzou's high tempo spread offense. 

This post will be exclusively scheme based. While I respect James Franklin as a QB, and he is one hell of a QB, Missouri has a great offensive system and that is how they are successful.

The first thing you have to look at with Missouri is their formation philosophy. What do they want to do? That is easy. With their formations, Missouri wants to:

  • Dictate how the defense lines up
  • Cause confusion via motions and shifts
  • Create mismatches with playmakers
  • Work to get good run looks (believe it or not, they are a running team)
  • Stay with a look until the defense stops it

By using that philosophy, Missouri can put any player anywhere. They can be versatile in their run and pass game, and, they can disguise their playmakers. To best suit their offensive philosophy, they're going to try and figure out in the film room how do defenses react to certain alignments. For example, how do they handle the empty set? How do they react to motions and shifts? In a 3-man front, they're going to want to know how good the nose is (i.e. can the center handle him himself), do they blitz or play read/react, and how do they handle trips (with LB's or nickel).

Based on the highlights from the following clips, we can see that Missouri runs a few of the following formations:

Mizzou Spread

The goal of Missouri's offensive philosophy when it comes to formations is simple; they want to spread the defense horizontally in order to make them cover as much ground as possible. By spreading the defense, they are able to open running lanes, which is exactly what they want to do. 

Missouri's main runs are the same that you see from other spread teams - the zone read the outside zone, the power, the jet sweep and the speed option. Now, what makes Missouri dangerous is the ability to run these plays with any of their skill positions.

For example, if you go back to the video, you will notice Mizzou's first highlight is the speed sweep:

Speed Sweep

Now, as you continue, you will see where Mizzou's OC's head goes to. He wants to build off the speed sweep. He's going to keep putting a skill guy in motion, and gaining the edge until the defense bumps a linebacker out to cover the sweep. Once he does that, the offense is going to come back to the QB wrap off the sweep.

QB Wrap

In the video, Franklin actually keeps off the sweep, but doesn't run it, he uses it as a play action pass. Again, just another progression from the offense.

As for the passing game, look for Missouri to run a lot of their quick 3-step game. If Georgia is playing a lot of nickel, I would imagine Coach Grantham isn't going to leave his guys going man-to-man while only rushing 4. I believe that we'll roll a lot of coverage and sneak in some blitzes from the secondary. The key will definitely be getting to Franklin, and keeping the run lanes closed off.

If we can stop the run with our front 7, we should be very successful against Missouri. Their passing game will not be what beats us. It will be tempo and run lanes. We have to play disciplined, and, more importantly, we have to play FAST SEC football. That means when we hit, we have to lay the wood. Wearing Mizzou down will be the key to victory.