But times are changing, and with each passing year coaches across the state are dropping their signal callers back into the shotgun and implementing their versions of the highly trendy spread offense.
This fall seven of 13 North Fulton schools — Alpharetta, Centennial, Chattahoochee, Johns Creek, Milton, Mount Pisgah, Northview — will base out of spread oriented offenses. Included in that group are three spread-rookies, Centennial, Milton and Mount Pisgah.
“The spread is the thing right now, it seems like everybody is doing it or thinking about doing it,” said Northview head coach Chad Davenport who implemented his spread before last year and upped the Titans offensive output from 105 points in 2010 to 283 in 2012.
“We went to it full bore last year, our kids responded and we felt like it gave us an identity on offense.”
While every spread varies from school to school and is unique from coach to coach, the basic principles of the spread remain universal — put extensive pressure on the defense by forcing them to defend every inch of the field and every second on the play clock, while also finding mismatches for your top offensive weapons.
“In our spread we’re never going to huddle, we want to rush to the line and force the defense to show us how they are going to defend us,” said Alpharetta coach Jason Dukes, who won the school’s first region title with his version of the spread last fall.
From the line-of-scrimmage coaches and quarterbacks analyze the defense and adjust to what they see, audibling to a play that gives them a favorable matchup or snapping the ball quickly if they have the defense off-kilter.
“If we get the right look pre-snap we’re going to get the ball out pretty quick,” said Centennial coach Jeff Carlberg. “If not then we always have an alternate route to go to.”
Along with the ability to get mismatches on the field for their best athletes, Dukes added that the up-tempo passing attacks have allowed him to get the best athletes in Alpharetta High School onto the field.
“It’s allowed me to recruit in our own hallways, to get those basketball players, high jumpers, and track kids that want to run around and catch the football,” he said.
“Speed is the biggest thing,” agreed Davenport, “In the spread we’re going to play fast and kids love that.”
Click here to read our North Fulton High School Football Preview.