What does the ‘Air Raid’ offense mean if it really comes to Wisconsin?

What does the ‘Air Raid’ offense mean if it really comes to Wisconsin?

The reported hiring of Phil Longo as the University of Wisconsin’s new offensive coordinator represents a dramatic shift in offensive philosophy.

UW, a team for decades defined by its running game, would transition to an offense far more reliant on the pass (though not necessarily exclusively) in the “Air Raid” system Longo picked up in the late 1990s from current Mississippi State coach Mike Leach. According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Longo developed a relationship with new Badgers coach Luke Fickell when Longo interviewed for the Cincinnati offensive coordinator job before taking the job at Ole Miss in late 2016.

So what is meant by the “Air Raid” offense?

The first ‘air attack’ dates back to the 1980s in Texas

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach confers with quarterback Will Rogers during a Nov. 24 game against Mississippi.

In the traditional sense, the origins of the ‘Air Raid’ go back to the 1980s with East Texas high school coach Hal Mumme, who eventually became the head coach at Kentucky and passed his concepts on to assistant Mike Leach, today Mississippi State’s head coach and the offense’s modern champion.

While there are some transient concepts being associated with Air Raid — mesh and four hosts, for example — Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press pointed out earlier this year that aspects of it can be implemented and have been implemented on a somewhat a la carte basis.

“The Air Raid is more of a process than a playbook these days,” Russo wrote. “Keeping things simple, emphasizing execution over matchups and seemingly endless repetition of a relatively small number of plays in practice is what connects Air Raid’s past and present.”

Head coach Hal Mumme of the Kentucky Wildcats in 1998.

Plays are run out of the shotgun with four receivers on the field, and quarterbacks often have the freedom to change the play at the line of scrimmage based on what the defense is showing. Teams often go out of their way to prevent defenses from replacing personnel.

See also  How Steam Deck breathes life into underrated old games

With offensive linemen spread out across the line of scrimmage, the quarterback is expected to get the ball out quickly (or decide to run) to offset blitzes that may try to exploit the wider openings up front. So, despite the name, that doesn’t mean quarterbacks will throw deep passes regularly, but they must throw the ball to all parts of the field.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *