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Jeff Tedford's offense by the statistics

Jeff Tedford's offense is a bit of a mystery, but we can say some interesting things about the things he did in college. Whether that carries over into the now remains to be seen.


Over at Football Guys, someone called Kyle Wachtel broke down Jeff Tedford's tendencies in college (h/t JoeBucsFan)-- his run/pass ratio, his tempo, and the way he distributes his carries. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator, broken down in three different ways!

Run, run, run the ball

The Bucs are likely to have  Tedford ran the ball 54% of the time in college, according to Wachtel, but that actually understates how much Tedford loves rushing the football. The Golden Bears were much more frequent passers in his early days, when he generally had better quarterbacks.

Over his final four years, however, Tedford's teams had 1,337 passing attempts versus 1,862 carries: 58% run, 42% pass.The run-heavy offense was undoubtedly driven by the simple fact that his quarterbacks were horrible, and his running backs were pretty good.

Oh wait, what's that, a coach who adjusts to his personnel? That's interesting. I wonder how that will work.

Up-tempo or not?

Another interesting point is that Jeff Tedford wasn't all that up-tempo in college. In fact, his tempo was downright average. That's not all that surprising: Jeff Tedford himself told us as much in his second ever press conference:

"There are different phases of it, from time to time. Everybody runs a two-minute [offensive] scheme right? Everybody has to have a two-minute offense and of course we do and we've been able to utilize that a little bit, but we're in different tempos, we huddle quite a bit as well and so there's really nothing much different than what you would normally see from time to time of somebody just going into a two-minute offense if they need be." (emphasis added)

The key to Jeff Tedford's approach isn't to get as many plays out there as possible. He's not Chip Kelly, trying to wear down an opponent through the force of superior conditioning. Tempo is just one tool in a large toolbag. A fast tempo has its place and advantages, but it's not the norm and certainly not the basis of Tedford's offense.

Do we have a lead back?

We do. His name is Doug Martin. And if we can go by Tedford's history, he'll have around 294 carries, while his primary backup will get some 132 carries. That's the average distribution of carries Tedford used in his days in college.

Of course, there were some exceptions to that distribution, depending on the distribution of talent. In 2010, Shane Vereen managed 231 carries to Isi Sofele's 69. A year later, Isi Sofele got 252 while the number two running back was actually the quarterback and his 84 carries. In 2007, Justin Forsett dominated with 305 carries, while James Montgomery came in second place with just 26. Other seasons were more evenly distributed: 2008 and 2009 saw near-even splits of carries between Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen.

The point here is that the average obscures the specific. While on average, Jeff Tedford has leaned toward a 33%/66% split, he has had swings toward more lopsided and more even distributions, too. As with the run/pass-ratio, it all depends on the talent he has available to him.

With a variety of running backs capable of a variety of things, but one back who is clearly superior to the rest in Doug Martin, this could go either way. Early indications are that Martin will get the bulk of the carries, while other backs will get more of the work in the passing game.

What can we expect?

Of course, none of this tells us anything about what Jeff Tedford will do, exactly. We've heard talk of new, innovative plays. We know he likes multiple formations and multiple personnel groupings. But what does this mean, exactly? Jon Gruden loved to mess with formations and personnel groupings, and so does Bill O'Brien -- but the two run very, very different styles of offense.

And the Bucs have gone to decent lengths to keep all of this secret, too. We won't see what this offense will truly look like until the veil is lifted in week one of the preseason, and even then we'll only see a small part of the offense. No, the regular season is when we will really know what this offense is going to do.