Utah Offense Reproducing LA Rams Strategy, Formations

Oct 18, 2018, 9:47 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2018, 2:49 pm

[LEFT] Utah running back Armand Shyne breaks away for a touchdown during the game at Rice-Eccles St...

[LEFT] Utah running back Armand Shyne breaks away for a touchdown during the game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News). [RIGHT] Running back Todd Gurley II of the Los Angeles Rams runs with the football against the Denver Broncos on October 14, 2018. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University Utah football team’s offensive formation looked similar to the Los Angeles Rams offense during their game against the Arizona Wildcats. One ESPN analyst took note and asked Troy Taylor, the Utes’ offensive coordinator about the comparison.

They say the best form of flattery is imitation and football, high school, NFL or college, is no exception.

“No one has an original idea. Someone has already figured it out.”

The Utes rolled the Wildcats on national television Saturday, and some credit can be given to their stellar offensive performance, which to some looked familiar – especially if you follow the NFL.

Scott Mitchell, color analyst for Utah Football and host of Rivals podcast, talked with Brock Huard – former Washington Huskies, NFL quarterback and current college football analyst with ESPN – about the Utes’ offensive attack during halftime.

Huard told Mitchell that during a conversation with Troy Taylor, the Utes offensive coordinator, he admitted to taking a few pages out of the LA Rams playbook.

The similarities were most apparent in the very tight formations in which the offense lined up. The idea behind this type of formation is bunching everything together in order to give the team lots of options when you plan to run the ball – but it also allows for a different look when the quarterback plans to throw.

Is college football’s spread offense “ruining the NFL,” or are teams sneaking it into their own playbooks?

Peter King with NBC Sports breaks down the Kansas City Chiefs head coach, and former BYU assistant, Andy Reid’s use of the spread offense through their first two games of the season.

Mitchell said taking pages out of other teams’ playbooks was not rare or a new idea. There are only so many Xs and Os and so many ways to move them. When he was quarterback the University of Utah during the late 80s, they ran an offense very similar to the Dallas Cowboys.

The best offense Mitchell said he ever played on was during his time with the Miami Dolphins, but it was also the most plagiarized. The plays went all the way back to Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts, and were copied to the point of confusion, because coaches and players would see plays they liked. They wanted to add them into the offense, but if they didn’t fit the traditional series, they would make exceptions. By the time he was in Miami, the oft-mimicked offense had evolved into standard plays, full of exceptions.

It happens all the time across all levels of football. Lately, Mitchell said he has been seeing plays in the NFL he had only ever seen in college.

Those who recognize plays & formations have always seen formations show up in other teams’ playbooks.

For example, a play called the fly sweep has the same reaction in the NFL that it has in college, especially when a team isn’t ready for it.

“No one has an original idea. Someone has already figured it out,” Mitchell said on his Rivals Podcast.

Football is a game of “copycat,” and taking what works and making it fit your team.

“Good football plays work, no matter where you are,” Mitchell concluded.

Listen to the full Rivals podcast with Scott Mitchell below, and get information about subscribing on kslnewsradio.com.

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Utah Offense Reproducing LA Rams Strategy, Formations