Let me guess. You’ve heard of this thing called “The Air Raid Offense” and that guy Mike Leach down in “Stark Vegas” or whatever they call that town in Mississippi.
You’ve heard all these coaches on Twitter yelling about Mesh and 4 Verts.
Could you ever become one of those coaches?
By the end of this pros and cons list you will have the information you need to see if you could ever be standing on the sideline screaming “Run 4 Verts!” to your quarterback on 4th and 1.
1. An Accurate Quarterback
I’m not going to diminish this part. You really do need a decent quarterback.
Does he need to throw the ball on a frozen rope 40 yards?
Absolutely not. Even Coach Mike Leach said that accuracy is much more important than arm strength.
He also needs to really know the offense.
In this offense, your quarterback is you on the field.
One coach explained it like this to me:
“You can either try to teach all 11 players how to run the offense, or you can teach your quarterback and give the other 10 the answers.”
So, you will have to dedicate a good amount of time with your quarterback getting him comfortable with the reads, the protection, and seeing the defense.
2. The Wide Receivers MUST be able to Catch
Okay, don’t panic. I’ve started talking about cons and the first two things I mention are the quarterback and the wide receivers.
“I thought the Air Raid Offense was all about throwing the ball between the quarterback and the wide receivers?”
You’re right. That is why you must make sure you have a quarterback who is accurate and smart and wide receivers that can catch like they’ve got molasses on their hands.
And guess what?
They don’t have to be much faster than molasses either.
Don’t worry if your wide receivers aren’t blazing anyone down the track.
If you’ve got at least three players who can catch, then you have what it takes.
3. A Half-Way Decent Center
Playing center in the Air Raid Offense is all about pointing and the shotgun.
If your center can’t point at defensive guys and say “Block that guy!” and then get a good snap consistently to the quarterback, then instead of being able to call 4 Verts every play, your quarterback is going to be running around the backfield chasing the football all practice.
Have your center snap 100 times a practice until he starts dreaming of the perfect snap.
4. A Running Back with Hands
These hands must be able to catch.
Yes, your running back can no longer be the athletic kid who can’t catch.
And trust me, he is not going to block the blitzing A Gap Mike Linebacker either.
When you throw out the running back into a route, that’s when defenses start to think less about blitzing.
Now, your quarterback always has somewhere to go when the defense blitzes.
1. A Structured Practice for You
With the Air Raid Offense, coming up with things to do in practice is not an issue.
There are just certain drills like the “settle and noose” or “pat-n-go” that you just do every single day.
Then you throw on air.
You throw your quick game and then your drop back.
And you’re off the field in an hour and fifteen minutes.
Your players will love it and they’ll be pumped to go and do it again the next day.
2. You are Always in the Game
It’s like the three pointer in basketball. It’s like the Warriors a few years ago.
They were never out of a game because they could score fast.
With the Air Raid Offense, long touchdowns aren’t uncommon.
Down 14 points in the second quarter?
No problem, Mesh just scored you a 63 yard touchdown. Y-Cross and you’re tied.
While the Wing-T and Flexbone coaches know that time can very easily become another opponent because of the nature of the run game, the Air Raid coach eliminates that battle.
The Air Raid always allows you to strike back and do so quickly.
Two dimes by your quarterback and boom, you’re back in the game.
3. All the Players Involved
With this offense, you don’t need the big, burly players who have to out-muscle every opponent to win.
Spread your players out, let them run around the field, and they’ll be thinking that they’re Randy Moss in about 5 minutes.
When the kids in the hallways discover that their friend is the next Jerry Rice, they’ll recruit themselves.
4. Simple Gameplanning
I freaking love this part.
“Oh, we’re backed up? Here are my plays.
Oh, we’re in the open area? Here are my plays.
Oh, we’re in the red zone? Here are my plays.”
Now, you’re not sitting in the Sunday meeting for seven hours drawing up how to run power against every front you’re going to see that week.
Get really good at running your plays and game planning becomes “How many touchdowns do we want to throw this week?”
Is the Air Raid Offense the right system for you?
Be honest with yourself.
Do you have a quarterback you can trust?
Do you have three wide receivers who can catch?
Do you have a running back who can catch?
If you said yes three times, go for it.
You’ll have an offense that can score in seconds and a bunch of really happy players.