When the Arizona Cardinals’ new head coach Kliff Kingsbury became the head coach at Texas Tech, he said to his players that he wanted their offense to be so unique that the national media would give them their own name for it. Kinsgbury didn’t want his offense to be called the “Air Raid.” In his mind, the “Air Raid” is Mike Leach’s offense and should always be ascribed to him and (currently) to the players at Washington St.
Here are some of the key tenets or principles of Kingsbury’s offense:
- Play without thinking—-he reps the plays so often and quickly in practice that the players do not have to think about what the play is or what their assignments are.
- No playbook—-he thinks the best way for the players to learn the plays is for the coaches to draw them up and for the players to write them down. Therefore, his players are not handed a playbook.
- Every play will work against any defense—-because he gives the players what he calls “freedom within the system”...in other words, if the defense is trying to take something away, recognize it and do the opposite.
- The offense dictates the defense—-because of the spread formations and the high tempo (get on the ball and go, play after play)—-what Kingsbury has learned is virtually every team starts playing a 3 man line, so that the defense has 8 possible players to involve in coverage. This is one reason why, Kingsbury loves to run “counter trey” rushing plays from the shotgun, because that play works very well versus a 3 man line and others on the perimeter. Check these play diagrams out:
5. High tempo practices with 160-180 team reps a day. Players can’t help but know the plays inside and out—-and their freedoms with the plays.
6. High energy coaching staff. High tempo, high tone.
7. Against the best pass rushing teams, Kingsbury keeps things simple for his QBs. He runs a lot of double routes where the QB checks #1 option (high), then #2 option (low) and if both are covered, he tells the QB to break from the pocket. Johnny Manziel said this philosophy gave him great confidence in the biggest games.
8. Improvisation—-imperative—-but right in line with the “freedom within the system” philosophy. When the defense over-commits, go opposite of what they are doing. When you watch Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech, this is what made him famous. It wasn’t just Mahomes trying to be creative, the directions came from Kingsbury and the coaches.
9. Treat 1st and 2nd down like 3rd down. The aim is to move the chains as early as possible. This is not an offense that tries to “set up” short 3rd down conversions. This is an offense that would prefer to avoid 3rd downs as often as possible. Almost every play is designed to go for at least 10 yards.
10. Run the ball when the numbers in the box are in the offense’s favor.
This is a rapid fire, quick-strike offense that tries to suck the life out of the defense.
And for that explicit reason, seeing as Kingsbury has been hoping someone would come up with a better name for his offense—-how about calling it the “King Kobra Snap Attack.”
Want to get a closer glimpse of how Kingsbury prepares the players?
Here is a short preview: