Proceeding With Caution: Coaches Are Not At Ease With Analytics

The exquisite beauty of college football, as manifested in the on-field chess match between coaching staffs, is that there are so many ways to win. The NFL is seeing Chip Kelly (tactics) and Pete Carroll (culture) expand pro football’s possibilities, a welcome sight to be sure, but college football has long owned a measure of diversity the pro game has lacked. The wishbone and triple option; spread passing attacks; the hurry-up-no-huddle; the zone read; the wildcat; the 1986 Penn State defense; the 1992 Alabama defense — you can win in so many ways in college football.

Yet, for all the diversity some coaching staffs bring to the table, many coaches remain creatures of habit and caution. Innovations are occurring, but one always wonders if the pace of innovation can (and will) accelerate.

Paul Myerberg of USA Today, in the publication’s impressive college football preview section, explores this tension point with coaches Pat Fitzgerald, Chris Petersen, David Shaw, Sonny Dykes, and Rich Rodriguez: