Since everyone has contributed to the offensive strat forum, I figured I would put my 2 cents worth into also.
Being a FSU fan, and having numerous tapes of the Seminoles over the past decade and a half, and reading about FSU’s high octane offense, this is my take on the scheme.
The FSU offense was developed by Bobby Bowden, Mark Richt (Current Georgia Head Coach), and Chuck Amato (Current NC State Head Coach).
FSU was one of the first Division I-A schools to go to a pro-style attack in the late 80’s and 90’s and away from the traditional power run offense’s.
The "Fast Break," as it was known was born and called the “Fast Break” like the basketball term, was the offense’s ability to get the ball downfield quickly,
The “Fast Break” employed a no-huddle shotgun offense that let Charlie Ward, either uses his receivers or streak from the pocket if he saw a hole.
"There's nothing more frustrating for a defense than covering everything perfectly," Bowden said,
The concept of the Fast Break is nothing new to college football, actually takes its concepts from several different forms for the spread attack offense.
The passing attack relies on spreading the defense horizontally and vertically and was strictly a No Huddle Offensive Scheme. The base formations for the Fast Break are the I-Formations and Shotgun Formations.
To spread the defense horizontally, the system uses flares and swing passes to the backs in the flats. Bowden starting recruiting what was called “scat backs”, running backs in the 5’10” 185lb range. Quick and elusive as he wanted them to be.
Bowden empathized that “scat backs”, when presented in the shotgun formations, were “hard to find” behind the large offensive lineman, and when found, the scat backs would be past the line of scrimmage, and could make positive yardage on most plays.
Thus, the likes of Rock Preston, Travis Minor, and Warrick Dunn come mind. Today, we have Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington to lead the way in the term of scat backs.
The flare or swing pass was able to get the ball into the backs hands in the flats at a sprint, where as a screen pass the line would pull and the scat would have to slow down to receive the ball. That is the difference in the swing/flare pass compared to the screen pass.
Once open in the flat, the scat had only the LB to beat. LB’s had to cover the field horizontally if quickly if possible. Leaving the middle of the field open. Once the flare/swing pass was established, the LB’ had to compensate by spreading further out the sidelines leaving the middle of the field open.
Now, we go into the “HB Direct” and “slants” over the middle cause that area of the field has been left open by the LB’s being spread horizontally by the flare or swing pass.
In order to stop the HB Direct and the quick slants over the middle, usually the FS/SS would cheat up to fill the void left by the LB’s.
Now we come to the part where we stretch the defense vertically because we now have one-on-one matchups with our speedy WR’s with no over the top help.
Bowden would teach his QB’s to under throw the ball. Why you ask? Because at the time, the Fast Break didn’t need a super strong arm QB, The system was designed to allow mediocre QB’s excel quickly into the scheme.
Defensive Backs had a tendency to focus directly on the WR on streak plays, never really looking for the ball, WR’s are taught never to take there eye off the ball, by under throwing, thus allowed the DB to over pursue the ball and allow the WR to comeback and make the play.
The Fast Break passes schemes are not timed based like Spurrier’s Fun N Gun, where the QB throws to a particular spot on the field and the WR must get to the ball.
Now, we have established the basic fast break scheme of stretching the defense, both horizontally and vertically.
Then, some QB name Charlie Ward came to Florida State, being one of the first QB’s to be able to throw and run with the ball with great balance for both, FSU tweaked its pro-style offense around its leader's hard court-tested mobility in 1990.
In order to use Charlie’s mobility, FSU incorporated more naked boot leg and roll out passes in the system, something not usably found in the Fast Break offense with less mobile QB’s.
The past few years, since the graduation of Chris Weinke, FSU had gotten further and further away from the Fast Break offense and the offensive production has greatly suffered.
During the off season, Bowden hired OC and offensive line coach McHale from Marshall to energize the FSU offense and work with OC Jeff Bowden.
Jeff will remain in the booth while Coach McHale will make the calls on the field. Coach McHale promised the FSU offense be getting back into its old self, as the offense is going to run mostly the I-formation and utilize a lot of shotgun 4 and 5 sets.
I plan to try into incorporate a Fast Break offense into my plans for the 06 year. I will give the playbook to use, key plays, and incorporate the concept into the game.
I hope maybe this can be useful to someone.