Kliff Kingsbury says spread quarterbacks are ready for the NFL

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There’s a sentiment among some NFL coaches that the spread offense, popular in college, doesn’t prepare quarterbacks for the NFL. One college coach who runs the spread disagrees.

Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on PFT Live that there are a number of young quarterbacks playing in the NFL today who learned to play the position running a spread offense in college.

“Look at some of the players playing at a very high level now, at a young age, and it speaks for itself,” Kingsbury said. “Dak Prescott jumps out. He had one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history last year. He played in a spread offense at Mississippi State. Cam Newton played in the spread and the list goes on. Jared Goff was the first pick in the draft and he played in one, Patrick Mahomes — all three that went in the first round this year played in one.”

Asked specifically about Cardinals coach Bruce Arians saying that quarterbacks from a spread offense are at a disadvantage in the pros, Kingsbury said he doesn’t buy it.

“I don’t agree with that sentiment,” Kingsbury said. “He has a lot more years in the NFL than I do, but I think if you play to their strengths and you give them stuff that they do well they have a chance to succeed. If you put them in a brand-new system that they’ve never done, never been under center, never done all these different things, obviously there’s going to be a bigger learning curve.”

The spread offense only seems to be growing at the college level, so more quarterback talent is going to come to the NFL through the spread. NFL teams would be wise to look for ways to get that talent up to speed in pro offenses.

30 responses to “Kliff Kingsbury says spread quarterbacks are ready for the NFL

  1. Mariota seemed to do OK.

    I think Luke Falk from Wash. St is going to be a star.

    Most importantly it doesn’t matter what system these guys come from… How much work are they willing to put in and what coach do they go and play for.
    Combine that with how much (or how little) talent is put around them.

    It’s a bit of a crap shoot.

  2. Of course he does. He runs the spread, and he’s trying to recruit. No one wants to play in an offense that can’t get them to the NFL.

  3. Prescott, Newton, Goff, Mahomes? That’s the best you’ve got?

    Dak was not supposed to start. Goff did not start. Mahomes won’t be starting barring injuries. The current NFL trend is leaning back to sitting a young QB to learn for a year or two before being named the starter. That’s because talent will only carry a player so far. While true for every position, the spread offense requires much less football IQ from the QB to be efficient than a pro offense. That’s where the disadvantage comes from.

  4. When are we.all just going to admit that QB play in the NFL is as much or more about intellect and calm under pressure-all pressure of expectations and pass rush- than just measurable?

  5. I also think it is a crap shoot when you pick spread QB’s to play in the NFL. They will have great stats for sure but many QB’s coming out of conferences like the Big 12 (or whatever it is called now) lets face it don’t play much defense.

    So to me it all comes down to where they land, what the coaching situation is, and how they teach them to play in the NFL. The learning curve is huge but in the right situation they can learn to be an NFL QB.

  6. “Well, yea, if you actually want them to run an NFL system there is a disadvantage but if you want to run a college system that won’t work at all in the NFL they’ll be ready from day 1.”

    This kind of critical analysis goes a long way towards explaining why TTU has given up almost 40 ppg over Cliff’s tenure.

  7. their drafted because that’s all teams have to pick from…

    its not about the spread more than its more of the QB themselves. you have just as many coming from “pro style” offenses that wash out too if you look at percentages

  8. I think the answer lies in the middle. Kliff is right in cases like Goff, where Fisher tried to drop him into an incompetent offense. Even Tom Brady would have been frustrated with that horrible offense, much less a rookie. They couldn’t even use Todd Gurley correctly, and their WRs were running incorrect routes!

  9. There is no way that he can say that QBs from a spread system who have never had to read defenses are as ready for the NFL as someone who did. Carson Wentz is a good example. He came from a very small school (North Dakota State) but ran a pro-style offense there and was able to step into the NFL system a lot sooner because of that.

  10. Of course some can succeed. But yes it puts them at a disadvantage. I mean that’s not even debatable.

  11. Quick Fact….. Kliff Klingsbury was drafted by the hoodie…. wonder where he learned that if you put a player with skillset A into an offense with Skillset B…. he will fail….

  12. It’s just become a very popular excuse among bad scouts. Look at Dak Prescott. Look at Mariota. Also, how many QBs who played in a pro style system in college came to the NFL and tore it up the first year? Give me a break. Good QBs are good QBs regardless of what they did in college. Good scouts can figure that out.

  13. The NFL became a spread league itself back in the late 90’s. Young folks won’t remember what the NFL use to be in the 70’s, 80’s and the first half of the 90’s. 2WR’s 1 TE and a FB were the staple of nearly every offense. The bell cow RB was the focal point of every offense. You really never saw that 3rd WR (Which came onto the field at the expense of the FB) on the field unless it was 3rd and long.

    Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning and eventually Tom Brady have turned the copycat NFL into a spread league. It’s common to see a 3 WR set to open a game. FB’s are an endangered species. RB’s are nearly all by committee these days.

    These days you are seeing multiple teams that throw the ball over 40 (FORTY!) time PER game on average.

  14. I take arians’ opinion with a grain of salt. I can’t stand megamind, but he was about as close to a can’t miss prospect as you are ever going to get. The same with ben, and to a lesser extent carson. Palmer still chokes in big games anyway, and a “qb whisperer” should be able to fix that. But then again, I don’t get paid to wear stupid hats and shoot my mouth off so the win goes to mr andy capp.

  15. Bruce Arians does get paid to win games, so he wins 67% of them as a head coach.

  16. I think that outside of arm strength, accuracy and mobility, NFL coaches, GMs and scouts have no idea how to evaluate college QBs.

    There is so much proof of that it isn’t even funny. Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning were considered close to equal.

    Tom Brady drafted in the 6th round.

    Joe Montana drafted in the 3rd round.

    Jamarcus Russell 1st overall.

    Dak Prescott drafted in the 4th round.

    Jared Goff drafted first overall.

    You could have better luck with a monkey and a dart board.

  17. Ultimately the spread has QBs practice and develop skills that are different than the traditional pro-offense skills.

    So a good QB can probably do well in multiple different systems. But if they don’t get a chance to practice a pro-style system, its much harder for scouts to see if they can take snaps under the center, make progressions in receivers, or other things a spread QB won’t do.

    Then factor in that the average NFL defensive player is going to be faster and better than a college defensive player–everything speeds up. So its unfamiliar concepts and everything happens much, much faster.

    Physically, the top prospects are not that far apart. But being able to deliver a ball with accuracy and timing? Thats where a lot of college QBs will fail.

    Its also great that Cliff mentioned Goff–who is by no means a sure thing yet–yeah he was taken #1, and couldn’t beat out Chase Keenum for half the season.

  18. charliecharger says:
    Aug 1, 2017 9:30 AM
    It’s just become a very popular excuse among bad scouts. Look at Dak Prescott. Look at Mariota. Also, how many QBs who played in a pro style system in college came to the NFL and tore it up the first year? Give me a break. Good QBs are good QBs regardless of what they did in college. Good scouts can figure that out.


    If Dallas scouts are so great, why did they pass on Dak with their 2nd and third round picks.

    Christian Hackenberg was taken before him! Even the Patriots took a QB ahead of Dak. Come on. Nobody knows what they are doing.

  19. Make America Fat Again says:
    Aug 1, 2017 10:11 AM
    Bruce Arians does get paid to win games, so he wins 67% of them as a head coach.


    Only 33.3% in the playoffs.

  20. I wonder if “Kliff” with a K is short for “Klifford”. Never seen it with a K before (not that it has anything to do with anything)

  21. Naturally a QB coming out of a spread offense will require more training to adapt to an NFL-style offense. Seldom will a rookie out of a spread offense do well right out of the gate. But with good coaching a kid that played in the spread in college can be as good as anybody else.

  22. Prescott would have been a 2nd pick but for the DUI he got a week or so before the draft.

    He came highly recommended as a leader, great guy, hard worker etc. Great arm but somewhat erratic on deep throws. Screams 2nd round.


    Zak should have been driving a black Tahoe (commonly called a “government limo” instead of a ‘please pull me over Escalade”. Trust me, you become hesitant to pull over those Tahoes but the Caddy is a bunt.

  23. IF Mariota pans out, he’ll be the first spread QB to make it in the NFL.

    I would not touch a QB in the first few rounds of a draft who is coming out of spread offense. We’ve seen enough evidence to know that the conversion over to pro is too much for 99% of them.

  24. It’s high time the pros started changing their offenses to meet the supply that’s coming out. It’s not college coach’s job cater to archaic NFL coaches’ offenses. It’s their job to win.

  25. I assume when everyone says “pro style offense,” they are referring to 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE sets and the QB never goes outside of the hash marks. Well, not every NFL team runs that these days. The Panthers made the Super Bowl with a spread offense, and even the Patriots and Steelers have a bunch of spread plays in their game plans. I think it’s the QB himself, more than his college system, that determines success or failure.

  26. ANY QB succeeding is a total crapshoot. Don’t want to bother y’all with pesky facts — but there ARE stats out there to document that, in fact, the system doesn’t matter. A very few make it, most don’t, and no one — and those pesky facts make it certain that NFL talent evaluators are included in that blanket statement — NO ONE can predict with better than 50/50 accuracy who will and won’t succeed. How many first pick QB’s are in the HOF? How many QB’s in the HOF were dramatically under-rated? And the numbers simply don’t change, regardless of where they played or in what system.
    FAKE NEWS… belied by FACTS… but of course, this is America, so NO ONE CARES! Just shout what you think should be true, when all it takes to know the answer is five minutes and working fingers… somebody out there will give you a thumbs up.
    Ignorance is no sin. Willful ignorance is an unpardonable one… spitting in God’s eye for giving you a brain capable of understanding the world you live in.

  27. The development of Dak Prescott has been heavily aided by the best offensive line and running game in the NFL. Any QB will take that to take pressure off and open up the passing game.

  28. Spread is one thing…..zone read with a running QB is another and will never be commonplace in the NFL. Too much money is paid to a QB and too many hits on a QB in that style of O. Spread still requires the skills of a dropback guy; accurate, quick release, smart, etc…occasionally you have to be able to line up under center. I don’t see a huge NFL career for the likes of Lamar Jackson unless he turns into a great thrower. More like a RGIII. QB’s are throwers…not runners.

  29. Cam Cheating also was caught cheating twice in college?

    Should we be looking for Honor Code violators to staff NFL teams?

    Cam Cheating is yet another running back who thinks he can throw but is too lazy to fall on a fumble in the Big Game.

    We need more of his type in the NFL!

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