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Air Raid Evolution

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Air Raid Evolution
(Softcover: 102 pages)

X&O Labs' Mike Kuchar had unprecedented access to Sam Houston State's offensive coordinator Phil Longo. The goal was to discover the details behind Longo's Air Raid. As you're about to read, Phil Longo’s Air Raid offense puts up mind-blowing numbers and this brand-new, 102-page book provides you with all the details to super-boost your offense.

On the surface, his offense may seem inherently ingrained in the Air Raid prototype developed decades ago by legendary coaches Mike Leach and Hal Mumme. Like many Air Raid systems, Coach Longo prides himself on an up-tempo offense. While currently the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss (formerly at Sam Houston State), Longo’s offense ran 1,275 plays in his last season at Sam Houston State (85 per game), which were among the highest in the country. The results of this output were staggering:

  • 1st in the FCS in total offense, averaging 531.7 yards per game.
  • 7,975 yards of total offense, 3rd highest in Division 1 history.
  • 1st in the FCS in first downs with 414, an all-time Southland Conference record.
  • 27.6 first downs per game, an all-time Southland Conference record.
  • 5th in the FCS in scoring offense, averaging 41.1 points per game.
  • 9th in the FCS in rushing offense, averaging 254.5 yard per game.

Longo's approach to the passing game is entirely Air Raid by nature. He trains his quarterbacks to get the ball out of their hands quickly, teaches his receivers to chase space in zone coverages and run what he calls "cheaper," less structured, universal routes that are efficient against both zone and man coverages. Coach Longo will be the first to tell you his system is a discipline of the Air Raid. In fact, he's clinic'ed with Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia and Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech and takes a yearly spring visit to see Coach Leach in Pullman. In fact, they even recruit the same quarterbacks (Sam Houston signed a Washington State de-commit just this winter).

But the differences lay in one vital component, the alleviation of responsibility of the quarterback. While some "system" quarterbacks are grounded in the Air Raid, Coach Longo and his offensive staff doesn't ask the quarterback to handle a heavy workload such as identifying the Mike linebacker, reading coverage structures, checking protection or even communicating with the offensive line. In his words, this system is "quarterback friendly." "He is simply a distributor to our talent base. We don't want them (QBs) doing anything but completing balls," he told us. Which means the receivers, not the quarterbacks, are asked to identify coverage and make the proper adjustments against man and zone coverages. In this system, the quarterback doesn't read defenders; he instead looks for open receivers. Routes are built to win against any coverage. It's an alternative mindset that has come with its advantages. In Coach Longo's two-year tenure in Huntsville, the Bearkats have finished in the FCS Final Four two years in a row and have produced the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year in a two-quarterback system.

The premise of the offense is centered on two-receiver components, chasing space in zone coverages and gaining separation in man coverages. The malleability of the scheme provides an answer to any defensive adjustment. "Most people will say that offensive coordinators are not patient enough to throw 30 hitches a game, so defenses will start to play the deep ball and allow us to take those underneath routes," Coach Longo says. "With me that's not the case. I don't care how boring it is. If that's what you are going to give us than that's what I'm going to take." Often times, this access even comes in the form of an unloaded box in which Coach Longo takes advantage of by running the ball. The Bearkats were among the best in the nation in that category as well, which is philosophically anti-Air Raid. "They (defenses) are making us a better run team because they are defending the pass game all day. All we are doing is telling our players that they need to chase that space. We need to take advantage of the space. That is where the passing offense comes from."

X&O Labs’ Mike Kuchar spent three days with Coach Longo studying the responsibility that he places on his receivers and quarterbacks. Kuchar was in the meeting rooms and had unfiltered access to the coaching staff. We present our research in this brand-new, 102-page book into the following three cases:

Case 1: System Analysis and Role of Receivers

Case 2: The Role of the Quarterback

Case 3: Route and Route Concepts That Attack Space

The Air Raid Evolution brings you all the latest trends, methods, strategies and schemes that can only come from X&O Labs’ in-depth research.

Devise your offensive system this off-season around Coach Longo’s Air Raid by using X&O Labs’ Air Raid Evolution.

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