I would have made this a fanshot, but I couldn't get it to work with my iPhone. The fanshot box was too wide and no matter how I tried to manipulate my phone I couldn't get it, so fanpost it is!
But in the recent Monday Morning Mailbag,
Wobschall was answering questions and this particular Q&A caught my eye:
After seeing the success of various teams running the ball using the read option, do you think we could see the Vikings implement some form of read option into their offense? Do you think Christian Ponder is capable of doing this? I would think so, after seeing some of his runs, especially the one against the San Francisco 49ers. Thoughts?
-- Max Omaha, NE
While I believe Ponder is capable of running the read-option and while I don’t like to rule anything out, I would be surprised if the Vikings used this as one of their primary offensive strategies. Yes, we’ve seen some teams use it and find success recently, but we’ve also see teams have their quarterbacks injured while running the read-option. Also, I don’t believe the read-option is what’s best when you have such an effective power running game, which the Vikings have. I’d rather just give the ball to Peterson and have that offensive line work in front of him than have Peterson and Ponder stand back there and spend a bunch of time with fancy footwork and fake handoffs. Again, I’m not opposed to experimenting with different ideas (such as the read-option), but I don’t believe they should turn into a primary offensive option.
I felt the need to e-mail Wobschall and sent him this response:
I was reading the response you had about the Vikings using Ponder with the read-option, and I kinda disagree with your response. The only reason I do agree with you is that with Ponder's track record with injuries, but he has since put on weight to combat this.
But the read option makes the QB a weapon making it no longer 11 defenders on 10 offensive players and then leaves a defender unblocked putting the offense with the favorable 11-10 advantage. Also, watching the way Harbaugh uses it he designs it so it freezes the second and third level with Fake Option Play-Action pass. It should widen defenses (the OLB) because they need to account for the QB coming off the edge (and the End being unblocked), therefore creating wider running lanes for AP. It's made to simplify reads for your QB. Ponder does have Kaepernick speed but not his build. Musgrave would be wise to watch more film on Harbaugh and take a page or two from him, IMO.
Am I wrong here? Or is Max in Omaha right in his question? I did try to validate this with stats by looking at Frank Gore's season stats over the years and his game by game stats in pro-football-reference.com, but didn't see a jump in his YpC or jump in yards per game during the season after Kaepernick took over. Looking forward to some good debate!