How much has Cougars' offense changed since implementing Mike Leach's Air Raid?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Though the Washington State Cougars had a pass-heavy attack with Todd Sturdy running the show, Mike Leach's pass-heavy Air Raid offense has a number of differences that are still being learned.

The Washington Cougars retained a pass-heavy offensive scheme under first-year coach Mike Leach, but that doesn't mean it's all that similar to former offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy's attack.

Brian J. Anderson of Coug Center writes that there are a number of differences the Cougars are still getting used to after eight games in 2012:

While the transition from Sturdy's pass-heavy spread attack to Leach's Air Raid seemed simple, we now know there was more to it than meets the eye. The nuances and subtle differences between the two offenses are significant, resulting in some early hiccups. While there's little doubt Leach's system will take hold -- he and other Air Raid disciples manage to find success at every stop -- it's taking time.

For one, the playcalling is much different. While Sturdy would often script the first 15 play calls to have early plays set up later ones, Leach is much more a spur-of-the-moment type of playcaller.

Another difference between the two schemes is the quarterback responsibilities, writes Anderson. Whereas Sturdy wanted Connor Halliday and Jeff Tuel to make progression reads, Leach gives them more chances to change the play at the line of scrimmage once Leach has called it initially.

And when the quarterbacks make the throws, they're now throwing into windows rather than to rigid routes. Leach's Air Raid is more about spacing and receivers finding the correct windows rather than going to a specific spot on the field that is drawn up for each play.

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