One of the more interesting things that happened with the hiring of Matt Wells as Texas Tech’s new head coach was also the arrival of the two coordinators. They were seemingly a package deal, none of them sticking around to take over the head coaching job at Utah State, they were all on their way to Texas Tech. And in arrives the long, blonde-haired offensive coordinator David Yost. I thought his press conference was pretty terrific and I thought his answers were on point. I’ve done a non-transcript from his comments detailed below, but there were a few things that stood out to me that I thought bared repeating:
- Yost runs almost everything out of 11 personnel, to a tune of 96%. If you are a tight end looking to play some snaps, Texas Tech has a vacancy. I’m sure that Donta Thompson will get a bunch of those reps, but injuries happen and there are going to need to be options.
- Yost says the likes to go tempo, learning how to communicate plays from how Oregon does it when Mark Helfrich was the head coach (a lot of you are already complaining about looking to the sideline, but that literally happened last year with Kingsbury, so if it is effective, then you probably need to find a new complaint), passing concepts from his time with Mike Leach, how to utilize speed from Oregon and the power spread from Missouri.
- Yost started out with Gary Pinkel, but Pinkel was a hard-driver, Yost just quit, a surprise to everyone, and figured out that work-life balance was a lot more important than just being a football player.
- Of all things, it was Mike Leach that told him that he could find that work-life balance at Washington State, where he took that to heart, was the inside receivers coach and then decided that he wanted to get back to quarterbacks and arrived at Utah State last year.
We’ll have a lot of time to dissect Yost’s offense, I promise we’ll do that, but here’s a really nice deep dive into Yost as an offensive coordinator from The Salt Lake Tribune’s Chrisopher Kamrani, where Yost reiterates a lot of the things he said at the press conference. A small playbook, repping plays over and over and over again, and coaching is plagiarism.
Ideas are rarely original in the business, he adds. It’s about what works, how you think you can tinker with it, and how you might make it your own. The Aggies aren’t doing anything revolutionary. On the contrary. They’re just benefitting from an offensive mind schooled under several other great minds. The offense’s base philosophy, he said, comes from his time at Missouri, where under Gary Pinkel and alongside Dave Christensen, he learned how to perfect the spread-option offense.
Passing game concepts? Primarily from the time he spent working under Mike Leach at Washington State. The Aggies always want to try to attack teams vertically first. Then, there’s the speed. That comes from — where else? — Oregon, where he learned that if timing is dialed in, if plays are prepped, if the game-plan is chugging along, tempo is a secret weapon that can wilt the will of any defense. The unrelenting up-tempo approach USU has enacted, mixed with the run-game schemes, is derived from Yost’s time with former Ducks coach and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.
But you shoudl also check out Arizona Dail Star’s PJ Brown where you should read the whole thing, but when Matt Wells talks about family, which can be a complete cliche in coaching circles, but for Yost, that’s part of who he is as a coach and as a husband and father.
Balance sounds much easier to do as an inside receivers coach or a quarterbacks coach. How does that work now that you are running the entire offense?
A: “Now, when I’m in the office, I go hard. I work hard, play hard. It’s the guy who gets the most out of his guys. I’m not as controlling as I used to be. I’m open to input and given the players more freedom.
“(Utah State) coach Matt Wells is about family. Today, it was my daughter’s 11th birthday and I had lunch with her and was back for our first practice for the bowl later. I did the same thing a week ago for my son’s ninth birthday. I go to church with my family every Sunday and have a lunch date with my wife every Monday during the season.
“I talk to the players about more than football. We talk about families and their girlfriends, etc. And I am more present with my family to them so they see it is important to me. They know my family and my wife makes cookies for them every Friday. They understand how I make it a priority. The job is important, yet when all is said and done, the biggest effect we have is on our family.”
[Yost discusses the hair, which he says that he colors blonde, but does not perm and he’s had since his days in Missouri] . . . known a lot about Texas Tech, was here for a game on a Saturday night, looking at the history, it has been tremendous with Dykes, through Leach and all of the guys, Coach Wells it is about who you work for and work with, know what he’s getting every day, and the guys he’s going to let Yost putting around him, can’t wait to get started . . . was at Oregon and worked out Alan Bowman twice, in January and in the spring, tremendously talented, it is the off the field stuff, picked him up from the hotel, talked football and give him a snapshot of what he’s about, Bowman is a football junkie, we can give him a lot of responsibility . . . our tempo is the biggest difference, try to go as fast as we can every snap, a tempo team, stole at Oregon, how to communicate it, once we don’t go tempo, then we turn into more of a spread offense, when we look to the sideline, you’ll see a lot of “same as” and we have a plan and a process . . . our run game comes off of tempo, zone team and a gap team, attack what the defense does, we a tight end in our offense, he is as vital in the run and pass game, it is a spot that we are recruiting, but find guys that can stick at that position, we call runs to run the football, it gives us a 6th man advantage, it is what I learned at Missouri, we dictate when we run and couldn’t do that without the tight end . . . had 17 years with Pinkel, change personally, I decided that I did not do a good job of organizing my time, as a husband and a father, made a decision after 2012, told Pinkel that I quit, he respected my decision, still very close, Leach offered me to be a husband and father, a couple of years, I wanted to get back to quarterback, I left Missouri because I needed to be better with my family . . . you are not going into bare cupboards, we have guys up front, we have depth, quarterback like Alan, but it hasn’t been a one-man show, the talent at the receiver position, that’s what it comes down to, it’s not about plays, but about players we have tremendous talent . . . I talked to him (Antoine Wesley), we texted last night, be back on Monday for classes, we got to meet all of the other guys last night, we’re excited, whatever is best for him, if he is here, we’re going to have a lot of fun for him . . . the stuff that they’ve done before, they can look at my history and my offense’s history, offensive players want to see how they are going to fit in, those individuals goals will help us as an offense, we’re going to get them in space as much as we can, it is just a matter of how much we can get the football to them, have a lot of carry-over from before . . . he is going to be a head coach, when he called me at Oregon, he is all about setting the culture of the program and letting me do the offense, constantly working on the culture, you know what you are getting there is no gray in-between, it is always fair and straight across, we are all in this together . . . there is a guy now, D.T. he stood up there and said high and I said that’s what tight ends look like, as tall as we can get them and in the 240/250 range, we want them to be good at a few things, there are a couple of guys that also look like what tight ends look like, it is a vital position on our offense . . . we have select plays we run fast, we’re efficient at those plays, we expect those to be good plays to be in a good position, by having a few plays, we do them over and over, I’m into monotonous, we try not to over-coach, we do 6 things 10,000 times, not 10,000 things 6 times . . . last season we were 60% of the time, the year before we were a little under 50%, it comes down to what we are best at and what is best for our football team, we change our tempo based on the situation, we’re always pushing it as high as we can, we’ll run our best plays as fast as we can . . . we’re an 11 personnel team, we were in 11 personnel 96% of the snaps, our tight end, he can be split out as a receiver, as an in-line tight end, by the quarterback, we have all of that and what can that guy do, the more he can do, the more we can do . . . I’ve been lucky to be around talented guys, their work ethic and there has been tremendous quarterback play here, Chase Daniel always had a chip on his shoulder for not getting offered by Texas Tech, we tailor our offense to what our quarterback can do and our receivers, tight ends and offensive line can do, the offense has enough flexibility to tailor the offense about what he can do . . .