Tony DeMeo

Tempo Control and Winning

There has been a lot said recently about “up-tempo” offense. The type of offense popularized by Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon & Gus Malzahn the new Head Coach at Auburn University.

The idea is to snap the ball as fast as possible and never give your opponent’s defense a chance to rest or to substitute. A high tempo, fast break offense, that is exciting and fan pleasing. This type of Tempo produces big offensive numbers and is the newest trend in college football.

But what if you are facing a superior team? Do you really want to speed up the game and give a more talented team more possessions? Does your chances of winning increase by lengthening the game against a better team? Do you think David would have gone against Goliath in a two out of three contest?

Jim Valvano taught me a great lesson when we coached together at Iona College – “He who controls the pace wins the race” – the better your opponent the shorter you make the game. He also said “your job as a Head Coach is to have your team in a position to win at the end of the game” In other words it doesn’t matter how many yards you get, as long as you are in position to win at the end. Put a Tony way – It doesn’t matter how many times you dance with the Homecoming queen as long as one of them is the last one.

So high Tempo is a tool to be used when it is called for. You don’t put in a screw with a hammer. So if you are facing an inferior team going fast pace is appropriate but if you are going against Goliath – slow it down. Reduce the number of possessions in the game and drag it into the fourth quarter.

You should also be prepared to change tempos during the game. You may be going warp speed and jump out to a three touchdown lead; it might be time to get some time off the clock while you are scoring. The same plays will still be effective if you slow the pace down a bit.

No- Huddle can be used for both high speed or slow down. By using no huddle but varying the tempos, the defense still can’t substitute and can’t be sure if you are going to quick snap it or not. One of the advantages the offense has is that the “O” knows when the play starts and the defense doesn’t. No – Huddle with multiple Tempos keeps the defense off balance and adds one more weapon they must defend.

So in conclusion my advice is don’t get locked into only one tempo. If your defense is struggling, a fast paced three and out is just putting gasoline on the fire. Slow things down and give them a chance to regroup. If your offense is rolling, pick up the pace and stay high speed. Tempo is a tool for you to use, pick the tempo appropriate for each situation.


FALL REMINDERS– keep us abreast of your scores during the year. Post on the High School Scoreboard or on the College Football forum.

Also review the Four Meaningful Stats:

  1. Score 25 points
  2. Hold opponent to less than 16 points
  3. Score a non- Offensive Touchdown
  4. Have a +2 turnover margin

These are really the only stats that matter.

Here’s hoping all you Triple Gunners have great seasons.