The Culture of Offense: How Texas 7on7 Changed Football

By: Matt Reese
02/16/2016 11:31 AM -

Football has changed.

What began as a brutal battle of wills, a ground and pound game that featured stout defenses and 6-0 score-lines is no more.

Offense has taken over the game, and is here to stay.

To find the root of this change, look no further than Texas high school football. Over the past decade, the offensive explosion in Texas has led to high scoring college games, and even a spike in NFL scoring.

There are stats to back it up.

OU quarterback Baker Mayfield has jumped to the top of many Heisman watchlists.
OU quarterback Baker Mayfield has jumped to the top of many Heisman watchlists.

Through the first three weeks of college football, five of the top six quarterbacks in yards per game came from Texas — Baker Mayfield, Seth Russell, Patrick Mahomes II, Dane Evans and Trevone Boykin. The Lone Star State also boasts eight QBs in the Top 20 of the same category. Let’s not forget Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard who put up a record 527 yards last week versus California.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, either; See 2008 with Colt McCoy, Graham Harrell, Robert Griffin III, Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing.

You get the picture. It all comes back to high school football in Texas.

The scoring average throughout the state has been on a meteoric rise over the past decade. In 2003, only 37 teams averaged over 40 points a game. There was only one who averaged over 50. Last year, however, there were 150 schools with 40+ ppg, and 24 with 50+ ppg.

Texas’ spike in offense coincides with the emergence of 7on7 football at the high school level. In the mid-2000s, the 7on7 scene boomed in Texas. Hundreds of high schools began competing in 7on7 during the offseason to get more repetitions for their skill players on offense.

PrimeTime Sports joined the scene in 2004, and is currently the largest 7on7 tournament provider in Texas. The 2015 Tournament of Champions boasted 134 teams from all over the state.

“When you look at the Texas High School football playoff brackets every year, the teams making deep runs are the same ones who have played PrimeTime 7on7 since Junior High,” said PrimeTime COO Brandon Hollmann.

Now at OU, Mayfield was a star at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas. He led the Cavaliers to a 25-2 record and the 2011 4A State Title. Heard is now starting for the Texas Longhorns as a redshirt freshman. His Denton Guyer Wildcats won back-to-back 4A state championships in 2012 and 2013.

They are both PrimeTime 7on7 alums.

In the early weeks of the 2015 season, Mansfield Lake Ridge has been one of the best 5A teams in Texas. The Eagles are currently ranked No.1 in Dallas by both VYPE DFW and the Dallas Morning News.

A big reason for Lake Ridge’s early success is the play of quarterback Jett Duffy. The senior QB is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes, and has yet to throw an interception during the 4-0 start. Duffey played 7on7 with PrimeTime last spring, and he’s not the only one.

Camden Roane of Colleyville Heritage is fifth in DFW with 939 passing yards in four games. Highland Park’s Henry Allen has the second highest completion percentage (68.09%) of any Top 20 QB in the Dallas area.

Both Roane and Allen participated in 7on7 tournaments with PrimeTime in 2015.

“It is obvious to us that the repetitions and chemistry built amongst the players during the spring 7on7 season correlates to winning results in the fall and it all starts with the quarterback.”

It’s not just quarterbacks, either. Offensive lineman, receivers and running backs brought up in the fast-paced, 7on7 culture of Texas football are succeeding in high levels of the sport. Hundreds of D1 athletes played at 7on7 tournaments in high school.

With more schools joining the 7on7 culture, this trend of offensive growth is going to grow. Kids now a days play football almost year round, and get thousands of repetitions running the spread offense.

Old-school football enthusiasts may cringe at the gaudy numbers put up in today’s game, but offense is here to stay.

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