There’s something to be said for keeping things simple when it comes to calling plays. Noel Mazzone, offensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins, is one of the best in the country, but he doesn’t do it by recreating the wheel from week to week. Wherever he has been (recently Arizona State and the Bruins), Mazzone has tried to simplify his offense and focus more on execution.
The basis for his offense is very simple and that’s by design. His teams operate almost exclusively out of the shotgun, normally without a tight end. His idea is to spread teams out wide, give the quarterback a simple read and try to take advantage of the weakness in the defense. They run mostly zone schemes, but each one of them has a screen attached to it to allow his quarterback an outlet if the box is loaded. The passing game is fairly simple, with a few concepts that he runs consistently. His offense requires a quick decision-making quarterback who has a high level of accuracy. It is a system that has produced incredible results.
In 2012, Mazzone turned freshman Brett Hundley into the most productive passer in UCLA history. In his first year, Hundley set records for single season completions, passing yardage and total offense. Prior to that, Mazzone had Brock Osweiler at Arizona State. In their time together, Osweiler rewrote the record books. He set new records for completions, attempts and was the first Sun Devil quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season.
Mazzone is not exactly a household name nationwide, but he should be. At every school he’s been at he’s taken their offense to a whole new level. People saw the dramatic improvements for UCLA in year one. Just wait to see how much better it gets in year two.