Throughout the 2017 season, the USC Trojans installed an offensive system centered around the shotgun formation. For instance, their quarterback Sam Darnold lined up about five yards behind the center with a running back beside or behind him and a two to three wide receiver set. Once the play began, he would give the ball to his running back for the first two downs to move the chains or set up a manageable third down. If the team were successful, he would hand the ball off or throw the ball to a receiver or running back on a crossing, wheel, comeback and flat route. However, if they were unsuccessful, Sam Darnold would target a receiver on a slant, curl or crossing route.
As a result of this, the NFL team who selects Sam Darnold in the 2018 draft should develop an offensive system similar to the USC Trojans. This is because Darnold has developed a habit of throwing the ball from shotgun that it is the fastest way for him to be successful. On the other hand, if the NFL team wants him to be under center, it will take Darnold one to two years of repetitions to get used to throwing the ball off of 3 to 5 step drops. Furthermore, Sam will have to get comfortable with defensive pressure getting to him sooner because he is going to line up closer to the defense.
Unfortunately, most NFL teams won’t give Sam Darnold the proper amount of time to learn how to play under center. This is because ownership will put pressure on the coaching staff to play Sam within the first year in an attempt to show the public that they made the right decision. Due to this, the team would call a lot of passing plays to give him a chance to demonstrate that he is a franchise quarterback and is capable of making all the necessary throws to lead the team to victory. While it is reasonable to expect an organization to give their new investment many opportunities to prove themselves at a certain point, it will affect the performance of the rest of the team. For instance, if Darnold gets the chance to throw a lot, the offense will spend less time on the field because of incompletions, interceptions or sacks that result in short drives. As a result, the defense would have to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest which leads to the unit being more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense.
In conclusion, installing a similar system to the USC Trojans will allow Sam Darnold to be ready to play much sooner. Furthermore, it increases the likelihood of ownership looking good when they force the coaching staff to play Allen because he is fully prepared.