Throughout the 2017 season, the Oklahoma Sooners football team installed an offensive system centered around the shotgun formation. For instance, their quarterback Baker Mayfield lined up about five yards behind the center with a running back beside or behind him and a two to four wide receiver set. After the play begins, he will hold the ball usually for a couple of seconds to allow the receivers to get eight to twelve yards downfield. Once this happens, Baker will target a receiver on a slant, curl, in, out or corner route.
Furthermore, there were some occasions when the team would call a read option play which allows Baker Mayfield to analyze the defense and determine what play to run. For instance, Mayfield will receive the snap in shotgun formation and begins the process of giving the ball to the running back while paying attention to the defense. If the linebackers/ safeties freeze to see what play the team is running or take a step forward to stop the run, he will pull the ball to throw it. This is because it is tough for the linebackers/ safeties to catch up to a receiver 5-10 yards ahead of them within a matter of seconds. As a result, Baker Mayfield knows he will have an open receiver downfield or single coverage on the receiver. Therefore, he will throw an intermediate or deep pass to a receiver on a curl, out, in, corner or post route. However, If the linebackers/ safeties decide to stay back in coverage, he lets the running back have the ball and run it.
As a result of this, the NFL team who selects Baker Mayfield in the 2018 draft should develop an offensive system similar to the Oklahoma Sooners. This is because Mayfield 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 Baker Mayfield one to two years of repetitions to get used to throwing the ball off of 3 to 5 step drops. Furthermore, Baker 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 Baker Mayfield 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 Baker 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 Baker Mayfield 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 Oklahoma Sooners will allow Baker Mayfield to be ready to play much sooner. Furthermore, it increases the likelihood of ownership looking good when they force the coaching staff to play Baker Mayfield because he is fully prepared.