(1090 The Fan) — Often in the college football arena we label certain offensive systems. There’s the Spread, there’s the Pistol and at Washington State University, head coach Mike Leach has inserted his Air Raid system. Those systems, however, don’t fall into the “pro-style” category.
Former WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel, now a rookie with the Buffalo Bills, played his final college season under coach Leach and his “Air Raid” offense. He received a lot of reps in Bills camp and carried the experience into the preseason, but when asked how his time under Leach’s system helped him prepare for the NFL, he explained that he had to start fresh.
“Honestly, not a lot of the things in coach Leach’s offense are similar to the things I’m doing here in Buffalo,” Tuel said. “They are two different systems. Here, we’ll (run) play action, we let the receivers work; it’s a whole other system, so I definitely had a lot to learn.” Tuel did credit the opportunities he received at WSU in terms of throwing, saying “you can’t ask to go anywhere (better) to get the amount of throws I had from coach Leach on a daily basis. We threw a ton, I definitely learned a lot.”
The Bills’ offense, led by head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett (both of whom coached together at Syracuse University), is a mix of zone reads and west-coast style short passing plays — much of which was carried over from the system used at Syracuse.
Getting reps in camp can be critical for a rookie quarterback learning a new offense, more so than veterans returning to the scene. “You’re never going from the same system from college to the NFL,” Tuel explained, “so there’s definitely going to be a learning curve.”
The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Fresno, Calif. native, who is waiting for his chance behind Bills’ starter EJ Manuel, hasn’t forgotten about his alma mater, which upset the USC Trojans on the road two weeks ago. The big Cougars victory also gave Tuel an opportunity to throw a friendly jab at a teammate, a former Trojans wide receiver. “Absolutely, of course, I was fired up,” Tuel said. “I had to call and text Robert Woods and get on him a little bit.”
Tuel and his teammates hit the road this coming Sunday to take on the New York Jets.
— Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
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