A lot has been made of the transformation happening with the Miami Dolphins offense this offseason. Last year, the Dolphins were still being developed under then-head coach Tony Sparano's Bill Parcells, ground-and-pound scheme, with strength and size the dominating factors. Even with the trade for running back Reggie Bush, nothing about Sparano's system indicated anything other than a power running game.
Now, the team is being run by first year head coach Joe Philbin, who, along with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, is looking to completely overhaul the offense the Dolphins use in 2012. Instead of a power running game, the Dolphins will shift to a west coast style offense. Instead of letting the play clock run down, often burning timeouts when the play could not get in fast enough, Miami will be looking to snap the ball with over 30 seconds still on the play clock. Instead of 60 plays a game, the Dolphins are trying to average 90 plays.
And, they aren't kidding.
"No huddle. Very up-tempo and fast-paced offense. That's the biggest thing right off the bat," Bush replied when the media asked about the changes to the offense. "That means our conditioning is going to have to be high, and we're going to run a lot of plays in real games. So that's something we have got to be prepared for. We've got to play fast and know the system; we can't have split-second indecision because it could mess up a play or a whole drive."
Sherman comes to the Dolphins after being fired from his role as head coach by Texas A&M. Last year, the Aggies averaged over 80 plays per game, the third highest total in the nation (Texas Tech and Oklahoma State were ahead of TAMU). The season saw the Aggies reach a season-high of 99 plays against Missouri, while their low was 60 plays against Kansas.
The year prior, Texas A&M reached a season high 106 plays in a game against Oklahoma State.
The Dolphins completed their first organized team activities period last week, and the players quickly realized what was needed in the system being installed by the new coaching staff.
"I think with the tempo of the practice and, in general, the tempo of the offense on top of that, you've really got to be conditioned in this offense," Bush said.
Throughout the OTAs, the Dolphins left little time for rest between drills, using the time to work on the team's conditioning in preparation for the new style of play on gameday.
"That's a lot of plays," Bush said when asked to translate the practices into a game-day situation. "I was just asking our running back coach [Jeff Nixon], ‘Is this going to be the temp in the game?' We're pretty fast right now, but usually we practice faster than we should play. I don't know, we'll see. Hopefully the tempo will go down a little bit and save some guys because that's a lot of plays in one game."
Despite the doubts of people like ESPN's James Walker, if the Dolphins' coaching staff has anything to say about it, Bush shouldn't put any money on slowing down.