By Jimmy Hyams
Tyson Helton had a simple answer to a simple question: How would you describe your offense?
“The biggest thing is, we do whatever it takes to win,’’ said Tennessee’s first-year offensive coordinator.
That might be easier said that done.
Perhaps you could do that at USC, where you had a first-round draft pick in quarterback Sam Darnold and an electrifying running back in Ronald Jones and an array of talented receivers.
But you can you do that at Tennessee, where you don’t have a proven quarterback or a running back that has gained over 500 yards in a season or an All-SEC caliber receiver?
Helton will try.
“In today’s game,’’ he said, “I don’t think you can be one particular thing. I think defenses are gonna dictate what you do offensively.
“You have to be able to put yourself in position to win games. You’re gonna see multiple defenses, so you gotta be able to attack what you’re seeing.
“One thing I like about our offense is we’re very multiple. We can get under center. We can run the ball. We can spread you out, get in the gun, throw the ball.’’
You can do those things, but will you be efficient enough at each to move the ball, score points and win games? That remains to be seen.
Of course, the efficiency boils down to the ballplayers.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about the offense,’’ Helton said. “It’s about the players. And the players are the ones that go win the games.
“And you have to teach the players, `Hey, this is what’s important about the game, taking care of the football, knowing the situations you’re in, putting yourself in position to go win the game in the fourth quarter.
“That’s what good football teams do. It’s our job as coaches to put our players in position to go do those things.
“So to answer the question: `What is your offense?’ The offense is whatever we need to go win the game. But we will be multiple. We will be under center. We will be in the gun. We’ll do things to put our players in position to go win.’’