Up-tempo spread offense making waves across the SEC - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Up-tempo spread offense making waves across the SEC

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Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, right, shakes hands with Florida Atlantic head coach Carl Pelini before the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, right, shakes hands with Florida Atlantic head coach Carl Pelini before the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference used to be thought of as the place creative offenses went to die.

No more.

Led by an influx of new, offensive-minded coaches, the SEC has joined the rest of college football by embracing the age of the spread.

It's a trend highlighted by the success of schools like Auburn, Texas A&M, Missouri and Ole Miss, though not all of the league — highlighted by defending national champion Alabama — has let go of its running and defensive roots.

The different styles have played out in more ways than just on the field. They've also led to debate about player safety among coaches and increased salesmanship in recruiting battles centered on the spread's appeal to skill players eager to make it to the NFL.