Opinion from OU Associate Athletics Director for Communications Kenny Mossman.
Congregation, for today's football lesson we turn
to the ninth verse in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes,
where it says, "What has been will be again, what
has been done will be done again; there is nothing
new under the sun."
That, of course, brings us to the college football
rage these days, the hurry-up offense.
Thanks to a more-frequently moving clock and the
fact that offensive coordinators delight in watching
defensive players run ragged while trying to find a
decent alignment, offensive units no longer huddle.
Instead they stand at the line of scrimmage peering
over at a group of coaches or reserve players signaling
in plays with a series of hand and arm gyrations that
more closely resemble a game of Charades gone terribly
Innovative? Creative? Well, maybe the gyrations,
but nothing else.
Hurry-up offenses are nearly as old as the game
itself. And, interestingly, Oklahoma has ties to the
history of the hurry-up. One involved Oklahoma's first
great coach, Bennie Owen.
Prior to 1900 when he was playing football at Kansas
under legendary coach Fielding Yost, Owen, the KU quarterback,
was instructed to call signals for the next play while
still lying beneath the tackle pile from the previous
So prominent was that part of Yost's strategy that
he was nicknamed, "Hurry Up."
Half-a-century later, Bud Wilkinson employed a similar
strategy when his out-sized Sooners were struggling
against Maryland in the 1956 Orange Bowl.
Trailing 6-0 at halftime, Wilkinson called for the "fast
break offense." The frenetic tempo left the Terps
tired and disorganized, and the Sooners rallied for
a 20-6 victory.
That 1955 OU team won the national championship
and extended its winning streak, the one that would
eventually reach an NCAA record 47 games, to 30 with
that win over Maryland.
The fact that coaches have returned to the hurry-up
ploy in this generation is certainly no indictment
on today's football minds. It has long been said that
the best ideas are stolen.
No, what the more recent bent towards the hurry-up
should point out is the wisdom of the game's early
strategists. The fact that this whole concept is effective
more than 100 years after it was first introduced certainly
merits a tip of the visor.
That said, the warped offensive numbers emanating
from the hurry-up mixed with the spread formation leave
this football traditionalist a bit concerned. I don't
know what the inventors of the game intended, but am
guessing they envisioned a first down as something
to be cherished, not assumed.
But that's just me. Nothing pleased my football
eye more than a well-oiled wishbone, which was plenty
potent in its own right. Some say it will never come
back. I scoff. If Fielding Yost's hurry-up found its
way back into the playbooks, so too can the triple
While waiting, I'm content to sit here and watch
those three guys signal in from the sideline while
wondering if my rotator cuffs could hold up under such
an inside perspective from the OU
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Associate Athletics Director for Communications Kenny
provides his thoughts in his online column