Saturday, September 22, 2007

Regular Snap Decisions Are Passé

Regular snap decisions are passé
By Jack Carey, USA TODAY

Think there's nothing new under the sun in college football? It looks like there's something new under center — or at least behind center.

More and more teams are using a direct snap to someone other than quarterback — usually a speedy running back — in an effort to catch defenses off guard and get the ball into the hands of their best players as quickly as possible.

Perhaps the best known scheme is Arkansas' "WildHog" formation with tailback Darren McFadden, runner-up for last year's Heisman Trophy, lining up at quarterback in the shotgun with the option to run, pass or hand off.

Three teams that played in the last two national championship games used the scheme effectively: Reggie Bush at Southern California, Ted Ginn Jr. at Ohio State and Florida's Percy Harvin.

This season, the trend has spread. Players at Clemson, Georgia, Colorado, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, to name a few, have taken direct snaps. Missouri even had tight end Martin Rucker taking snaps and rushing. Tulsa has inserted linebacker Chris Chamberlain, a high school quarterback, for three carries.

Pittsburgh unveiled its "Arkansas Package" last week against Michigan State with freshman running back LeSean McCoy taking direct snaps for more than a dozen plays.

The Panthers know a bit about the Razorbacks' way of doing things since Pitt coaches visited Arkansas last spring and were briefed on the scheme.

"We heard what they were doing with McFadden, and we thought it might be a thing we would be able to use with the personnel we have," said Panthers offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh. "You want get the ball in your best athletes' hands, and it kind of keeps the defense on their heels."

The Panthers did not use the formation the first two weeks against Eastern Michigan and Grambling, but with their passing game struggling against the Spartans, decided to go with it last week. They waited until the second half, Cavanaugh said, so Michigan State would not have a chance to make halftime adjustments. MSU won 17-13.

Cavanaugh said Pitt will probably "sprinkle in" more direct snaps to McCoy. Though the element of surprise will be gone, the defense can never be sure what the player is going to do with the ball.

"I'm sure Connecticut is preparing for it this week," he said.

Contributing: Kelly Whiteside

Return To the Single-Wing Results in Pen Argyl's Third Win

Wild second half results in Pen Argyl's third win
Green Knights score 14 points in fourth quarter to beat No. Lehigh.

By Mandy Housenick Of The Morning Call
September 22, 2007

Call it crazy.

Call it unbelievable.

Call it a little lucky.
Nobody would argue with those descriptions if they saw the second half of Northern Lehigh's game against visiting Pen Argyl.

The Green Knights made bad snaps on back-to-back plays to push them back 24 yards during the third quarter.

Bulldogs quarterback Kris Krawchuk completed a pass for minus-11 yards -- to himself.

And Pen Argyl's Mike Huth recovered a punt blocked by Northern Lehigh's Craemer Hedash and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.

''I've never seen a play like that and I can't believe I actually scored on it,'' Huth said.

When all the craziness ended, it was the Green Knights 14, the Bulldogs 7.

Pen Argyl managed to get past previously unbeaten Northern Lehigh (3-1) despite playing without quarterback Kyle Hess, who has a broken collarbone. In less than a week, the Green Knights (3-1) learned the single wing, the offense they ran last year, albeit with almost entirely different personnel.

''I have to give credit to [assistant coach] Bob Schooley,'' Pen Argyl first-year coach Paul Reduzzi said. ''And to the kids. They were very studious.''

Other than the Bulldogs' touchdown in the second quarter, the first half was pretty uneventful.

The antics began in the third quarter and got crazier in the fourth.

Pen Argyl found itself with great field position (Northern Lehigh's 40) with 9:36 left in the game. But consecutive bad snaps knocked the Green Knights all the way back to their own 36. A run of 9 yards on third-and-34 wasn't nearly enough, and they were forced to punt.

Hedash made a great play and blocked the punt, but the ball spun away from him and Huth was there to pick it up.

The 5-11, 200-pound junior ran 65 yards down the right sideline for the score.

The ensuing kick failed and Pen Argyl still trailed.

The Bulldogs then went three-and-out and had to punt the ball away.

The snap, though, sailed over Krawchuk's head and landed 30 yards in back of him. The Green Knights pounced on it and had first-and-10 from Northern Lehigh's 18 with 5:09 left.

''We made too many mistakes to beat a good team,'' Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout said. ''That's as simple as I can put it. We didn't make enough good decisions.''

After Jeff Smith came up with a 13-yard run that put his team at the 5, a penalty (too many men on the field) pushed the Knights back to the 10. Smith gained 9 yards on the next two plays before Reduzzi called a timeout on fourth-and-inches.

''He guaranteed us he would score,'' Huth said of Smith.

The bruising fullback kept his word. He bulldozed his way into the end zone to give the Knights their first lead. Then he ran in the two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs put together a threatening final series. On fourth-and-nine, Krawchuk connected with Josh Kern for a 40-yard pass, putting them on Pen Argyl's 22 and giving them their first first down of the second half. After a timeout, Krawchuk completed a 12-yard pass to Matt Gill. Three running plays later, the Bulldogs had fourth-and-goal from Pen Argyl's 3-yard line.

But Krawchuk's pass was batted down by Dalton Hinton, which ensured the win.

''Our hearts were pumping very fast,'' Huth said of Northern Lehigh's final drive. ''It was awesome.''

The Green Knights have made quite a turnaround since their opener. In that loss to Saucon Valley, they managed just 49 yards of offense. Since then, they've won three games and their offensive numbers have improved drastically. Against Northern Lehigh, which came in giving up the fewest points in the league, the Knights racked up 222 total yards.

''We've come so far,'' Huth said. ''We've got some momentum now.''


First downs98






Rushing: PA: Jeff Smith 24-117, TD; Mike Huth 1-65, TD; Matt Young 9-21; Nick Holderman 5-8; Austin Williams 7-(-6). NL: Matt Gill 7-14; Zach Heller 6-18; Kris Krawchuk 9-8; Richard Arnold 1-4; Cody Remaley 5-38, TD; Casey Hedash 2-6; Team 1-(-30).

Passing: PA: Young 1-3-0, 17 yards. NL: Krawchuk: 8-15-0, 94 yards.

Receiving: PA: Dalton Hinton 1-17. NL: Josh Kern 2-48; Craemer Hedash 1-28; Gill 1-12; Zach Rex 2-13; Casey Hedash 1-4; Krawchuk 1-(-11).

Windber capitalizes on North Star turnovers

Windber capitalizes on North Star turnovers
Daily American Sports Writer
Saturday, September 22, 2007 12:36 AM EDT

BOSWELL — Good teams find and even create ways to win. Windber forced four North Star turnovers, and scored touchdowns off three of those in a 27-13 win Friday.

“That’s a killer,” Rambler head coach Phil DeMarco said. “In big ball games that’s the key. You can’t have turnovers. We converted on them and that’s the way it goes.”
North Star head coach Stacy Schmitt agreed, “You have to play mistake-free football against a team like that and we didn’t. We gave up those turnovers which was the key. This is two games now we have done that and lost both.”

Taylor Keiper had two interceptions and Jonathan Ferensic and Brandon Ulasky came up with fumble recoveries for the Ramblers (4-0).

Both of Keiper’s picks came in the first half. The first interception led to the go-ahead touchdown for the Ramblers.

After North Star (1-2) took a 7-0 lead on its first possession on a Kyle Bowser 2-yard touchdown run and a Winston Shaulis extra point, Windber went to work.

The Ramblers offense drove from its own 17-yard line in 13 plays to score. Mike Webb caught a 30-yard pass from Keiper in the corner of the end zone, and Kevin Erickson’s extra point attempt was good, to tie the game.

Cougar quarterback Cory Kaltenbaugh was picked off by Keiper on the Windber 35-yard line to end the ensuing drive.

Webb caught a 36-yard pass and Vinnie Walls capped off the five play drive with a four-yard touchdown. Erickson’s extra point attempt was good for 14-7 lead.

Keiper picked off Kaltenbaugh on the final play of the first half to end another Cougar scoring threat.

North Star punted on its opening possession of the second half and running back Logan Fleegle fumbled on the Cougars’ next possession.

Ferensic recovered the ball on the North Star 32. Erickson then capped off another five-play scoring drive for Windber with a 15-yard rushing touchdown. His extra point attempt was blocked.

North Star was not about to quit though. Bowser caught a 32-yard pass then on the next play ran another 11 yards to put the Cougars in the red zone. Fleegle took the hand-off up the middle for a seven-yard score. Shaulis’ extra point was wide.

The Cougars forced Windber to punt on its next possession and started in good field position. But, another fumble ended up in Ulasky’s hands and ended the drive.

Erickson led the way on the Ramblers’ 13-play, seven minute game-closing drive. The senior running back finished with a game-high 129 yards on 22 carries.

Clark capped off the run from three yards out and Erickson’s extra point attempt was good, setting the final at 27-13.

“I give all the credit to my line,” Erickson said. “They played excellent. The emotion we have from winning this game will carry us through the rest of the season.”

DeMarco added, “He’s one of the toughest inside runners in the area. Kevin is perfect for our single wing offense. He earned every one of those yards.”

Windber finished with 257 yards total offense. North Star finished with 235.

Both teams are home next Friday for homecoming festivities. Berlin is at Windber while Conemaugh Township is at North Star.

(Christina Dunmyer may be reached at

Photo Caption
In addition to running for 129 yards and one touchdown, Windber’s Kevin Erickson also kicked three extra points in the Ramblers road victory over North Star Friday night. See more images from this game by visiting the photo galleries. (Staff photo by Roger Vogel)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Two Single-Wing Teams Battle It Out

September 20, 2007

Scott-James Monroe game pits top backs
Two Single-Wing Teams Battle It Out

By Rick Ryan
Assistant Sports Editor

Seats should be at a premium Friday at the H.E. Comer Sports Complex in Lindside. Not only will two of the state’s top Class AA teams square off when Scott visits James Monroe, but two of the best running backs as well.

Similarities abound with the two teams. Both feature high-scoring clubs (JM at 44 points per game, Scott 32), both offenses run out of what can be described as single-wing formations and both feature running backs wearing No. 28 with similar surnames.

The No. 3 Mavericks (4-0) are led by junior Taylor Robertson, while the No. 6 Skyhawks (3-1) bank on senior Jordan Roberts.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Robertson has run for more than 500 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while the 5-11, 210-pound Roberts has gained 1,127 yards and scored 10 TDs on the ground. Each takes direct snaps from center and can also throw the ball with success.

“Sometimes you talk about matchups making a game,’’ said Scott coach Shane Griffith, “and these are two similar-style offenses, and that’s going to make a great matchup, I believe. Both of us believe in dominant running offenses and strong defenses. It should be a fun game.’’

Scott relies more on Roberts than JM does on Robertson.

Roberts is more than 800 yards ahead of the Skyhawks’ No. 2 rusher, Randy Bishop (26 carries, 270 yards), while the Mavericks have a pair of runners near 400 yards in senior Ernie Tincher and junior Nick Kisiel, a converted end.

James Monroe coach David Witt has taken notice of Roberts’ talents.

“He’s a game-breaker, really,’’ Witt said. “He’s got good speed and good quickness. To start with, he’s tough to get a piece of, and at the same time, he’s powerful to go along with it. It’ll be a tall task to try and slow him down.

“They set him back there in that shotgun and run a West Virginia-style offense. They’ll snap it directly to him for a running play, or he’ll do some zone reads that a lot of teams have gone to. Add to that the fact that he can throw the ball kind of makes it a three-pronged attack with one player. They bring a lot to the table to try and defend.’’

Each runner in the Mavericks’ three-man backfield has already posted a big game this season. Robertson rushed for 218 yards and three TDs in a 35-0 win over Oak Hill, Kisiel ran for 160 yards and two scores that night, and Tincher galloped for 149 yards and two TDs in a 35-6 victory at Shady Spring.

“They’ve got a backfield full,’’ Griffith said. “We’ve watched them on film and they’re definitely a power running team with that single wing.

“The thing we’ve noticed about their offense and their running backs is that they play with a purpose. They know their system very well and they believe in it. You can tell their running backs trust the people in front of them. They’re not hesitant at all about where the play’s going to go. It’s going to be an extremely difficult battle for our young defense. But at the same time, it’s been difficult to run the football on us in the past, and we hold to that tradition.’’

Thus far, Robertson has been the best option in the Mavericks’ backfield, but Witt stresses that he’s not the lone option.

“We’ve been fortunate so far that we’ve been able to move the ball consistently,’’ Witt said, “and [Robertson’s] been a big part of that. He’s certainly a key ingredient because he’s a good running back and he can throw the ball for us. But you can’t sit there [on defense] and sit on one guy. They all make each other better because of that.’’

To contact assistant sports editor Rick Ryan, use e-mail or call 348-5175.

Williams, Foster recall perfect game for RBs against Falcons

Williams, Foster recall perfect game for RBs against Falcons

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — When the Carolina Panthers visit Atlanta on Sunday, chances are good the game will have little resemblance to the last meeting.

For DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams, that's too bad. Using direct snaps to Williams and a heavy dose of handoffs to Foster, the Panthers ran a team-record 52 times - and attempted just seven passes - in a 10-3 win over the Falcons last December.

It was a running back's dream.

"I just know the game went by fast," Williams recalled this week. "I think it was one of the shortest NFL games."

And one of the most bizarre. The Panthers had lost four straight and were coming off a 37-3 embarrassment to Pittsburgh where Chris Weinke, who replaced the injured Jake Delhomme, injured his throwing shoulder.

Weinke practised little during the week, and coach John Fox didn't think he could throw 40 passes against the Falcons.

"It's just like a pitcher. You don't want to pitch him 10 innings," Fox said Friday. "Maybe he can give you a couple."

So then-offensive coordinator Dan Henning put in a game plan Williams used occasionally in college: direct snaps to the running back in a formation that resembled the old single wing.

"It was exactly what we did at Memphis," Williams said. "It was something I was used to."

And it surprised the Falcons. Running only two different plays out of the formation, Williams converted seven of eight third-down chances and rushed for 82 yards on 21 carries.

Meanwhile, Foster rushed for 102 yards on 28 carries and the Panthers held the ball for nearly 42 minutes. Weinke, while not taxing his shoulder, completed four of seven passes and threw for the game's only touchdown.

"It was exciting," Foster said. "You look forward to it. We were ready."

As Foster and Williams reminisced about last year's game, they also were thinking about resurrecting the running game that failed last week against Houston.

A week after rushing for 186 yards in a win over St. Louis, the Panthers mustered 66 yards in a 34-21 loss.

"I'm not going to say the running game didn't work last week. It's just that we got behind," said Foster, who was held to 22 yards on nine carries. "I don't think they completely stopped us. We just had to get away from it. We're going to try to get back into it and try to be more consistent."

The Panthers hope to get a boost with the return of guard Jeremy Bridges, who was suspended for the first two games after his arrest on a misdemeanour assault charge. Bridges will replace rookie Ryan Kalil at right guard.

"He keeps us going on the offensive line," Williams said. "We missed his energy, let's just say that. We missed his energy in the huddle and the locker room and we're grateful to have him back."

Delhomme, who threw 41 passes against the Texans, would be grateful to get the running game back.

The good news for the Panthers: Foster has rushed for 100 or more yards three times in his last four games against Atlanta.

"It's just getting in a good groove, really," Foster said.

Williams, who was held to 31 yards on eight carries against Houston, has also stressed the need to get the running game going - even though it's doubtful he'll get any direct snaps Sunday.

"I know they're not going to let that happen this week," Williams said, laughing. "We had a great game against them last year running the ball and I'm sure they'll be gunning to stop the run this year."

Griffins cruise past Bruins

Griffins cruise past Bruins
By Frank Burlison, Staff writer
Article Launched: 09/21/2007 12:15:18 AM PDT

LONG BEACH - Los Alamitos High junior Clark Evans had the very definition of a "productive performance" Thursday night at Veterans Stadium.

Operating out of an offensive formation (Single Wing) that was a staple in the 1950s but rarely seen in this millennium, Evans ran for five scores and threw for another, and passed and rushed for a net of 386 yards as the Griffins knocked off the Wilson Bruins in a non-league football game, 42-20.

Coach John Barnes' team (3-0) will be at Cal State Fullerton a week from tonight to take on defending Pac-5 Division Southern

Section champion Orange Lutheran, while the Bruins (1-3), who dropped their third game in a row, will be at home to open Moore League play against Millikan.
Evans completed 17 of 27 pass attempts and 226 yards and rushed for 160 on 24 carries before heading to the sidelines for good after his final TD with 9:14 to go.

He certainly looked the part of one of the top quarterbacks in Southern California over the Griffins' marching them for touchdowns on their first three possessions.

The "mini-drive" was set up by Joshua Barut's recovery of a Wilson fumble 3:57 into play.

Barut also had an interception in the fourth quarter.

On the second play from scrimmage Evans and sophomore Paul Richardson hooked up for 51 yards after an inside screen.

Evans then connected with another sophomore, Brandon Graves, for eight yards on a swing pass and Evans then blasted over the goal line from 15 yards out on a draw. Zack Abrams then tacked on his first of three first-half conversion kicks.

Wilson was three and out before punting, with Evans and Graves capping the Griffins' third drive with a 14-yard touchdown on a screen to the left in which Graves was untouched until he got into the end zone.

But quarterback Zach Kazarian drove the Bruins 69 yards on their next possession, the last of those 21 on a pass over the middle on third down that sophomore Ezell Ruffin caught at the five before scoring 4:46 before intermission.

After forcing Los Alamitos to punt for the first time, the Bruins continued picking up chunks of yardage many of those by Randall Hook, who rushed for 89 yards on 13 carries in the first half (he also had a 90-yard touchdown run for the games final score) picking up a first down at the Griffins' 7-yard-line on a 13-yard, Kazarian to Hook swing pass with 26 seconds to go.

But, with no timeouts remaining, Hook was buried for a yard loss and then Kazarian's pass to Michael Willie in the end zone fell incomplete as time expired.

"That was a huge defensive stop," Evans said. "It gave us a lot of momentum."

Los Alamitos 42, Wilson 20

Los Alamitos scoring: Evans 5 (15, 1, 7, 6 and 4 runs), Graves (14 pass from Evans). PAT: Abrams 6 (kicks).

Wilson scoring: Ruffin (21 pass from Kazarian), Willie (5 pass from Kazarian), Hook (90 run). PAT: Hollaway 2 (kicks).

Los Alamitos' Clark Evans rushes on a quarterback keeper
against Wilson's Cody Ceverha during the second quarter at
Veterans Stadium on Thursday night. Evans had 226 yards
passing to go along with 160 yards rushing in the Griffins' 42-20
nonleague victory over the Bruins.
(Scott Smeltzer / Press-Telegram)

WVU was running the old single-wing

West Virginia decimates Marshall
“WVU was running the old single-wing”

By Dave Morrison
Sports Editor
Published: September 08, 2007 11:41 pm

HUNTINGTON — At times during the second half of West Virginia’s 48-23 win over Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl Saturday, it looked like WVU was running the old single-wing.

The Mountaineers put quarterback Pat White in shotgun formation with an empty backfield and then let him work his mastery.

“It reminded me of the bowl game in the fourth quarter,” coach Rich Rodriguez said. “The Gator Bowl when Pat was running. We had to try to do some different things to equal up the (personnel) numbers in the run game. They outnumbered us at times.”

White finished with 125 yards rushing and 149 more passing.

For the year, he has rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns and has completed 23 of 36 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. He has not been intercepted.

Rodriguez on running off the field at the half down 13-6:

“That was not pretty,” he said. “I have the headsets on during the game, so I don’t hear nothing but coach (offensive coordinator Calvin) Magee. It’s usually pretty good to have your fans by your tunnel. It ain’t when you’re losing. That was not fun. I’ll have to jog a little faster to get in the lockerroom faster. That, or keep the headsets on.”

At one point, Bob “Kayo” Marcum, the Marshall athletic director, popped his head in during Rodriguez’s interview, ironically, right when Rodriguez was asked about WVU fans purchasing Marshall season tickets in order to acquire Coal Bowl tickets.

“Kayo’s happy back there,” Rodriguez said.

“Thank you, coach, we appreciate it,” Marcum answered.

“It was a great college atmosphere,” Rodriguez continued. “I’m sure it broke the (stadium) record. It looked like every seat was taken. A lot of Marshall fans. A lot of WVU fans (probably 20 percent of the record 40,383). And I certainly appreciate our folks, whether they came from the (Kanawha) Valley or up north.”

Steve Slaton became the third WVU running back to go over 3,000 yards for his career late in the third quarter. The others were Amos Zereoue and Avon Cobourne.

Marshall’s Darius Passmore recorded his first career touchdown reception with a 38-yard strike from Bernard Morris. Passmore had 97 yards of total offense, 21 rushing and 76 receiving.

Freshman phenom tailback Noel Devine continues to impress.

In limited time in the fourth quarter Saturday, Devine had 76 yards and two scores, on 12- and 10-yard runs.

It’s all about learning the system, Devine said.

“It’s not getting easier, the offensive line is just getting better,” Devine said. “I’m getting comfortable. I started getting comfortable in training camp and then even more after the first game. You’ve got to take it step by step.”

“We’ve got to get Noel in the game sooner,” Rodriguez said. “Steve got tired and Noel had some fresh legs. We have to get more confidence in him. He’s learning what we’re doing very quickly, but when the ball is in his hands, he’s got a gift. It was nice to see him make some plays in the second half.”

It’s easy to see that Devine is a fan and team favorite.

That includes his offensive line.

“Everybody loves Noel,” tackle Ryan Stanchek said. “He made some plays today, I’m proud of him.”

One of those was a 39-yard speed-highlighting run late that set up his second touchdown.

That’s typical for Noel.

“Everyone’s seen his highlight tapes (on,” Stanchek said. “He is the real deal. I’m one of those Internet gurus. You like to see what you’re getting.”

Michigan transfer Ryan Mundy, who recovered a key fumble in the second half (the game’s lone turnover), said he never panicked, despite what happened to Michigan vs. Appalachian State last week.

“Never,” Mundy said. “I have confidence in my teammates and my coaching staff. As long as we stayed together, I thought we’d accomplish our goal, winning this game.”

Marshall freshman Darius Marshall certainly impressed, with 80 yards on 11 carries.

“We have some playmakers — Darius Marshall is one of those playmakers,” Marshall coach Mark Snyder said.

Snyder briefly took the freshman out after his third-quarter fumble.

“That was his first fumble through camp,” the Herd coach said.

The announced crowd of 40,383 was easily a new stadium record, breaking the previous mark of 36,914 set against Kansas State on Sept. 10, 2005.

Speculation numbered WVU fans between 10,000 and 13,000.

Rams ramble, turn out Lights

Rams ramble, turn out Lights
AKRON 54, DENVER LUTHERAN 7: Defending 1A champs score early and often
By Jon E. Yunt
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 09/16/2007 01:53:07 AM MDT

Akron's Joe McKay (27) breaks up a pass intended for Denver Lutheran's Travis Besel during the first quarter of the Rams' rout Saturday afternoon. McKay ran for three touchdowns in the 54-7 victory. (Post / Kathryn Scott Osler)The Akron Rams are a well-oiled machine.

The defending Class 1A champions opened North Central League play Saturday by dominating Denver Lutheran early en route to a 54-7 victory at Brinkman Field.

Akron (3-0), the last Colorado school to still run the single-wing offense, moved the ball effortlessly against the Lights' defense that never adjusted.

Ten ball carriers ran for 313 yards behind the offensive line of Kade Leavell, Trent Campbell, Bruce Hall, Mick Strand and Matt Jefferson.

"It's just a lot of people selling out for each other," said junior Joe McKay, who had 51 yards on four carries and three touchdowns. "A lot of people think we are undersized, but we all have speed, and we like to think we can run."

Logan Davisson opened the scoring in a 34-point first-quarter barrage with a 71-yard jaunt over the left side of the line. McKay chalked up the next two scores from 24 and 15 yards, the latter coming after the first of four first-half interceptions thrown by Denver Lutheran.

"The defense just doesn't get enough credit," said Akron coach Brian Christensen, who has his former coach and single-wing guru Carl Rice as his defensive coordinator. "Everyone knows, if a team can't score, they can't win. It's cliché, but defenses win championships."

Akron limited the Lights to just 4 yards from scrimmage. Denver Lutheran (1-2) gained 18 yards on its final two plays from scrimmage to get into positive yardage.

The Lights, relegated to the running clock in the second half, finally got on the board when senior Travis Shelton stripped the ball from Akron's Byron Guy and went 95 yards for the score.

"We talked all week long about what to do, we had film of them and how we wanted to defend them....It's a lot different when you get on the field," first-year Lights coach Joel Brase said. "They run that offense extremely well, and you get one guy out of position and it's a 20, 30-yard gain."

Akron will host No. 9 Wray on Friday night for homecoming.

Akron 34 13 0 7 - 54

Denver Lutheran 0 0 7 0 - 7

A - Davisson 71 run (kick failed). A - Mc-

Kay 24 run (McKay run). A - McKay 15 run (McKay kick). A - Anderson 16 run (McKay kick). A - Ja. Reid 1 run (kick blocked). A - McKay 3 run (McKay kick). A - Bellomy 19 run (kick blocked). DL - Shelton 95 fumble recovery (Carroll kick). A - Vigil 28 interception return (McKay kick).

Staff writer Jon E. Yunt can be reached at 303-954-1354 or

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shady's lane: Pitt may let Wildcat out of bag again

Shady's lane: Pitt may let Wildcat out of bag again

Associated Press Sports
Updated: 10:03 a.m. CT Sept 20, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt isn't promising to pull a Wildcat out of his coaching bag of tricks against Connecticut on Saturday, even if it was successful against Michigan State.

With redshirt freshman quarterback Kevan Smith struggling during much of his second college start, Wannstedt pulled him at times against the Spartans and installed freshman running back LeSean "Shady'' McCoy as his quasi quarterback.

The formation, nicknamed Wildcat, is similar to that run by Arkansas with its running back, Darren McFadden. McCoy takes a direct snap from center - a throwback to football's single-wing days - and either runs the ball or hands it off.

McCoy ran for 172 yards in his first college start against Michigan State - his second 100-yard game in as many weeks - but did not throw any passes out of the Wildcat. Pitt (2-1) moved the ball better with McCoy taking the snaps than it did with Smith under center but lost 17-13 despite McCoy's 64-yard touchdown run.

With Smith unable to throw effectively while going 9-of-18 for 85 yards and two interceptions, Wannstedt chose to use the Wildcat formation rather than replace Smith with an even more inexperienced quarterback, freshman Pat Bostick.

"We're going to do what we have to do to win a game or else I wouldn't have run it on Saturday,'' Wannstedt said. "I felt like we had to do it in order to generate some offense. We weren't having any success throwing the ball, but we have to be careful. I have to make sure we don't let this thing become a monster.''

Offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh and several offensive coaches visited Arkansas last spring to study its offense. They went there after Pitt's quarterbacks, including season-opening starter Bill Stull, all had difficulty during the spring game.

"I love it,'' McCoy said, "The defense doesn't know what's coming.''

With Stull out with a damaged ligament in his thumb, Wannstedt felt that the Wildcat would give the Panthers' offense a different and unexpected look and take some of the pressure off Smith to make plays.

McCoy has been Pitt's one consistent yardage producer, rushing for 363 yards and a 6.4 yards per carry average and catching five passes for 24 yards in three games. Pitt outran Michigan State 207-144 after being outrushed 335-081 in a 38-23 loss to the Spartans last season.
Still, Wannstedt said it's not certain if he will use the offense against Connecticut (3-0), which has beaten Pitt in two of the past three seasons.

"It'll be a week-to-week decision,'' Wannstedt said. "It'll be a situation each week that if we think there's something we might be able to take advantage of, we'll use it.''

Asked if the Wildcat might be expanded, Wannstedt ruled that out, saying, "We have to throw the ball'' sometime.

Whether it will be Smith or Bostick throwing it Saturday, Wannstedt still isn't saying. Smith is 26-of-44 for 305 yards and a touchdown in two-plus games since Stull was hurt against Eastern Michigan, but has thrown three interceptions.

But Bostick is more inexperienced than Smith, who redshirted a year ago. Bostick was playing high school ball last year, and he missed the opening week of Pitt's camp for undisclosed personal reasons.

"It all starts with confidence,'' Wannstedt said. "And that goes for Pat as well.''

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Watch Pitt run their Single-Wing plays with LeSean "Shady'' McCoy leading the way. The Single-Wing plays start at 2:23 on this video.

Coach Hugh Wyatt's "WILDCAT" package

Coach Hugh Wyatt's "WILDCAT" package

Check out this video of Coach Hugh Wyatt's "WILDCAT" package:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Friday Night Football

Friday Night Football
High School State Champions Taking Advantage of the Single-Wing’s Power, Deception and Misdirection

The latest tend in college football is for teams to put in a old-style Single-Wing package -- Urban Meyers in Florida with Tim Tebow, Rich Rodriguez in West Virginia with Pat White and Steve Slaton and Houston Nutt in Arkansas with Darren McFadden. A resurgence of Pop Warner's old School, snapping directly to your best athlete and pound 'em with power and mesmerize 'em with mis-direction

Well this rebirth started in high schools. The Single Wing Offense is seeing a renaissance under the Friday Night Lights. Don't believe me? Just look to the state of Virginia for the proof. You see, last year (2006), three Single-Wing teams played for 3 different State Titles. There are only 6 different classifications in the state. Two of those single-wing teams emerged as State Champions, Giles and Osborne. Or you can look to the great state of Michigan. Notice Menominee High, they won its second State Title in 7 years using the Single-Wing. Please note, along the way to an undefeated season, Menominee easily defeated the defending State Champions in the largest class in Minnesota. How about Colton High in California --they finished in the USA Today Top 20? Guess what? – They run the Single Wing Offense.

Why are so many high school teams going to the single-wing? Read what coach Tommy Franklin had to say “A good coach look for something different, something the opposing team has to waste valuable practice time trying to prepare for. Something that will give his team an identity, a sense of pride. And the great thing about the Single-Wing, it has help all teams get better. It has helped slower teams complete with the speed of its opponent by allowing them to pound the ball and control the clock. The Single-Wing has helped average teams to finally make it to the play-offs, and turned good teams into Champions.”

Franklin went onto say, “The Single-Wing isn’t a cure all. Winning football has always taken four things: One -- hard work from the coaches and player. Two – Dedication, this includes being dedicated to each other. These means the parents being dedicated to the kids, by standing by them, not undermining them by talking down the team, the coach or other players. The third thing is commitment. Commitment to the system and the team even during the leaning curve, when there will be rough spots. The forth thing, support from the parents, fans and administration. Support during the good times and bad times. Support especially during the start-up or first phases of program”

Sounds like great advice, see you under the Friday Night Lights!

-- Robert Miles – NewsportNewsNights

Video: Single-Wing Package: Tebow Time (2006)

Tebow dominates LSU (2006)

Single Wing Plays
Jump Pass
Power Pass

Quotes & Comments

Quotes & Comments

“The beauty of the single wing is that everyone touches the football and blocks for each other, Everyone has a share in the offense.” -- Coach Phil DeMarco September 17, 2007

In Dr Z's NFL Mailbag column, a reader writting on the rise of the Spread Option in college, with the running quarterback, wonders if this might be on its way to the NFL. Dr Z went on to say -- It's funny, I had a talk with Bill Parcells the other day and he brought up the same thing. Parcells said "It's definitely on the way". Not only that, according to Coach Parcells, "You're seeing things that seem to take in the old single-wing principles."

“Winning Single Wing Football” Review

The review of "Winning Single Wing Football" is written by Ted Seay. Thanks Ted for your contribution!

“Winning Single Wing Football” Review

Winning Single Wing Football is a complete revision of the late Dr. Keuffel's classic 1964 Simplified Single Wing Football (or SSWF, which I will contrast with the newer WSWF). Written an astonishing 40 years later, WSWF starts with the core of the unbalanced-line single wing offense that SSWF first presented, then adds much more. The irony to me is that WSWF is actually far more "simplified" than SSWF. It is as though with 40 additional years of experience to draw on, Dr. Keuffel pared away all but the absolutely essential information.

After a brief introductory chapter that outlines his playing, coaching and teaching careers, Dr. K walks the prospective single wing coach through all the steps needed to get an offense up and running. He does so in a way that reflects credit on his Ph.D. in English from Penn -- simply and logically. I know of no other coach able to impart the basics of setting up a single wing attack in only 10 pages, but Dr. Keuffel managed this in the second chapter of WSWF. He follows with an elegantly simple description of how to teach linemen to be single wing centers. (In the process, Dr. K highlights the necessity for training several centers, but without scaring coaches away. This is a skill that can be taught with sufficient application and attention to detail -- it isn't rocket science.) All other positions receive the same treatment in chapter three.

Next Dr. Keuffel gets to the heart of the single wing offense, the straight series running plays. Coaches who have seen SSWF will notice the first of Dr. K's major simplifications here with the very first play -- Play 48, the straight-series off-tackle play. Where before Dr. Keuffel ran two different variations of this play, one with linemen pulling and leading, and a separate goal-line variation with solid blocking and the blocking back kicking out the EMLOS defender, he now only uses the goal-line version. Time after time in WSWF, Dr. Keuffel extols the benefits of "getting two for one" -- i.e., teaching one thing that you can use in two or more situations. He leaves the door open, however, for others to do things differently. Readers are free to go back to the original pulling scheme for Play 48, or even to adapt the Steve Calande method of pulling the backside guard and tackle, the water boy, and the larger members of the cheer squad through the off-tackle hole.

Chapter 5 lays out the fun stuff, the indirect attack. Dr. Keuffel details the methods behind the FB full and half spin sequences, as well as a complementary TB half-spin cycle. He also strongly urges selectivity in choosing cycles -- more is most definitely not better when choosing which indirect cycles to run, especially given limited practice time. Again, the astonishing thing to me is that Dr. Keuffel is able to impart an entire lecture on indirect-series single wing football in only ten pages.

Next, the section dearest to my wild-eyed heart -- the passing game. Chapter 6 covers the basics of passer development, setting up dropback protection, variations on dropback route packages, teaching the running pass, and then explores the arcana of reverse passes, special passes (a jump pass, a shovel pass, etc.), and fake passes, including the legendary Statue of Liberty play. Again, Dr. Keuffel's interest in simplification leaps off the page with his new versions of the optional running pass (Plays 79 and 99). Where before he released three receivers strongside (WB, TE, and BB), he now adds a strongside blocker and releases either the wing and blocking back (Play 79) or the wing and TE (Play 99). He makes explicit mention of his decision to do so and the reasons which drove his decision, which leaves the way open for coaches to do it the old way -- or even adopt a more modern method. The Andrew Coverdale/Dan Robinson Bunch Attack book and video feature a Flood route package which is perfect for adaptation to the single wing optional running pass. Using such modular methods (including 30-degree, “severe-angle” blocking) allows coaches to continue to modernize and personalize their single wing attack. (Note: The thoughts on Bunch passing and SAB are mine, but I believe they fit perfectly with the methods Dr. Keuffel uses to teach his offense.)

Chapter 7 presents the quick-kicking game, which can be a tactical weapon of great value whether your opponent expects it or not, and which can allow a team to out-think a more talented opponent by forcing him to drive the length of the field if he wants to score. There is a wide array of fake quick-kick plays -- runs, passes, even a screen and a Statue -- and something of even greater potential value, a way to further simplify your entire kicking game. Dr. Keuffel advocates using quick kick protection for punts, field goals and extra points, unbalanced line and all. This could be a real time-saver during pre-season installation, and as with all unusual variations, might cause your opponents to waste valuable practice time preparing for them.

To me, the most important section of the book starts with Chapter 8 and runs through Chapter 10. Here is where Dr. Keuffel's decades of experience truly shine through -- he discusses the smallest details of pre-game strategy and mid-game tactical adjustments. He tells coaches exactly how to use the spotter in the booth, how to break down film, and how to create and use a game plan. It is among the finest discussions of coaching strategy and tactical application during the game that I have ever seen. I would advocate purchasing this book to offensive coaches of all stripes for these three chapters alone. The effective use of variations -- in formation, cadence, alignment, personnel -- pre-season preparations, and focusing on and exploiting defensive weaknesses, are all addressed with Dr. Keuffel's typical economy of expression. This book is pure gold, whether you run single wing or five-wide shotgun spread, because he teaches coaches how to think.

Buy this book -- you'll thank me later.

Editors comments -- To purchase this fantastic book, visit:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Single-Wing College Quotables

Single-Wing College Quotables:

Florida coach Urban Meyer described what Tebow does as:
"…single-wing, like they did many years ago," and maintains that despite the statistical predictability (88 percent) of Tebow running, there is still the threat that he can beat a D via the option or the air -- for example, the 23-yard pass Tebow completed on his first play against Alabama. "There are more weapons than Tim Tebow when he's on the field," Meyer said, "and you better cover them."

Urban Myers October 6, 2006 Sports Illustrated ( )

“It's kind of the old single wing, where they've got a lot of misdirection and direct snap (to McFadden), get the ball in your top player's hands," Hankwitz said. "It's a modern adaptation of it, because they spread you out, more than that (single wing) did, but they still have a lot of the similar elements."

-- University of Wisconsin defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz

Last season alone, Darren McFadden completed 7 of 9 passes for 69 yards and 3 touchdowns out of the Wildcat formation, which helped him become the runner-up for last year's Heisman Trophy.

• When the Razorbacks line up in the Wildcat formation, Arkansas averages 8.7 yards per play. (Source Mic Huber

Watching West Virginia's offense, with QB Pat White lining up in the shotgun and always a threat to run, and with tailback Steve Slaton the only other back in the backfield, it reminds me of the single wing. It helps to have two backs who are as fleet as White and Slaton. White wears No. 5 and Slaton No. 10, so I'm sure I'm not the first sportswriter who's remarked that West Virginia nickels and dimes opponents to death.
-- John Walters November 2, 2006

In 2006, Pat White lead the nation in QB rushing yards per carry – averaging an astonishing 7.3 yards per rush.

VIDEO: Arkansas - 3 Base Run Plays from the Wildcat

Arkansas Offensive Coordinator David Lee breaks down their 3 base running plays from the Wildcat (now called "WlidHog")

Londonderry 31, Salem 14

Londonderry 31, Salem 14

Theodosi runs for 228 yards in leading Lancers to upset win.
By Gary Fitz Telegraph Staff

SALEM – At its best, the Single Wing offense, invented in the early days of football, is a thing of simple, not subtle, beauty. Why risk the exchange between center and quarterback? Why risk a handoff?

Why not snap the ball directly to your best ball carrier about four yards behind the line and let him and his blockers do the rest?

That was the strategy employed by Londonderry High School on Friday night in its stunning 31-14 victory over Division I co-favorite Salem.

On 42 offensive plays the snap went directly to senior halfback Alex Theodosi. The result was 228 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

"It was great,'' Theodosi said. "Our line fired out and stayed low. I had the easy job. They made the holes, all I had to do was find them.''

The tone was set early. Londonderry returned the opening kickoff to its own 34 and Theodosi got the first eight snaps, turning the eighth into a 34-yard touchdown run. It wasn't until the Lancers' 11th offensive play that the ball went to anyone else. With the element of surprise established, Ryan Griffin hit Jim Curro for a 20-yard pass.

Griffin would hit Curro again for 30 yards in what became an 11-play, 83-yard scoring drive. But the last four snaps went to Theodosi, who scored his second touchdown from 2 yards away to make it 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter.

Salem would begin to slow down Theodosi, at least temporarily, and closed to 14-7 at halftime. The Blue Devils would fumble away the second-half kickoff and Theodosi would help set up a 22-yard field goal by Cody Byrd.

But Griffin took a blow to the head early in the second half and was out for the night, narrowing Londonderry's already short list of offensive options. Momentum was shifting. Salem needed just two plays, a 54-yard option pass from Shane McMahon to Kevin Sledge and a 13-yard touchdown run by James Stewart to close to 17-14 late in the third quarter.

Salem had the momentum and stuffed Londonderry on its next two possessions. But then the Lancers' Brandon Jackson delivered the defensive play of the game.

With the Blue Devils at midfield and poised to drive for the go-ahead touchdown with about nine minutes left, he came from the blind side to sack Salem quarterback Hal Landers and jar the ball loose.

Jackson recovered the fumble and Londonderry went back to Theodosi on seven of its next nine plays. On fourth and two from the Salem 6, he took it off left tackle and bounced outside for a 7-yard touchdown that made it 24-14 with 3:35 left. Two minutes later he finished it off with 48-yard sprint down the left sideline.

It was a far cry from Londonderry's performance a week earlier in a 31-7 loss at Manchester West.

"We got pissed off, upset, and we came out to play our best,'' Theodosi said. "I like this offense because we go right at you.''

Londonderry coach Tom Sawyer said the frustration of the loss at West caught up with his team on Wednesday, and Sawyer turned his team loose on each other.

"It was all about attitude,'' Sawyer said. "They knew how bad we played last week and we let them know about it all week. Defensively we didn't execute the game plan.

"We had a big session on Wednesday where we went live at each other for about 15 minutes. When we warmed up tonight we were ready. I didn't know if we could beat them. I think they're the best team in the league.''

© 2006, Telegraph Publishing Company, Nashua, New Hamphiser

Monday, September 17, 2007

Going to cover single wing football tonight – time machine unnecessary

Going to cover single wing football tonight – time machine unnecessary
September 7th, 2007

Pitch the rock to that stout fellow. Yes, good job, sirs!

It’s Friday night, so that means high school football. Even in Virginia, where it’s taken seriously, but not Alabama or Texas seriously. Or even South Carolina seriously. This will be the first time in my life I’ve seen the single wing in action, so that should be interesting. Also interesting is whether the home team, which followed up a big year by getting blown out in its first game, will rebound and make it interesting.

Looking at some video, all I could say was "Where’s the ball? WTF? Touchdown!"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Single-Wing Phenom: The DeAngelo Shuffle

Rookie Becomes Single-Wing Phenom: The DeAngelo Shuffle

The Carolina Panthers had broken the huddle for a critical third-and-1 play during their first drive against Atlanta on Sunday, and there was quarterback Chris Weinke, standing on the sideline, watching.

In his place, waiting for the shotgun snap, was rookie running back DeAngelo Williams.

But the thousands watching in the Georgia Dome were apparently no more surprised than the Falcons, who hadn't seen anything like this in film study. While they were checking their playbooks, Williams took the snap and darted 6 yards around right end for the first down.

On Carolina's next third down, Weinke was on the sideline again, and again Williams got the snap and the first down, gaining 2 when he needed 1. The play was suddenly the game's theme, with the conservative Panthers calling it over and over.

Carolina would use the formation on eight third downs during its 10-3 victory, and convert on seven. The Panthers lined up in that manner 11 times, but two plays were wiped out by penalties, nullifying gains of 6 and 13 yards.

Eight of the nine that counted produced positive yards, 36 total for a 4.0 average. More important than the average, though, were the results. All those first downs helped Carolina control the ball (41 minutes 47 seconds time of possession) and the game.

The play was nothing fancy; Panthers coach John Fox called it 'a two-tight end, almost a single-wing kind of thing.'

It has a name, but since the Panthers actually use the name during games, we won't reveal it here. Hey, call it the DeAngelo Shuffle.

The Falcons were probably calling it something else.

'They caught us off guard with it,' Atlanta defensive tackle Grady Jackson said. 'They came in and wanted to spread us out. They didn't want to run up the middle and wanted to attack us on the edge. They came in with a great game plan.'

Carolina's offensive linemen noticed the effect the maneuver had on the Falcons.

'They looked like they were a little thrown off at first,' guard Evan Mathis said. 'When we subbed out like that, you can't run to the line and just get off the ball right away; they had a little time to adjust because the referee's going to hold the snap a little bit.'

The extra time didn't seem to help much; the last time Carolina ran the play, it gained 13 yards, only to be called back by penalty.

Making it tougher for the Falcons to adjust was the fact Williams had the option to go anywhere, not specifically right or left or up the middle as in a typical running play.

'I run where there's daylight,' he said. 'I do what my coach at Memphis, Tommy West, always told me, `Scratch it where it itch.'

'It's wherever you want to take the ball. It is a designed play; it's a designed play to go anywhere.'

Williams was quick to credit the offensive line in general and fullback Brad Hoover in particular for making the formation work. He said he wasn't nervous, he had often taken direct snaps in college.

'The hardest part of all was getting my feet together,' he said. 'I was making sure that I when I go right or when I go left I didn't give it away by (moving) a certain foot.'

As well as the play worked, one thing Williams never tried was a pass. Asked if such a thing might have been a possibility, left tackle Jordan Gross smiled.

'I think DeAngelo can do anything with that ball, but we didn't have to show it today.'

Let New Orleans have something to think about for next week.

Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved.

So far, so good

So far, so good
Detroit Free Press
August 26, 2007

Okemos accomplished something in Friday's opener that it couldn't do in any of its nine games last season: score 22 points.

After a 2-7 season in which the Chieftains totaled only 70 points, Okemos coach Paul Palmer installed the single wing offense.

The single wing is an offense that snaps the ball directly to a running back and the quarterback is a glorified guard who occasionally catches passes. Menominee, which won the Division 5 state title last year, is one of the few teams in the state to use the single wing.

Palmer spent three days with Menominee coach Ken Hofer in the spring and the Chieftains are 1-0 following their 22-6 victory over Mason.

"That's our deal now," Palmer said of the single wing. "We're another Menominee that doesn't run it half as well as they do, but we're trying."

Okemos totaled 17 first downs against Mason and threw only eight passes, but two were for touchdowns.

"We were able to control the ball on offense," Palmer said. "The toughest thing for us is getting used to the different defensive fronts we're going to face. Menominee has seen them all, but it takes us a little time to figure it out."

Okemos' single wing will be severely tested in the next two weeks when it faces Grand Ledge and Holt.

Contact MICK McCABE at 313-223-4744 or



"What would happen if someone came out with a single-wing offense? It would embarrass the hell out of us." - Vince Lombardi.

Howard Cosell writes in What's Wrong With Sports, 1991, "One thing I have found very interesting in my conversation with (Bill) Walsh is that he regretted he never tried the single-wing formation with the 49ers. He felt that Steve Young could have run the formation to perfection, and that the league's defenses would have had a difficult time stopping the old formation."