Friday, June 26, 2009

Mike Rude: Sharing his secrets

Sharing his secrets
By Scott Mees, The Southern
Thursday, June 25, 2009 11:41 PM CDT
The single-wing offense isn't used much in high school football anymore, but Vienna coach Mike Rude is doing his best to see that it makes a comeback.

Rude began implementing the offense, which doesn't use a quarterback, when he was coaching Johnston City in 2002. The Indians went on to have success using the system, and that prompted Rude to make a series of DVDs for Championship Productions, a company that produces instructional videos for athletes and coaches.

"They had nothing on the single wing," Rude said. "They came from Iowa on a Sunday and we made the DVDs on installing the single-wing offense. They started selling really well and people started calling me."

Rude has spoken at clinics from coast to coast on the topic, and now has many coaches calling him to come to their school and help the coaching staff learn that offense.

Chris Stevens, head coach at New York City's Xavier Catholic High School, watched the DVDs and was intrigued at the possibilities it presented for improving his football team.

Xavier produced a 10-1 record in 2007, which included leading the state of New York in rushing. The team led the state in rushing and scoring in 2008. Stevens began using the single-wing offense in 2006.

"He's an old soul and has wisdom that you only learn through pain," Stevens said of Rude. "To sit and talk to him and listen to his tapes is amazing because everything has been tried and tested."

Rude also recently traveled to El Paso, Texas, and Las Vegas to help teams learn the old-fashioned offense. He credits his former players and coaches at Johnston City with helping him receive these opportunities.

"Those kids made it successful," Rude said. "They bought into an offense with no quarterback and made it work really well."

The single-wing offense, which uses an unbalanced line where all the linemen pull and trap, was basically abandoned in the 20th century in favor of more quarterback-friendly schemes like the spread offense.

"Parents and colleges want you to produce quarterbacks," Rude said. "Most dads want their son in the spread like the colleges run. Most colleges aren't looking for single wing tailbacks. Those are the main reasons that teams went away from it."

Rude believes teams that are smaller and quicker can excel when employing the single-wing, primarily because of the blocking schemes.

"There are very few plays where we ask a player to block a guy one on one," Rude said. "You can play lesser skilled offensive linemen who can run. But if we cannot double team their best player then we better get on the bus and go home."

Stevens and Rude have met in person to talk football several times, and Rude said Stevens has become incredibly skilled at running the offense in a short time.

"I've done well with it, but the great thing about (Rude) is he's started a new team," Stevens said. "When I'm 62 and I still can't wait until August then I'll be a happy man."

Rude and the Vienna Eagles begin their first varsity football season in August.

The Southern
710 N. Illinois Ave.
PO Box 2108
Carbondale, IL 62901


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gators' Single- Wing spread offense catching on in the NFL

By Chris Harry
Sentinel staff writer
June 25, 2009

GAINESVILLE - Urban Meyer took a steno pad from the reporter sitting on his office couch and began scribbling away. With two diagrams, the University of Florida coach explained the concepts behind his base offensive formations: the spread and the single wing.

"I'm kind of giving you everything we do here," he said.

Hardly everything, but a brief lesson cracked open a window into Meyer's fascinating world of X's and O's. It's a place that's become a sought-after destination among his peers these days, but that's no revelation given Meyer's astonishing run of championships since arriving in Gainesville.

Some of the folks requesting offseason audiences, however, might come as a surprise.

"Right now, we've been contacted by a minimum of three NFL teams who want to implement a spread element," Meyer said last month. "They're going to do it."

Meyer, of course, wouldn't say which teams, but the general interest in the Gators' playbook has an ironic rub.

In April, one of the hot story lines heading into the NFL draft was how difficult it's become for pro scouts and personnel types to project players from a college spread scheme — with its wider linemen splits, flanked tight ends, bubble-screens and near-exclusive shotgun alignment — to more conventional NFL sets.

Apparently, one of the ways to make that transition smoother is to spread the spread to the NFL.

"It's already here," said Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, head coach at Boston College the last two seasons. "A lot of teams have it."

Not that many have used it.

Maybe more need to, given what the New England Patriots — be it with maestro Tom Brady or super-sub Matt Cassel — have done with the spread passing game since Bill Belichick began making annual offseason treks to Gainesville (and Meyer to Foxboro, Mass.) the last three years.

And it's probably safe to say more will use it, considering all the Sunday cameos of the so-called "Wildcat" formation — with the same base power off-tackle play Tim Tebow runs so magnificently — made around the league last season, especially with the Miami Dolphins.

"Everyone knows how I feel about Bill Belichick," Meyer said. "How is it that Tom Brady and this guy [Cassel] who never even started a game in college can make it work? Because Bill Belichick adapts. ... And the Miami Dolphins were 0-and-whatever [in '07] and they adapted to what they had. All of a sudden, the running back was taking snaps and they were winning games."

White puts Miami ahead of game
Look for the Dolphins to expand that facet of their offense this season after drafting West Virginia quarterback Pat White, a holy terror in the spread option for the Mountaineers. Tailback Ronnie Brown may have taken the bulk of Wildcat snaps at OTAs and minicamp, while White has struggled. But it's early.

"I think as we get on with this, he'll have some good days," Dolphins Coach Tony Sparano said.

Better than good. Don't be surprised if the Wildcat becomes the "Wild-Pat" once White, who unlike Brown or Ricky Williams brings a legitimate threat to throw the football, gets comfortable back there.

"Now you'd have real double jeopardy," Buccaneers defensive coordinator Jim Bates said.

The Bucs play the Dolphins in 2009. The Patriots, too. It's no coincidence that Bates has several days blocked off in the coming weeks to hole up with his staff and break down the league's latest trend.

Bates is no different than any other defensive coordinator in the NFL. It's no secret that rookies Percy Harvin in Minnesota and Knowshon Moreno in Denver, plus second-year man Felix Jones in Dallas and veteran pro bowler Larry Johnson, have made like Brown during offseason workouts.

Better be ready.

Orlando Sentinel


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Herd's Gibson, Wetzel into Single Wing Hall

Herd's Gibson, Wetzel into Single Wing hall
June 23, 2009 @ 12:00 AM

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame members Don Gibson and Marvin Wetzel are being inducted into the National Single Wing Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Gibson and Wetzel, who is deceased, both coached the single-wing style of football at New Mexico Highlands in Las Vegas, N.M., during the 1950s.

Single-wing football used a formation devised by legendary coach Pop Warner early in the 1900s. The single wing featured a set of four backs (tailback, fullback, quarterback, wingback) and an unbalanced line. A direct snap similar to what is used today in shotgun formations usually went to the tailback or fullback. The quarterback was used mostly as a lead blocker.

The "Wildcat" offense gaining popularity today also uses single-win principles.

Hall of Fame inductions are June 27 during the National Single Wing Symposium in Edwardsville, Ill.

Gibson, captain of the 1946 Marshall team, went to Highlands in 1953 as its head football coach, but he also served as the head basketball coach and athletic director.

He was named as the Frontier Conference football coach of the year in 1960 when his team shared the league title with a 6-2-1 record. He was also the conference basketball coach of the year in 1960 when his team advanced to the NAIA quarterfinals.

Gibson is retired and living in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Wetzel, nicknamed "Bear," played all 11 offensive positions at Marshall. In 1947 he was the nation's third-leading scorer with 108 points. He was offered an NFL contract by the Philadelphia Eagles, but a knee injury ended his playing career.

Gibson hired Wetzel in 1958 as his assistant coach for football and basketball and head track coach.

Wetzel later became head football coach at Trinidad State (Colo.) Junior College.

He retired in Denver where he passed away.