PS FAMILY TREE – Part 1 – Introduction

Posted: November 22, 2012 in PS HISTORY

This begins a series of articles that may reach a high number before I’m done. The ultimate goal is a complete Coaching/Scheme Tree from the days of Ivy League, Rugby Style Football in the 19th Century to the Spread offenses of today to the Power Spread of the future.

Thanksgiving seems as appropriate a time as any to introduce my long time fascination of how this game got to where it is today and all the Coaching connections along the way. It’s very familial with so many coaches intermingling or working with other coaches, sharing ideas, imitating and innovating from the previous concepts of the past.

The famed Bear Bryant once said, I’m no innovator. If anything I’m a stealer, or borrower. I’ve stolen or borrowed from more people than you can shake a stick at.”  Coach Tressel used to talk about it all the time – even hinting at the Shot Ginn scheme as a copy off of what Mack Brown was doing with Vince Young after the two became friends in 2005. Of course Brown’s OC, Greg Davis got his idea directly from RRod. So Family Tree is definitely the appropriate Theme for a historical look at the Evolution of Football and the Coaches that made it happen.

This series won’t necessarily be in chronological or logical order. What it WILL be is bits and pieces of the larger picture that I will eventually organize into a complete and organized whole. In the meantime, the “pieces” can be used as a tool that provides the background to many of the ideas used today. Starting with the UME or Urban Meyer Experience that I am presently following.

Most of the schematics will be dealing with Offense for now. Defense is no less important, but it is the “reaction” part of the game. In other words, by the nature of the Game, Offense is the proactive initiator and Defense the reactive stopper. Any schemes on Defense are in direct relation to the schemes the offense runs. So, imo, the analysis of Defensive Schemes can be and should be analyzed the way in which they play out on he field – after the scheme on offense is presented.

Also, we have Special Teams – the third phase that makes up the Game on the playing field. One of the first innovative schemes in the Game actually dealt with the Kickoff – The Flying Wedge. The coaching and schemes associated with this phase are also very important and our the last real bridge to the Soccer roots of the original game of FOOTball. These are the Kicking Teams. But once they start the game, they become involved only after the fight between offense and defense is played out. Therefore, regardless of their tradition in the Game and “last lnk” to the past, I must look at these after the other two. But again, there will be no planned order to these snippets of information and I may be throwing in some Special Team Historical development as it relates to the present evolution of the game.

If you think about it – the names given to each phase of the game have a real military idea associated with it and are very simple and straight forward. The whole game starts with some sort of initiation involving a “ball”. There is then an offensive  – attack. This is followed by a defensive – or denial of the attack. Since the earliest forms of GAME, there is always some sort of beginning and end. If you click on the pic above you will see an early form of “initiation” using a makeshift ball. Basically someone throws the “ball” down into a ravenous crowd who take it from there! And there you have your roots of a Ball Game.

The original game of Football, or Soccer as the USA calls it, mainly uses feet in the skill of kicking as a way to attack and defend. Rugby later added the ancient element of carrying the ball as a means of attack. Finally American Football gradually moved away from kicking and stayed mostly with the ball protected by the player and moved in that manner. As more rules are implemented there develops other stoppages of play and transitional elements, where the original use of the ball is still seen in Kickoffs, Field Goals, Extra Points and Punting. But all basic schemes come out of Initiation, Attack, and Defense.These are the schemes we will be looking at in relation to the coaches that created them.

Finally, as Power Spread encompasses more than just what happens on the field and is always about the full potential of Energy in the form of people and life, there will surely be segments that veer from the field – sometimes very far from the field. We all have the negative example recently of what happened at Penn State, but on a day of Thanks in the United States, I will leave you with this snippet on the first african american to play football in the Southwest thanks to the efforts of Hayden Fry.

I found this article while trying to link together Hayden’s denial of the passing offense that already existed at SMU in the early 60s and his later evolution to his passing schemes which initiated the Big 10 to the possibilites of an Air Attack. The recruit of this speedy WR, besides the huge implications of breaking down the Race Barrier, also may have changed Fry’s philosophy on Pass Offense and later influenced football in the Big 10 and effectively all of College Football.

Happy Thanksgiving to All.


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