For an afternoon of faking and pitching and quarterbacks making like Barry Sanders, here are the teams to watch.
Nebraska—The option never went out of style in Lincoln, where Tommie Frazier guided the Huskers to a pair of national titles and Scott Forst bulldozed them to another. This fall the Nebraska option promises to get even more electrifying as first-year coach Frank Solich puts the ball in the hands of Bobby Newcombe, a swift 6'0", 195-pound sophomore quarterback.
Syracuse—The Orangemen have been running the option since 1985, and no Syracuse quarterback has been as versatile or as productive as Donovan McNabb, who is in his fourth year as the starter. It doesn't hurt to have a bruising fullback like Rob Konrad to keep the linebackers honest.
Kansas State—When coach Bill Snyder took over the moribund Wildcats nine years ago, he brought with him a little bit of option. When 6'1", 205-pound junior college transfer Michael Bishop took over at quarterback last fall, that little became a lot. Bishop passed for 1,557 yards, rushed for 566 yards and made blitzing almost impossible for K-State opponents.
LSU—As an assistant coach at Colorado, Gerry DiNardo installed the option that took the Buffaloes and quarterback Darian Hagan to a piece of the 1990 national title. As coach at Vanderbilt, he used the option exclusively to try to level the playing field for the outmanned Commodores. At LSU, quarterback Herb Tyler and tailback Kevin Faulk are the twin threats that DiNardo hopes will give pressure defenses fits.
Notre Dame—Desperate for offense and lacking outside receiving speed, second-year Irish coach Bob Davie put in the option during spring practice. It should be a good fit for senior quarterback Jarious Jackson, who is quicker than his predecessor, Ron Powlus, and not a bad thrower, either. Somewhere former coach Lou Holtz, an option lover, must be smiling.
Oklahoma—Sooners coach John Blake will try to right a wayward program by putting in the offense that made Oklahoma a national power under Barry Switzer. Junior quarterback Brandon Daniels would be more effective if he had a Billy Simms or a Joe Washington awaiting the pitch.
Air Force, Army, Navy—A clockwork option is the trademark of service academy football. Army and Navy have preserved the dignity of the programs by using this offense to mask inferior talent.