Tulane strikes quickly. The Green Wave shocked the Bearcats and the Mustangs with what Tommy has labeled his Indy (as in 500) offense, in which the Green Wave doesn't huddle. "When the referee steps away from the ball," Bowden says, "there's going to be a hike." At least once against Cincinnati, King snapped the ball before the Bearcats were lined up. The pace leaves defenses little chance to make situational substitutions and to change schemes. Against SMU, King was 12 of 17 for 259 yards and one touchdown—in the first quarter.
Like his father and brother, Tommy is a ferocious competitor. When Tommy coached wide receivers at Auburn under Terry, several SEC coaches complained that Tigers wideouts took cheap shots at their players. Houston coach Kim Helton and Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni made similar complaints after playing Tulane last year. Tommy says that he likes the chop block, or cut block, in which a player hits a defender below the knees, and that the Green Wave will continue to use it. "Some people perceive the chop block as dirty," he says. "Our philosophy is to play on the edge. We tell our guys to hit through the whistle. If the guys I've got don't play hard, we'll get killed."
Tommy's success and high-profile name make him a hot prospect to move up the coaching ranks. Arkansas made repeated offers to him last December, but Bowden turned the Hogs down because he likes his situation at Tulane. The late-blooming Tommy doesn't mind that it took him 20 years to become a head coach. "The objective isn't to become the youngest head coach," he says. "It's to become the oldest."
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