Thompson, a former defensive tackle at Virginia, remains skeptical about the value of plays over players. "I remember my freshman year, 1977, against Texas," he says, his eyes frozen in a baleful glaze. " Earl Campbell. He had 156 yards, and we lost 68-0.
"And you know what?" he says. "The Longhorns didn't run the single wing."
An Obvious question: If the single wing works so well, why don't more teams use it? Ed Racely, a historian on the single wing from Atherton, Calif., has collected so much single wing memorabilia that he built an extension to his house to display it all. The extension serves as sort of an unofficial single wing museum. So, Racely is asked, why has the formation gone the way of the canvas sneaker? Who killed it off? Paul Brown? Don Coryell?
"FDR," says Racely.
"That's right," he says. "The New Deal. Americans started taking the easy way out. The single wing takes time to learn, and baby boomers are too lazy to do so."
Racely may be the nation's only single wing right-wing conspirator. "It's a shame," he says. "Look at the quarterbacks who would be great single wing tailbacks. Kordell Stewart. Steve McNair. Who was that kid from Nebraska last year? Scott Frost? Tell me, are those guys boring to watch?"
He has something there. An offense this fun should not be put out to pasture. Or should it?
Says Mark Bliss, the coach at Conway Springs High, "The pasture adjacent to ours had a herd of cows. When we did our calisthenics and drills, the cows ignored us. Eating grass, chewing their cud, whatnot. But when we ran our single wing, the cows would make their way over to the fence. If you didn't know better you thought the cows loved the single wing. Cows! Can you beat that?"
Update: Through four games this season, Parkview High is undefeated and averaging 39 points a game. Says Thompson, "We didn't have to punt until our fourth game."