Say adios to the Auburn wishbone. This winter, coach Pat Dye decided that in recent years the 'bone had not put enough points on the board when the Tigers needed them most. Besides, he didn't have an outstanding option quarterback, but he did have one of the best running backs in America, senior Bo Jackson.
So Dye dumped the bland old 'bone for a souped-up I. He took bits from Nebraska and pieces from SMU, a little run and shoot from the Denver Gold of the USFL, some wing T misdirection from Delaware and the H-back—that go-anywhere, do-anything tight end—from the Washington Redskins. "It's been a fun change," says Dye, who's not sure what to call the offense. The Dye I, maybe? Better yet, how about the I of the Tiger?
The eye of the tiger, after all, was what Auburn, picked No. 1 in a few '84 preseason polls, lacked throughout much of its disappointing 9-4 season. "We thought, We're Auburn. We can just show up and win," says halfback Kyle Collins.
Dye says he has solved one of the problems. Last year he was so rich in offensive linemen that he played two separate units. "A bad mistake," he says. "A guy knows he's going to play, so he waddles through practice. It sets a tone for complacency." This time Dye made it known he was looking for five fighters, and now, he says, his linemen "have got that hungry look back in their eyes." He has plenty of good ones to pick from, too. Two to watch are 6'3", 279-pound guard Steve (Moonpie) Wilson and 6'6", 258-pound tackle Steve Wallace.
Still, the key is Jackson. Last season, when he separated his right shoulder in the second game, he missed six weeks and returned to gain 366 yards on 71 carries in five games. In Dye's new formation, Jackson will be getting the ball more than he ever did running out of the wishbone. "On every play the defense is going to line up and say, 'Let's stop this——,' and I like that," says Jackson.
Backing up Jackson will be Brent Fullwood, who led the Tigers in rushing in '84 (628 yards) and the SEC in kickoff returns (509 yards). The fullbacks are Tommie Agee and Reggie Ware—637 yards between them last fall—and the top receiver is Freddy Weygand, a sophomore who averaged a conference-high 24.9 yards on 32 catches.
Defensively, the Tigers lost five first-teamers, but they have their usual exceptional group of linemen, including tackles Gerald Williams and Nate Hill, All-SEC noseman Harold Hallman and end Gerald Robinson. They combined for 360 tackles last year. The schedule is dandy, with seven home games. Also, instead of opening on the road with Miami and Texas, Auburn begins at home against Southwestern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. From there it's simply a matter of how far the I of the Tiger wants to go.