- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"With today's rules, deep dropbacks and shotgun formations, it's almost impossible to get to the quarterback"—Purdue's Jim Young.
"The defense only has 11 guys out there. No one is going to stop our passing game with 11 guys"—Portland State's Darrel (Mouse) Davis.
"For years coaches believed that college quarterbacks weren't around long enough to learn the reading of defenses and audibilizing. All of a sudden we discovered that they can"—Pitt Offensive Coordinator Wally English.
"A team that can't dominate from down one to down 130 has to throw sometime. And isn't it wise to do so when you want to, instead of when you have to?"—Florida's Charley Pell.
"Out here in the WAC, you have to score quickly. The only way to do it is to put the ball in the air"—Utah's Wayne Howard.
"When I was offensive coordinator at Stanford, we were continually being beaten by USC. To make up for our lack of talent, we had to throw the ball. That way you have less of a physical mismatch"—Illinois' Mike White.
"I don't for a moment think it relates to the Rose Bowl"—Big Ten Commissioner Wayne Duke, reacting perhaps to his conference's having lost 10 of the last 11 Rose Bowls, generally to Pac-10 teams that passed much more effectively than did the Big Ten champs.
Still, the overriding opinion among the polled coaches was that defenses have finally and completely learned how to stymie the offenses of the 1970s, particularly those employing triple options. As an old TCU coach named Abe Martin used to say, "Football ain't nothing but offenses cooking something up and defenses chasing 'em and catching 'em." It still is. "It's not revolutionary but evolutionary," Portland State's Davis says. "It boils down to which side has the chalk last."
Right now the chalk is in the hands of offense, and it's drawing up still more passing plays involving even more sophisticated routes. "Every time you see a coverage you can come up with a pattern to beat it," says TCU Coach F.A. Dry. "In the near future, you'll see deeper breaks—20 to 22 yards out instead of the 12- and 14-yarders you see now." Most of his colleagues agree. "No question. Offenses now have the upper hand," Teaff says. "You'll see more scoring, and more defenses having a tougher time of it."