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But it was Bud Wilkinson, who worked under Faurot a year at Iowa Pre-Flight, who has compiled the greatest record with the Split-T.
"We play the Split-T," he explained, "because we think we can teach it more effectively than any other offense in the short period of practice time allowed us; and the fluid pattern of the play enables our individual linemen to move at will laterally.
"That's the reason we play the Split-T, not because I think it's a vastly superior method of advancing the ball. If it were that much better, everybody would use it and teams that didn't use it wouldn't win. Last year, UCLA playing single wing was the best team on the Pacific Coast."
A LITERARY COACH
Wilkinson began to thumb through papers on his desk. Finally he found a clipping from the UCLA alumni magazine containing a statement by UCLA Coach Red Sanders, listing his reasons why he didn't think his 1955 team might be as successful as last year's. Sanders cited the loss of seven valuable players, unsatisfactory spring training due to injuries and absences, and a more arduous fall schedule.
"This is the part I like best," Wilkinson said happily, as though he had found an accomplice in his close friend. Reading aloud, he quoted Sanders: " 'In view of the foregoing facts and reasons, it is, therefore, difficult for me to figure how anyone in possession of all his mental faculties could possibly expect us to approach last year's record or quality of performance. To become enthusiastic now over our chances would indeed be unreasonable and might tend to sow the seeds of discord.'
" '...might tend to sow the seeds of discord,' " Wilkinson repeated, relishing everything it implied. "He means among his opponents, and I can't think of a better policy than staying on good terms with teams you'll play."
A peace-loving man, Wilkinson prefers to concern himself solely with intercollegiate athletics and not get involved in internecine warfare. However, there's talk that if Minneapolis-born Charles Burnham (Bud) Wilkinson were to run for political office in Oklahoma, he'd win by a landslide. His winning teams have been a tonic to the state, and the rabid rooters have been equally therapeutic for the gate receipts. Norman, the university site, has a population of 27,000; but 25,647 seats were added to the school stadium in 1949, two years after Wilkinson started winning. In 1954, an average of 51,645 fans attended the four home games. But Wilkinson is politically unambitious, and thus far has been content with his $15,000-a-year post. He has turned down better offers, both in football and in business.
"People think I've been given some oil wells and that's why I stay here," Wilkinson said, as he broiled steaks in the backyard of his comfortable, air-conditioned ranch house. "That's not true. I like it here. Competitive athletics are an integral part of the life of this area, and our president, Dr. George L. Cross, is a staunch supporter of intercollegiate athletics. He doesn't just tolerate them as many educational institutions do."
Mrs. Wilkinson, Mary, a tall, slender, striking brunette, nodded agreement. A closely knit family that includes Jay, his brother Pat, 15, and Ginger, a mongrel purchased for the princely sum of $2.00, the Wilkinsons like their life in Norman.