In the first half of the season the top college teams got off about 40% more offensive plays than the leading pro teams. Notre Dame averaged 93 plays a game; Yale, 89; Ohio State, 87; Georgia, 85. USC, with its ground attack, andTennessee, with its consciousness about field position, still averaged 78 each. This compared with Los Angeles at 65 plays a game; Dallas, 63; Baltimore, 60 and Green Bay, 57.
"We are now getting plays off every 12 or 13 seconds," says Ohio State's Woody Hayes. "We are moving so fast I frequently can't get a play in from the sidelines. We'll hit 100 plays a game soon." This, coming from one of football's bastions of the conservative, makes it plain that something big has happened.
By comparison, this year Texas Tech averaged 90.3 plays per game, the highest in FBS.
And in 1968, it was option offense that was seen as the culprit for the high-octane, high-scoring offenses:
"The hammer that has broken things down is the option play," says Frank Broyles of Arkansas. "If we just spread people out and let the quarterback drop back and throw like the pros, you could play a consistent defense. But now you've got teams with two split receivers, with runners, and with quarterbacks who can run the option as well as throw. This simply generates more offense than any defense can handle."
The tackle is in trouble because of the biggest vogue in college football—"Homer's Triple," as some call it, or the "Houston Veer," as others refer to it. It is a quarterback option play first devised by Cincinnati Coach Homer Rice, then expanded upon by Houston Coach Bill Yeoman. If you run it Homer's way, the tackle gets optioned instead of blocked. You make that hulking soul worry about three things: a give to the runner, a keep by the quarterback or a pitchout. If you run it Houston's way, both the tackle and the end are optioned instead of blocked. Perhaps it should be called Somebody's Quadruple, because the quarterback can also pass as he goes veering down the line.
There truly is nothing new under the sun.