OT - SI Homage to Don Coryell - The Game Changer - Play Nomenclature - One Thing

Submitted by Sextus Empiricus on July 10th, 2010 at 3:56 AM

Just got the July 12 SI in the mailbox.  Tim Layden excerpts some of his upcoming book Blood Sweat and Chalk as an SI Obit for Don Coryell.  It's a good read. 

Layden attributes the visual (as opposed to random naming) play nomenclature to Coryell.  A play call like 'I Right Omaha' becomes 'R 428 H Stop' - where each number is a distinct route for the respective X-Y and Z receiver.  This system is in wide use today due in large part to Coryell.  I'm not sure of the scheme Michigan is using - but one of the big plusses Coryell stressed with this system was the relative ease in which a player could learn the 10 or so routes and run the offense. 

This made me wonder about the Michigan playbook.  Every season there is at least one article about what percentage of the book is in play at any time.  Mostly this is due to the inexperience and unimaginative play calling at times (Question: How many times can DR run the QB keeper? - Answer: As many as it takes before the Hawkeyes actually stop him.)  I've never heard RR or any player call a play by name.  I wonder how complicated the playbook itself is.  Given the learning curve - I'd say pretty complicated.

The article doesn't mention the 82 overtime playoff game between the Chargers and the Dolphins.  All time best game I have ever (ever) seen.  Never will there be a TE as dominant in a game as Kellen Winslow was in that one. Thank you Don Coryell for showing us what a TE can be.

There is not much to crossover with Michigan scheme wise anymore I guess...but this is a good article.  Check it out.  (DreadlocksFast was able to find the link.)

One last little tidbit - Joe Gibbs says in this article "No matter what you have in football you need something you can do really well and run it over and over again."  For Mich 2007 that was run Hart behind Long.  For Mich 2010 its Denard running zone read (IMO). 

I know TL;DR...




July 10th, 2010 at 9:27 AM ^

matches up pretty well with some of Bo's thoughts....

To sum it up - in my interpretation - it does not matter if they know what you are doing if you can do it well and beat them at it.



July 10th, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

Even though lack of recognition doesn't necessarily apply to Coryell, being an ex-NFL head coach, many of the coaches who drastically changed the game aren't even known, but so many of the coaches who adopted their schemes became household names.

One example is Mouse Davis who is fairly prominent for many of us baby boomers, but many of the younger fans have no way of knowing his 'Run and Shoot' is more than likely the precursor to today's spread. I'm certain his ability to put up so many points at Portland St., is probably the  reason the only NFL player I'm sure of that graduated  from there is his ex-qb, Neil Lomax.

Yoeman's veer offense at University of Houston was copied by many and dominated the offenses of the 70s with some variation by coaches like Switzer that went with three backs and called it the bone.  These people aren't at the level of Yost, Rockne, Stagg, et. al., that were similar to corporation builders with their vision of what cfb could be, but they certainly are responsible for many of today's tactics, schemes, etc.. 

Coryell certainly put his stamp on the NFL, and as you stated, his utilization of the TE made it virtually a new position demanding a far faster, more athletic athlete.  Good post.

NOLA Wolverine

July 10th, 2010 at 10:55 AM ^

The playbook isn't complicated at all (You can find old RR playbooks), they could pound through it in a week, and understand all of the terminology too if they wanted to do a cram session (I'm sure it's closer to a month, because, most of those kids don't participate in cramming sessions). Like everything else in football, the academic side is simple, it's getting the execution down. When they say percentage installed, that's the amount of plays they can execute correctly (Atleast you would hope). That's where the 'learning curve' is.

Zone Left

July 10th, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

I agree it's not the complexity of the playbook, but the reads are extremely difficult.  I remember reading an article on Pat White, and by Rodriguez's last season at West Virginia he had up to four choices per play.  By four choices, I mean had could either hand off or run on a zone read, thrown the quick swing pass, or throw a fly.  Basically, he could run three totally different plays each play based on in-play reads.

Robinson couldn't do that last year.  He could do one thing (run) well, one thing average (hand off), and one thing poorly (pass).  He had one choice based on the play call.  To me, the excitement from the spring game was that he could actually make reads.  To me, the excitement about his passing game was secondary, but still awesome.


August 13th, 2010 at 4:49 PM ^

I just started reading the book, and they have a mention of Jeremy Gallon and his HS Apopka running the single wing.  So far it is a pretty cool read, but again, I just started it.