The following is a guest post from Fizzy, who played for George Makris in the `1960s.
Adventures in Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda land
RUN PHILLIP RUN
Operating a college spread offense without having your quarterback run the football, is like taking a shower with your golashes on.
Why doesn’t Matt Rhule allow his quarterback to run the football? Doesn’t he see how much it limits his play calling by eliminating the threat of forcing linebackers to hold their pursuit until they see who has the ball? In all the last five winnable games that were lost, if Walker had been a force on the ground, the outcomes may have been different.
This year, Phillip Walker has been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He’s thrown some fantastic passes for long touchdowns. On the other hand, he has thrown too many interceptions, and made un-senior like decisions. The one thing missing, and it’s been missing from his sophomore year on, is he rarely runs the football. Walker is very good at running the football, and it adds so much to the offense.
After the second straight week of watching Temple blow out an opponent, you would think I’d be happy. But keep in mind these were both soft teams. The offense didn’t do well against Army and Penn State, and playing at Memphis Thursday night will certainly be more of a test.
This past week, Coach Rhule employed the “Wildcat” against SMU with freshman Isaiah Wright playing tailback, and it was mostly successful with jet sweeps and tailback keepers. However, the Wildcat is a gimmick. If you take out your quarterback and put in a runner, who are you going to fool? It hasn’t worked well in the NFL, nor in college for that exact reason. The quarterback is the one who should be doing the keepers, roll-outs and bootlegs; that’s what will surprise the defense and energize the offense.
I’ve been advised that Walker has an ongoing shoulder problem on his non-throwing shoulder, which continues to plague him. That puts Rhule in the tenuous position of being damned if he does, and also if he doesn’t. As a former coach, I’ve been in that situation too. But Walker’s been playing and there’s always the possibility he will take a shot on the tender shoulder, anyway. So my suggestion is to allow Walker to run bootlegs, keepers and roll-outs, to the outside only. That way, he can go out of bounds or slide to protect himself. It won’t protect him all the time, but neither does staying in the pocket to throw the ball.
In the past two weeks, I’ve watched Houston’s quarterback Ward, and Louisville’s quarterback Jackson, bring their offenses to life with scintillating runs. We can do the same.
I’m just sayin…
Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub