Sunday, May 3, 2009

A single-wing future

       It was noted in the obituary of Bill Barnes, the old UCLA football coach who died a couple of weeks ago, that he employed the single-wing offense in the late 1950s and early '60s when most college programs were switching over to a more pro-style offense, including Coach John McKay, who was installing the I formation at USC.
       But Barnes had the quarterback for the single wing in Bill Kilmer.  Kilmer had the perfect body of a quarterback who could run and pass. In his senior year, Kilmer ran for 800 yards and passed for 1,000 for the Bruins. He finished fifth in the Heismann Trophy voting. UCLA played in the Rose Bowl against Minnesota, and later Kilmer went on to have an All-Pro career with the Washington Redskins.
        The single wing has crept back onto the college football landscape. Last season, Tim Tebow of Florida, who is a modern version of  Kilmer, led the Gators to the national championship with his passing, and running. Tebow will be a solid pro with the right NFL team, in the tradition of Kilmer.
        Now comes Aaron Corp of USC, who can run as well as he passes, and this additive should give the Trojans a bonus on offense. Corp showed off his running skills in a recent spring scrimmage at the Coliseum. Having a quarterback that can run will especially help USC win on the road in stadiums where they have struggled in the past, such as at Cal, Oregon and Oregon State.

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