The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 10, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: Flashy passing offenses do not always win games

MORGANTOWN — Perhaps it is a generational thing – perhaps two or three generations, considering my age – but I just can’t get used to this newfangled thing they’re using in football called the forward pass.

Oh, I know it’s been around a while, and in the professional game some guys have gotten pretty darn good with it, most of them named Manning or Brady, but for whatever reason I’m stuck in the dark ages where you won with the run.

You know, Darrell Royal down there in Texas saying “there’s three things that can happen when you throw a football and two of them aren’t good” or Woody Hayes winning national championships with an offense he dubbed “three yards and a cloud of dust.”

The best football video ever is Vince Lombardi drawing his famous Green Bay sweep on a chalk board – for those who never used one, that’s sort of a tablet that you write on with this soft, white stick called chalk – saying “you got a seal here and seal here” and it gives you an alley.

And sure enough, that’s just what it did and nobody every intercepted the ball when Paul Hornung or Donny Anderson carried it through that alley that pulling guards Fuzzy Thurston and Jerry Kramer created.

I got to thinking about this the other day after running into a football coach you may remember, named Rich Rodriguez, in a local eating establishment. We had a brief talk, more about our lives than football, but you see Rodriguez and you start craving for some more Pat White and Steve Slaton carrying the ball with Owen Schmitt blocking.

See, what nobody today is figuring out is these offenses that throw the ball all over the lot in college 50 times a game, much like the one WVU now has, are being caught up with.

Oh, they’ll argue that’s true and they’ll tell you that most of their passes are like “long handoffs,” might even try to tell you how they do it with “a seam here and a seam there,” but it just didn’t seem the same to me.

So I said, I wonder if the bowl games that were just completed might show me something along this line about whether your chances of winning are better throwing the football all over the lot of running with it.

I know, Florida State won the national championship and they did it a whole lot by throwing the ball, but you might not want to argue they win that game without a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Right?

In 34 bowl games, the team that rushed for the most yardage won – now sit down, this is going to shock you pass-happy football fans – all but six of them.

That is 28-6, according that old fashion math I was taught on one of those chalk boards and with the only calculator handy being my 10 fingers.

Here’s the breakdown:

• Marshall was outgained 194-138 on the ground by Maryland but won.

• Texas Tech was outgained 287-81 on the ground by Arizona State but won.

• Texas A&M was outgained 234-259 on the ground by Duke but won.

• South Carolina was outgained 293-117 on the ground by Wisconsin and won.

• Michigan State was outgained 162-65 by Stanford and won.

• And Florida State was outgained 232-148 by Auburn and won.

Now I understand you’re going to say that some teams may have thrown to get the lead and then ran the clock out building up their rushing totals while others that didn’t want to throw fell behind and had to change game plans and give up the run.

OK, but it was 28-6.

Run may not equal win but it does a lot of things for a football team that wins games … like controlling the clock, playing tough, forcing teams up to make throwing deep easier when you want to throw deep.

A running team is a team with an attitude and an ethic that just doesn’t exist for teams that want to throw and throw and throw.

Flash is great for selling tickets, but you want to win the football game, go look at Navy, which won a bowl game with 19 passing yards.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads