The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 18, 2012

Snyder turns KSU into college power — twice


MORGANTOWN — o o o o o o

There was only one problem.

No, make that two problems.

The team slid badly under Prince, and Snyder, being somewhat of an obsessive and tense person, could not exist in retirement.

He came back, and here we are again, K-State a dominant force in the Big 12, the only unbeaten left, already owning a victory over Oklahoma.

He goes at it the same way, pressing for perfection to the point that some are critical of the way he goes after it. One who isn’t critical is his quarterback, Collin Klein, who this summer said, “He’s a perfectionist. When did that become such a bad thing?”

o o o o o o

So what is this spread option thing that Snyder runs?

At West Virginia, you ought to be used to it since it’s pretty much the same stuff Rich Rodriguez ran here with Pat White and Steve Slaton.

In fact, Rodriguez and Snyder are closely connected when it comes to the development of this offense that has spread over the years and now is run in some form or another by former Snyder assistant Bob Stoops at Oklahoma and Snyder protégé Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

One might recall that Stoops and Meyer, then at Florida, met in the 2009 national championship game running this same offense, Meyer being responsible for the phenomena that built up around a quarterback named Tim Tebow.

Rodriguez is generally credited with inventing the zone read play out of the shotgun formation, but it is really hazy. Certainly, Rodriguez found a way to take the wishbone and its option principals that included the zone read and combining a passing offense with it.

However, Snyder was developing the zone-read philosophy with his quarterback, Michael Bishop, in the late 1990s and it well could have been that it arrived at the same place quite independently.

Not that it matters how it evolved, but today you see Rodriguez running a form of it in its most modern form along with Meyer, Stoops, Oregon coach Chip Kelly and, of course, Snyder.

Interestingly enough, there were all those years when teams would come into Mountaineer Field and have to solve the spread option as Rodriguez ran it and now the home team has got to find a way to stop Snyder’s version of it in maybe the most important game played at Mountaineer Field since Pitt figured out a solution and beat Rodriguez in 2007.

Email Bob Hertzel at or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

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