The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 16, 2008

Spread is a dying breed, Danielson says

IF it's a good spread that Gary Danielson wants, chances are he's looking at a buffet line rather than the football field.

Danielson, in my book, is the premier college football game telecast analyst. He works Southeastern Conference games for CBS -- in other words, the big games. A former Purdue and 12-year NFL quarterback, Danielson isn't afraid to say what he thinks.

He also has a strong family Kanawha Valley connection. His late father-in-law was George King, a basketball playing and coaching legend from Stonewall Jackson High, the Charleston YMCA, Morris Harvey College (2,535 points) and West Virginia University (not to mention Purdue and the NBA).

Since an SEC visitor to these parts has been rare -- Auburn plays at WVU a week from tonight -- a call to Danielson for a primer was in order. He delivered much more than frank analysis on the suddenly struggling Tuberville Tigers.

WVU is in its eighth season running a spread option offense, and Auburn tried it -- with great success in last season's Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson, and then with such ineptness that the Tigers (4-3) are ranked No. 108 in total offense and already have fired offensive coordinator Tony Franklin.

Danielson, 57, also recently made a comment to a newspaper in his native city (Detroit) that should enrage Michigan followers and warm those in these parts who are reveling in the 2-4 start at the Big House by former WVU Coach Rich Rodriguez, who took his spread to Ann Arbor.

"What I said, and it was before the season, was that I think the spread has peaked, like the wishbone did in the mid-70s," Danielson said by phone Tuesday. "I predict that Michigan will be the last of the top major programs running only the spread.

"It's going to go the opposite way, and it's going to go back to the way LSU, Ohio State, USC and Alabama are using it.

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