Cooley, 45, is head coach at Mississippi Valley State University, a little school with an enormous passing attack. In the last two years, his Delta Devils - assembled with a recruiting budget of $3,500 a year - won 17 of 21 games, averaging 51 points a game.
They did it with no huddle.
They did it with 55 passes a game.
They did it with something called the Satellite Express, an imaginative, freaky offense designed by Cooley and named presumably for quarterback Willie "The Satellite" Totten, a senior who has replaced Neil Lomax as the most devastating college football passer ever.
Using Cooley's Satellite Express, Mississippi Valley State has broken virtually every NCAA Division I-AA passing record.
Willie "The Satellite" Totten was the triggerman, but on the receiving end of his passes, roughly 300 of them, was Jerry Rice. Yeah, 49ers-Hall-of-Fame-Dancing-with-the-Stars Jerry Rice. And Rice's incredible talent led Cooley to the most natural evolution of his five-wide attack: put four guys to one side of the field, and put Jerry Rice -- nicknamed "World" because there "wasn't a pass in the world he couldn't catch" -- to the other.
Totten would signal a route to Rice backside (much like the run and shoot "choice" concept) and then the four receivers to the other side would run some dizzying array of combinations, usually with at least one guy in a sort of "trail" position who could catch a dump-off if the defense retreated.
By doing this Cooley was able to put the defense in an impossible bind: no one in D I-AA could cover Rice (in his college career he set then NCAA records in catches, with 301, yards, with 4,693, and touchdowns, with 50), but if the defense double- or triple-teamed him then they gave up numbers and leverage to the four receiver side.
As you can imagine, footage of Mississippi Valley State is, well, scarce. So I was delighted to stumble on this old gamefilm (apparently filmed on some kind of pre-Victorian camera).
In the clip, notice how many guys Louisiana Tech lines up on Rice: always two, sometimes even three. But if you wait until near the end of the clip, around the 4:30 mark, the defense finally singles him up. Totten then calls Rice's number and throws him a fade for an inevitable touchdown. Time for the defense to rethink things.