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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Past is prologue: Alabama running the flexbone?

Check out the highlights of the 1980 Sugar Bowl (between Bryant's Crimson Tide and Lou Holtz's Arkansas Razorbacks) for some great wishbone stuff, but, as reader Ben Smith points out, they show a decidedly "flexbone" look at the 3:16 mark.


Anonymous said...

I think some of the credit there has to go to guys like Ken Hatfield and Emory Bellard, who were among the first to experiment with flexing the wishbone halfbacks to the wing positions; Bryant had coached against Bellard when he was at Mississippi State (I'm not sure if Alabama played one of Hatfield's teams before then or not.). You see a lot of this from Nebraska during the "Triplets" era too. They used it a great deal in the 1983 game against Oklahoma, albeit mostly for the purposes of running counters and sweeps (pseudo-wing-T type stuff) and not the triple option. One of their favourite plays was a wing counter that resembled the counter you see out of orthodox run and shoot teams (in your first article in the run and shoot series, you embedded a video of Portland State, and they ran the play many times). Those early uses of the double-slot formation are a neat way to get some perspective as to how the modern flexbone evolved into its present usage.

Chris said...

Anon, great insight, thanks for sharing that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the props Chris! It just goes to show that nothing is ever truly new.

Ben Smith

Farsider said...

Great observation. The only thing a little different was that the Tide was strong right with a TE in that formation, but everything else was nearly identical.

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