By Bob Hertzel
CNHI News Service
Is what has happened to offensive football in college just a passing fancy?
Or has the game somehow been reinvented, redefined and reinvigorated?
Certainly, no one can deny that it has changed. Points are now cheap, 50-point games as plentiful as eggs in a henhouse, and every game has more passes than the most popular singles bar on a Friday night.
Once upon a time it was Mike Leach at Texas Tech, maybe a maverick coach or two somewhere out in the Southwest or West who was flinging the ball around 50 or more times a game, but they were considered rebels.
Today they have become gurus with hundreds of followers. Just last week David Piland of Houston completed 53 of 77 passes for 580 yards and four TDs, and Division III Eureka (Ill.) quarterback Sam Durley passed for 736 yards in a single game, breaking the NCAA record set by Houston’s David Klinger back in those maverick days of 1990 at 716 yards.
Even Rich Rodriguez, recently moved to Arizona and now back to his Glenville State passing days, threw 41 times in upsetting Oklahoma State, which threw the ball 55 times itself.
And what was it that Darrell Royal of Texas said about the forward pass?
“There’s three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad.”
Well, Piland threw those 77 passes without an interception, a signal that maybe times really have changed.
So what does an old football coach think about the new football?
And better yet, College Football Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen, what would your former boss at Michigan, Bo Schembechler, have thought of what’s transpiring today?
Nehlen laughs when the question is put to him that way.
“You know, Bo grew up in a different era,” he said. “He believed No. 1 in defense. He put all his best players, with the exception of his quarterback and his tailback, on defense. Now the best athletes go to quarterback, running back and wide receivers.