Time has passed, much time. And we have learned so much. Exactly what have we learned?
This fancy, newfangled Run & Shoot thing actually works.
Dec. 8, 1906
“Football leaders gathered in New York and voted to legalize the forward pass. The decision was in response to an uprising led by none other than President Roosevelt himself, who believed that the brutally violent game needed to change or be abolished all togther.”
—Big Game USA / 1906 Football Newsreel
Note: In 1905, 18 players were killed and 159 more injured on the football field.
“Praise the forward pass and all its possible goodly ramifications for the years to come. But be assured, brethren, that this slightly heathenous and traitorous creation that is akin to Darwinism is in no way as sturdy and rock-solid as our smash-your-head, manly football of the trenches. What will we teach our offspring? That this twinkletoes approach to success is true manhood? Or that three things happen when the pigskin is spiraled afar, and two of them are dangerous failures? Give me, and our steadfast believers in gravitational force, full-frontal attack, hand-to-hand combat in those trenches over this passing fad. It shall not last.”
—Coach Pewpew Stainsocks, who also believed the earth was flat, Columbus discovered America and that the soon-to-be-manufactured Model T automobile (1908) was an abomination against nature,
The 2016 Kapolei Hurricanes offense did its most awesome impression of the ’07 University of Hawaii juggernaut on Saturday night on the turf at Aloha Stadium. A 33-21 upset victory over No. 3-ranked Punahou in the quarterfinal round of the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Open Division state tournament established one basic fact: Repetition plus talent matters. Kapolei’s version of the four-wide passing offense has much in common with the ’07 Warriors of UH, naturally enough, because of one guru who couldn’t stop teaching either team, even in a retirement of sorts: June Jones.
You can trace the tree branches back to the trunk and the roots, from roughly half the teams in the OIA and ILH today — some which have operated the four-wide passing game for decades (Nelson Maeda at Castle, Wendell Say at Aiea) back to Ron Lee at Kaiser. The Cougars won the Oahu Prep Bowl in 1979 with some college-level talent and Lee’s garden of route trees, much the same that he employs 37 years later at Saint Louis.
Trace that back and you’ll find Jones, who got his first taste of the four-wide after transferring as far as he could from the “Hula T’ at the University of Hawaii to small-college Portland State, where mastermind Mouse Davis had incorporated many of the finest, purest elements of this public laboratory. The mechanics of spread formations had been around way back to the 1950s, but Davis was able to neutralize and confine one magical compoound, then saw it grow within itself to create something that had its share of doubters. Outside the confines, it was sometimes mocked, even, more so by those at the college and professional ranks.
Now every NFL team runs a version of the “Run and Shoot”. And what first-year offensive coordinator Jones — former coach and four-wide guru of the Houston Gamblers, Atlanta Falcons, Ottawa Rough Riders, Denver Gold and U. of Hawaii — does today in his retirement is much the same. He teaches so effectively that high school boys run the nuclear-age version of what started to look feasible more than a half-century ago.
The comparison of UH ’07 and Kapolei ’16 isn’t one that measures the talent levels, of course. The high schoolers are exactly that. But they get the details, and the notion that teenaged kids work this hard, focus thie much and blend their skills and efforts together as an aerial corporation is always impressive. Mind blowing, really.
Our resident Mad Librarian and charter member of the Nerdpod alliance, Jerry Campany, delved into the parallels of Jones’ ’07 and ’16 offenses.
2007 Hawaii, 64/36 run pass split
2016 Kapolei, 57/42 run/pass split
Take out QB rushes, though, and UH is 76-24 and Kapolei is 62-38
But UH was way more balanced in receptions:
Davone Bess. 108 catches, 23 percent
Ryan Grice-Mullens, 106 receptions, 23 percent
Jason Rivers 92, 20 percent
C.J. Hawthorne, 61, 13 percent
Jaymin Sarono, 101 catches, 34 percent
Wyatt Perez, 59, 20 percent
Isaiah Ahana, 39, 13 percent
Kaeo Alvarez-Ranan 32, 11 percent
You know Taulia and Sarono probably played catch in a park in 2007 saying ‘I’m Colt! I’m Bess!’ before the Sugar Bowl.
Well, it came true this year.
Colt Brennan 70.4 completion, Taulia Tagovailoa 61
Colt 8.5 y/a, taulia 7.7
Colt .074 td, Taulia .086
Colt .033 int, Taulia .012
That ’07 team was 12-0 before facing the Godzilla of all great foes: Georgia. This Kapolei team has its Georgia as well in Friday’s semifinal matchup: No. 1 Kahuku. This is one parallel the Hurricanes hope to avoid. The ’07 Warriors lost to Georgia. The ’16 Hurricanes? The next chapter remains unwritten.