Skip to comments.Wishbone Magic
Posted on 11/16/2008 1:01:57 PM PST by wendy1946
Jack Mildren died earlier this year and a number of scenes from the Okie 71 season have been available on youtube. Just once in my life have I seen a situation in which an amateur version of a sport outgrew the pro version: the wishbone era of college football.
The contrast with pro-style football is stark; instead of the offense being outnumbered 11-10 on running plays (the quarterback isn't contributing anything but a turkey imitation), if it's done right the DEFENSE is effectively being outnumbered something like 12 or 13 - 11. Note that when Mildren went to throw the ball there was never more than one defender anywhere near the receiver since you simply couldn't have a zone pass defense when you had to have nine or ten guys right up on the line to have any prayer of stopping that ground game.
Youtube OU - Colorado 1971
OU Highlights, Wilkenson era then wishbone era
OU - OSU 71
OU - USC 71
Tide vs Ohio State; Alabama's offense featured a passing game which was built specifically for the wishbone formation.
Tribute to Mildren, "Godfather of the Wishbone"
I miss the dominating defense. You remember, the kind you could count on?
Although the wishbone is fumble-prone, it is an exciting offense to watch.
Again my own preference would be for the Alabama version of it with the integrated passing game. I still believe that if Paul Bryant had ever been allowed to coach a college all star game against a Superbowl winner with either Mildren or Richard Todd as a quarterback, the NFL would likely have been seriously embarrassed.
State had some very interesting football teams while he was there.
Okies had what amounted to a pro defense in 74, eight or nine of the eleven starters were starting in the pros two or three years later. They said that the only team which was able to move the ball against them at all was their own (wishbone) offense in scrimmages.
Again the closest anybody ever came to making any sort of a science out of American football.
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