- Chip Kelly
This made me start thinking about the people who I was lucky enough to learn from, and where different components of what I consider as "my" offensive system evolved from:
- I learned John Mackovic's system as a college player. His system had its roots in Tom Landry's offense, as he was an assistant for him. The system contained everything, including KEY screens that are so much a part of today's spread environment. Also, as the Cowboys and 49ers dominated the NFC in the early and mid-90s, influxes of those passing games trickled into our own, using NFL film as a teaching tool. Multiple shifts, motions, and personnel groupings were a focal point of the attack. Cleve Bryant, my position coach, fostered my thirst for knowledge as he let me handle our passing game quality control. Gene Dahlquist (OC/QBs) was an excellent teacher of passing mechanics and the progression-based passing game.
- My first boss, Kurt Nichols, taught me how to be in a single-back, 3-receiver environment on an every-down basis. I learned the constraints of the zone running game from a spread out environment. At the same stop, a former GA for John Jenkins, Wes Cope, taught me the inner workings of the Run & Shoot passing game.
- My second post reconnected me with a former assistant at Texas, Jack Kiser. I will forever be endebted to Jack for feeding my thirst for knowledge; while there, he flew in both Norm Chow and the late great Mike Heimerdinger for clinic sessions. For any young passing-minded coach, these sessions were a dream come true -- I learned the BYU system verbatim, and 'Dinger's take on the staples of the West Coast Offense, and its evolution to one-back sets. Coach Kiser let me install the passing game, and this experience proved invaluable.
- Along the way, Bill Mountjoy served as a constant resource. As I was trying to mold the axioms I beleived in into a system, much of the focus was on Joe Gibbs' offenses in Washington. This would not have been possible without Bill. Bill also introduces me to John McGregor, a longtime Henning assistant. No matter how crazy the idea, I could be assured of constructive feedback. Also, John helped use his connections to get all-access exposure to Mike Martz's Rams in their heyday, as well as Bruce Arians' translation of the Colts vaunted system. To this day, the exchange of ideas is constant.
- At the age of 25, Phil Wickwar gave me total autonomy of an offense, as did Tommy Felty in my next job at 27. Our teams were a laboratory of sorts, and both these coaches gave me the authority to experiment as I saw fit. For example, our athletic dropback passer Billy Malone had two 80 yard runs on the zone read in 2000. It was during these stops where the vertical reads of the run and shoot were streamlined and rhythm became more defined to fit with the rest of our progression- based passing attack. The numbers advantage principle came to fruition in our "3" pattern - our version of the Run and Shoot CHOICE route. Moreover, an extended no huddle attack was used for the first time.
- While at North Lamar, I corresponded with the late great Homer Smith. Always willing to answer questions and send me drill tapes, I will be forever grateful. He taught me the most in terms of using backside receivers and thus attacking with all 5 receivers on every play.
- Though several years removed from college, my connections with my Alma Mater were still paying dividends. My friend and teammate, Todd Ford, began working for another Longhorn -- Todd Dodge. Coach Dodge's system and QB/WR methods are legendary in Texas, and being an annual coach at his camps exposed me to some tremendous knowledge. For example, I got to meet (among several others) Clayton George, who elevated the way I taught receivers. Also in this time, Greg Davis' openess to share his insight is evident in looking at my offenses. A former teammate of mine (former Texas QB and current MD Richard Walton) called Coach Davis the best teacher he has ever had. The UT record books reflect this as well.
- At Lenoir-Ryhne, I met John Patterson, who encouraged my constant evolution in the passing game, and tirelessly searched for ways to protect for all the routes I was diagramming. In 2002, we boasted the league's leading passer and school record holder, Brett Meunier. It was during this stop when we began combining 3 step patterns with backside outlets that came open with 5 step timing -- blending some Run and Shoot ideas with Homer Smith's. Also, during the 2003 season, JP and I began developed a highly evolved read system to take advantage of our running QB, Scott Branton. In 3 seasons, three different QBs (Kurtis Koester was the third) posted top 10 passing seasons in the school's record books.
- Also prior to the 2002 season, Steve Kragthorpe let me come up and sit in on meetings with the Bills. Drew Bledsoe had just been acquired, and on his way to a Pro Bowl season in Kevin Gilbride's newly installed system. Many of the Run and Shoot patterns were obvioulsy familiar; I did discover some protection adjustments that would pay dividends in the future, as well as the principle of always throwing away from the MLB as a means for throwing levels-type patterns this would go on to become our Mike tags in the first book and RAM principle in the second.
Anyone who had followed the evolution of my passing system can see that the X's and O's didn't change from the first book to the next; the organization is the driver of change. Much of the language is my own, although the idea of numbering receivers on a side comes from Marty McClintock, who was the head coach at Borger High School in Borger, TX. My parents had moved to Borger during my college years, and Coach Mac was always accomodating enough to talk ball with me back then. Of course, none of this would have happened without my high school coach, Allen Wilson. He's the man who taught me how to win, how to have faith in the face of adversity, and how this game can influence the lives of many. None of the previous would have been possible without Coach Wilson.