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Monday, November 29, 2010

Requiem for the Huddle

In Knute Rockne’s day and for many years thereafter, the center would position himself out of earshot from the enemy about ten yards behind the football. He would raise his arms and yell huddle up! A receiver or back would run into the huddle with the play from the coach and tell the quarterback. He would repeat the play, give a snap count and number to the center and that was it.

Well, gee not anymore. What has happened to the huddle?

Gone the way of the dinosaur, dodo bird, carrier pigeon and pay telephone?

Well not yet but getting closer.

In college football, more and more Teams are going with the no-huddle, hurry-up, two-minute drill type play-calling.

Why? To allow the QB more time to observe the defense, check-off to another play, not allow the defense to substitute in another defensive package or simply wear down the defensive players?


The actual average college football game has gotten too long time wise. This is due to added commercials by the networks. NBC is one of the worst. Less and less plays are being called and thus less football being played and rooted for. Some shenanigan rules with the game clock are also to blame, but basically more plays needed to be called to liven up the game. The NFL solved this problem with receivers in the QB’s and the defensive team captains helmets. It will only be a matter of time until this happens in college ball as well. Until then we have signal calling from the sidelines utilizing a multitude of systems. One of the neatest is Notre Dame’s.

Brian Kelly employs three to four walk-on quarterbacks wearing distinctive red hats to signal in his plays. The skill players; QB, receivers, and backs digest the signal. The QB yells the play to the linemen or checks-off to something else depending on the defensive scheme. In that case he uses hand and arm signals to the receivers.

The injury to QB Dayne Crist and the untimely insertion of Tommy Rees required another aspect of signaling, a series of symbol signs held up behind the coach. Only ND and God knows what they stand for.

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