Washburn’s form of wildcat formation formidable

Robert Burkett

The saying, “what’s old is new again,” is always heard when talking about the hot offense of the moment and the run-gun offense is no different.

Now, many readers might not realize that they have heard of this offense before. Head coach Craig Schurig and the Washburn football team call the offense the “run-gun” but most football fans commonly know it as the wildcat offense.

The offensive formation is used to create a power running situation in a game while still giving the option to throw. It’s meant to confuse a defense and throw it off balance. The quarterback is usually split wide like a wide receiver leaving the quarterback’s position for a running back. In some cases, the quarterback is taken off the field in favor of an extra blocker.

Either option creates a situation where the offense isn’t delayed by a handoff between the quarterback and the running back. The running back is able to immediately take off with the ball. The addition in some cases of an extra blocker creates further mismatch by pitting a guard or tackle against a smaller defensive back or linebacker and helps to create mismatches in the running game.

“We like to run the set on first downs in the game sometimes to give the defense one more thing on their plate they have to worry about and account for,” said Schurig.

This offensive concept is not a new one however, as teams at the high school, collegiate and even professional level have been using the wildcat since 1905. It was originally called to as the “single-wing” and was the brainchild of the University of Pittsburgh’s Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner, the father of modern football

In the case of Washburn, the inclusion of this somewhat specialized offense started about five years ago when coach Schurig was looking for a way to get Brandon Walker-one of the better athletes to come through the football program-on the field to make an impact in games.

Walker had been recruited as a quarterback and had exceptional speed and Schurig immediately thought of the offense that Kansas State University had been using under Bill Snyder for the past decade and a half prior to then as a way to get Walker on the field.

“Brandon was just such a great athlete that we wanted to do anything we could to get him out there on the field to make an impact,” said Schurig.

This season opportunities have once again presented themselves and the run-gun is back for an encore this season. The main catalyst for implementing the specialized set has been the unique skill set that redshirt freshman running back Vershon Moore brings to the team.

“Vershon is a very good player who played quarterback in high school and we felt his passing abilities and his poise from that experience fit perfectly in the run-gun set,” said Schurig.