So, Ben went on to become an option guru at times and then a Run & Shoot proponent on other occasions.
Years later, Ben and I would study archives of film of the Houston Cougars as well as the Houston Gamblers and the Denver Gold of the USFL (Mouse became their head coach in 1985). Everything crystallized for me, and at that time I had produced the most detailed material on the offense, from a researcher’s perspective.
I couldn’t sleep…
Then one day in January of 1991 an opportunity to interview for the offensive coordinator position of a Run & Shoot team presented itself. Joe Gardi (Head Coach at Hofstra) had employed the offense in his first season and led his team to a 10-0 regular season advancing to the Division III playoffs, where they lost in the semifinals. His offensive coordinator (Rob Spence) departed to join another Run & Shoot staff as a receiver’s coach at Holy Cross where Clyde Christensen was the offensive coordinator.
I had no experience calling plays. I had never installed an offense. But in my youthful exuberance, I thought that outside of the small group of Run & Shoot coaches I understood this offense as well as anyone. I was confident I could pull off getting this OC job at Hofstra.
Through quite a bit of cajoling and a call from Mouse Davis, Joe Gardi was convinced to give me an interview. His only stipulation was that I fly myself to Long Island and if I got the job, he would reimburse my expenses.
With 2-day notice, I spent 1500 dollars on a round-trip ticket to LaGuardia airport for the opportunity to interview at Hofstra. (That was a full month’s salary in those days.)
What happened next, was a breakthrough in my career.
I packed a suitcase and a duffel bag to make the trip from Manhattan, Kansas to New York. From the Little Apple to the Big Apple. My bag contained clothing and the suitcase included 52 video cassettes of cut-ups I had organized from my research. I prepared an outline to present my case to the Hofstra staff – I planned to speak for 10 hours on the offense.
90 minutes into the interview, I became the Offensive Coordinator at Hofstra!
One major challenge existed. Hofstra was making a move from Division III to I-AA without any scholarships, and we were playing six I-AA teams in my first year as OC.
In 1991, we led the nation in passing for all divisions with 405 yards per game on the way to scoring over 42 points per game. The Flying Dutchmen were known for a swarming defense and the Run & Shoot offense. They called it the Swarm & Shoot, and we went 8-2 in our transition year to I-AA. The attack set all kinds of records playing a no-huddle fast break tempo that caught our opponents off guard. A highlight of that season was our game versus Fordham. Our QB, Timmy Lynch went 50 of 64 for 585 yards passing. We won that game, and it was the longest game in college football!
I stayed at Hofstra for two more years experimenting with the offense, even running some triple option from our Run & Shoot formations. Coach Gardi didn’t care for the triple option. He did not want to be labeled an option team – making it difficult for him to head back to the NFL (He had been the Defensive Coordinator of the NY Jets, and I believe he still had aspirations of being a head coach in the NFL).