Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Want history of Dolphins' single-wing? Ask George Taliaferro

New York Times columnist William Rhoden, along with George Taliaferro, gives us a history lesson of the single wing offense. It's that offense, with Ronnie Brown leading the way, that has the Miami Dolphins rising from the NFL ashes. Rhoden writes:
    “That took me back to 1945, 1947, 1948,” Taliaferro said Monday from his home in Bloomington, Ind. When Taliaferro watched highlights of Brown’s performances, he turned to his wife, Viola, and said: “You see what this kid is doing? That was the fear of every defensive coordinator when I was in pro football: ‘You got to watch out for Taliaferro. You got to know where he is.’ ”

    Miami’s two-week winning streak has pulled the glitzy N.F.L. back to its muddy roots, with Brown playing the role of a latter-day Jim Thorpe, Fritz Pollard, Red Grange or Bronko Nagurski.

    The single wing, introduced by Pop Warner around 1906, begins with a shotgun snap to the running back, who can run, hand off or pass behind an unbalanced line that places two tackles side by side. In the version used by the 2-2 Dolphins, a wingback comes in motion for a potential handoff. The quarterback is split out as a possible receiver. “They call it a Wildcat because you cannot purposely defense it,” Taliaferro said.
Taliaferro (photo above) is 81.

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