A College Fooball Shift

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid (left) talks with quarterback Michael Vick during NFL football practice. AP photo

Watching the Oregon Ducks and their high-powered, fast-paced offense, you have to wonder if we’re watching a tectonic shift in college football.

The game changes periodically. Sometimes it’s gradual, at others it’s rapid fire. Our expectations for offenses have changed considerably. In 1966, Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida threw for 1,865 yards and 16 TD’s. He won the Heisman trophy. In 2001, Warrior QB Nick Rolovich threw for 1,550 yards and 20 TD’s – in the last three games! He won no awards, and UH didn’t even get to a bowl game.

So changes do happen, and Oregon may be moving the game to a whole different plane. They recruit speed – find a QB who can run and throw (former Saint Louis QB Marcus Mariota may end up being the best they’ve ever had) and then go no-huddle for the whole game. If an opponent holds them under 50 points, it seems like a moral victory. How do you stop that? Clearly nobody has found a reliable answer yet. And it does beg the question: Why isn’t everyone doing it, or something like it? The answer is that more and more teams are trying to do something very much like it, and you can expect even more programs to follow suit.

* Very quietly former Warrior Chad Owens has secured a spot in the CFL record books for the most all-purpose yards in a season. Gotta give Owens credit. After things didn’t work out in the NFL, and following a serious knee injury in the arena league, Owens showed the drive and talent that have made him into a Canadian league superstar.

* Looks like the end is near for Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid. Ownership laid out the necessary end point for the season – a deep run in the playoffs, and the Eagles are well short of that. Reid must be wondering why he hitched his fortunes to QB Michael Vick, who isn’t much better at reading defenses than he was 10 years ago. There was a warning sign with Vick: He always has said that he hates watching film. As one wag put it, if you want to succeed as an NFL signal caller, you’d better watch more film than Roger Ebert.

Saints coach Sean Payton is a man with options. By voiding his 2011 contract extension, the NFL has cleared the suspended coach’s path to mega millions. He’ll have leverage with teams looking for a leader, but league observers believe it’s a long shot that he leaves New Orleans. Unlike Andy Reid, Payton has a QB with whom he’s happy to be aligned in All Pro Drew Brees.