“We don’t have the resources you need to compete at this level.”

There are plenty of reasons I prefer college football to the NFL variety, but if I could only choose one, I’d point to this great story about Chris Ault.

The birthplace of the Pistol Offense is a carpeted, 10-foot-by-30-foot stretch in the front of the Nevada football locker room that has probably been walked over a million times in the past eight years. One morning in the spring of 2005, Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault — coming off a 5-7 season — led his running backs coach Jim Mastro and three other Nevada assistants with him from their coaching offices down a flight of stairs at 6:30 a.m. to the ground floor of the Wolf Pack football building.

Ault had an idea, an idea that less than a decade later has had a profound influence not just on college football, but the NFL as well. What grew from a six-hour session that began that morning in Reno a few weeks before the start of spring ball has had an impact that has even helped spark the San Francisco 49ers and their young standout quarterback Colin Kaepernick on a Super Bowl run.

“I was disgusted with our run game,” Ault recalled to CBS on Wednesday morning. “I felt our football program needed an identity. Honestly, it was gonna be a feast or famine with this thing.”

Engineering an entirely new offensive formation/strategy out of necessity due to limited resources was just the first step.  The second was finding gold in a raw kid – and adapting the strategy to his talents.

“He was a Wing-T QB in high school, and he threw it side arm,” Ault said. “He had that pitching throw. You could see he had decent speed. We had him in camp. I probably wouldn’t have offered him off film. We didn’t offer him out of camp. But we knew he probably could be a good free safety or wide receiver if he couldn’t play quarterback. He was such a great kid, very attentive. We didn’t know he was getting ready to put his cape on, and it’s now with a big K right in the middle of it.”

Can you imagine a coach in the NFL going out on a limb like that?  Nah.  Going out on a limb there means taking a chance that what Ault came up with in that six-hour session might work at the next level.

College ball doesn’t have the NFL’s parity.  But it more than makes up for that with its diversity.  Paul Johnson may be an ass of the first order, but I love that there’s a place in the world for the triple option.  Long may all of it run.


Filed under College Football, Strategery And Mechanics

17 responses to ““We don’t have the resources you need to compete at this level.”

  1. Ubiquitous Ga Alum

    Interesting that Ault says that he hated the shotgun because all the runs were east-west, considering that Bobo/Richt run the toss sweep out of the pistol …


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. They need to run about 10 plays per game using the pistol and a zone read with Murray keeping the ball on half the plays or so depending on what the D does plus some play action passes off the same look.


  2. Go Dawgs!

    The thing that I love the most about this story is that you just know that Nevada has some fans like the guys who sit around me at Sanford Stadium who saw the Wolfpack line up in the pistol for the first time and immediately began yelling, “WHAT THE HELL KIND OF FORMATION IS THAT?! WHAT THE F ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE?!! FIRE AULT, HE’S JUST MAKING IT UP NOW!!!!”


  3. Dog in Fla

    Shorter Ault: Ault shot a man with a Pistol not a Shotgun in Reno just to watch Nick and Todd worry about player safety



    I enjoy both leagues myself.

    The speed/skill at the NFL level keep the crap that CPJ runs on the Junior curcuit.


    • Macallanlover

      I watch very, very little of the NFL until CFB is over, my wife would leave me if I even tried because I watch college games from morning until the wee hours of Sunday….not to mention the time I spend reading about it. As you say, there are things to enjoy about the pro game, although the offenses are the least interesting to me. I really appreciate the coverage of DB’s and linbackers the most, and the consistency of the officiating.

      Speaking of Coach Dick, with all the new wrinkles in offensive schemes since his days at GSU, don’t you find it surprising how little he has varied from his ersion of the Triple Option? I don’t know whether it is his inability to make adjustments, or his ego, but he has GT boxed in a way that it both limits his recruiting and what DCs must prepare for. Not complaining at all, just puzzled by his stubborness.


      • AthensHomerDawg

        You know PJ has won and won large in another venue. National titles are nothing to sneer at. He did some good work at Navy. Yes there is a lot of loose skin around his neck. I think what he lacks is “product scalability”. ( My youngest is a finance major) 😉 It worked on a smaller stage but ain’t ready for prime time. Defenses do best at what they rep for week end and week out. At any rate it will never make it to the big tent in the college circus. He just hasn’t accepted it yet.


  5. Harry Balzack...

    Ault, what a great football mind. Hats off….


  6. 202dawg

    Speaking of old Fish Fry; wonder if this was one of his ‘minions’ or the Genius himself?


    Bizarre to say the least…


    • Go Dawgs!

      best part of that article is the fact that Carvell felt like he just HAD to include the bit at the bottom which is bascially, “Georgia fans do it too!!!!”