Football 101: Option football

Originally Published: September 30, 2004
By Bob Davie | Special to ESPN Insider
One of the things that separates college football from the NFL is the diversity of offensive schemes that you see every week. The triple option is unique to college football and it will be showcased Thursday night when Navy travels to Colorado Springs to play the Air Force Academy.

Most defensive coordinators will tell you that in this era of spread offenses and various versions of the West Coast offense, option football is still the most difficult offense to defend. Fisher DeBerry's success at Air Force and the remarkable turnaround Paul Johnson has enjoyed at Navy are directly the result of triple option football.

The triple option is unique because it leaves defensive players unblocked at the line of scrimmage and relies on the execution of the quarterback to make split-second decisions. Air Force and Navy will sometimes predetermine who they will give the football to, but the triple option concept is still the foundation of the wishbone offense.

Bob Davie

College Football
Bob Davie, a veteran college football coach of 25 years, most recently as head coach at the University of Notre Dame, serves as an analyst on college football game telecasts and select studio shows.