Tag Archives: Glenn “Pop” Warner

The Team That Invented Football – Conclusion

20 Jul

by Sally Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

To take advantage of the Indians’ versatility Warner drew up a new offense.  Camp would dub it “the Carlisle formation,” but later it would be known as the single wing.  It was predicated on one small move: Warner shifted a halfback out wide, to outflank the opposing tackle, forming something that looked like a wing.  It opened up a world of possibilities.  The Indians could line up as if to punt — and then throw.  No one would know whether they were going to run, pass or kick.  For added measure Warner taught his quarterbacks to sprint out a few yards to their left or their right, buying more time to throw.  The rest of the players flooded downfield and knocked down any opponent who might be able to intercept or bat away the pass.

Single Wing - Cal Poly Pomona 1924

Single Wing - Princeton 1950

“How the Indians did take to it!” Warner remembered.  “Light on their feet as professional dancers, and every one amazingly skillful with his hands, the redskins pirouetted in and out until the receiver was well down the field, and then they shot the ball like a bullet.”  Carlisle roared off to a 6-0 start. On Oct. 26 they went to Philadelphia to face unbeaten Penn, ranked fourth in the nation, before a crowd of 22,800.  No team all season had crossed the Quakers’ goal line.  But on just the second play of the game Hauser whipped a 40-yard pass over the middle that William Gardner caught on a dead run to set up a touchdown.

Hauser

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The Team That Invented Football – Part 2

18 Jul
by Sally Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

The Carlisle practice field was a piece of hardpan that could chip the blade off a shovel. It was an uneven, rock-strewn acre irrigated with the Indians’ sweat. The players themselves had dug the field, measured it, graded it and sodded it.

On a September day in 1899, Warner stood on the field and scrutinized his new football team. His heart dropped to his shoes.  The players were “listless and scrawny, many looking as if they had been drawn through a knothole,” he would recall later.  Over the next 13 years, the coach would have just one Carlisle team whose players averaged more than 170 pounds.

Carlisle Indians - 1899

Warner was 28 when he was hired by Carlisle on the recommendation of Camp, for whom he had played at Cornell before going on to coach football at Georgia, Iowa State and his alma mater. Warner had a reputation for creativity.   At Georgia he had experimented with the screen pass and the tackling dummy.  He also developed theories of fitness, diet, training and motivation.  He rousted the Bulldogs at 6 a.m. for five-mile runs and locked them in their dorm at night.  He was an authoritarian who backed up his words with physical force; he gave up scrimmaging with the Bulldogs only when he broke the collarbone of one of his players. Then in two seasons as Cornell’s head coach he went 15-5-1.

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The Team That Invented Football – Part I

13 Jul

Long before the BCS, there was a game between the top two teams in the country, pitting Indians against Soldiers.  Just two decades after Wounded Knee, a small Indian school from Pennsylvania challenged the mighty Cadets of West Point and transformed a plodding, brutal college sport into the fast, intricate game we know and love today

By Sally Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

The game, like the country in which it was created, was a rough, bastardized thing that jumped up out of the mud. What was football but barely legalized fighting? On the raw afternoon of Nov. 9, 1912, it was no small reflection of the American character.

The coach of the Carlisle Indian School, Glenn Scobey (Pop) Warner, strode up and down the visitors’ locker room, a Turkish Trophy cigarette forked between his fingers. Warner, slab-faced and profane, wasn’t one for speeches, unless cussing counted. But he was about to make an exception.

The 22 members of the Carlisle team sat, tensing, on rows of wooden benches. Some of them laced up ankle-high leather cleats, as thick-soled as jackboots. Others pulled up heavy football pants, which bagged around their thighs like quilts. They shrugged into bulky scarlet sweaters with flannel stuffed in the shoulders for padding. Flap-eared leather helmets sat on the benches next to them, as stiff as picnic baskets.

Often Warner was at a loss to inspire the Indians. He didn’t always understand their motives, and he had put his boot in their backsides on more than one occasion. Jim Thorpe could be especially galling. The 25-year-old Oklahoman from the Sauk and Fox tribe had an introverted disposition and a carelessness that baffled Warner. But on this Saturday afternoon Warner knew just how to reach Thorpe — and his teammates. Carlisle, the nation’s flagship institution for Native Americans, was to meet the U.S. Military Academy in a showdown between two of the top football teams in the country.

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What’s Old Is New…

29 Jan

The Single Wing, as seen here in this video, is the basis for the modern Wildcat and all it’s variations.  Even Don Markham’s Double Wing has its roots in the Pop Warner system.  Here in the video, the Single Wing is mixed in with a little Notre Dame Box which started out looking like the “T” Formation — back then it was called the “Regular” Formation — then shifted into various overloaded sets that created leverage and confusion.  Check it out.   If you’re lucky enough to have a long-snapper or can develop one — probably two — then the  Single Wing is a simple system to teach and powerful in its execution.


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