Tag Archives: West Point

Terminology: Shovel Pass

19 Aug

It’s “shovel” pass.  Not shuffle or shuttle, but shovel!

“Cactus” Jack Curtice is credited with developing the nifty little pass play that has so many coaches and fans alike confused as to what to actually call it.

Because of the pass play’s unique throwing motion — a kind of hybrid overhanded, pitch forward — the term “shovel” pass was the first name assigned the technique some decades ago.  It was later twisted into the erroneous nom de guerres presently associated with the play because some people either can’t spell or pronounce the word, “shovel”.

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Now there’s some disagreement as to who first developed the pass play.   Some say Walter “Bug” Bujkowski and others point to “Cactus Jack Curtice as the play’s principal architect. We’ll let you decide who deserves the credit.

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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 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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Old School: “Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside”

27 Jan

They were the 1940’s version of the dynamic duo, with each earning a Heisman Trophy.  One in ’45; the other in ’46.

In their three years together at West Point, the Cadets didn’t lose a game, going 27-0-1, and winning back-to-back national championships.  One was a powerful, bulldozing fullback; the other, a fleet-footed and ankle-breaking halfback. To their teammates and coaches they were simply Glenn Davis and “Doc” Blanchard.  But to admiring fans everywhere, they were better known as Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside.


(Glenn Davis [L] and Felix “Doc” Blanchard [R])
Their legend begins in high school where both were stellar athletes in a variety of sports.  Davis was a 13-letter sport star at Bonita High School in La Verne, California, while Doc starred at St. Stanislaus Prep in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  Each came to West Point by way of circumstance.