WHEN the offense attempt a play the nature of which at its is not clear, the problems of the defense are, first, ascertain the nature of the (kick, run or pass); second, if a pass, to locate the le to receive the pass; third, to assume positions best adapted to the of pass.
In order to conceal the ultimate the play, the offense often resort first, to a pretense of a play other than the intended one; second, to faking a forward pass in a false direction; and third, to sending ineligible players toward vacant zones to make demonstrations as receivers.
This play started from an open or kick formation. The ball was snapped back to the player at extreme left of picture, who faked first a punt, thus drawing the defensive line toward him, second a forward pass to ineligible player (1), hoping to divert the defensive backfield in that direction, and finally passed the ball (just leaving his hand) in a different direction to player (2).
Fortunately for the defense, player (3) was in such a position as to enable him to tackle the receiver of the pass for a small gain. Centre College vs. Harvard 1920.
It has been stated that the schedule of games is arranged with respect to the playing strength and methods employed by the various opponents. Emphasis should be made of the fact that the preliminary games are considered by the coaches as merely the best means of developing a team for its so-called "championship" contests. The winning of these games is of secondary importance. In this respect, a great deal of misunderstanding exists regarding the performance of the larger college teams in their practice games. It has been found good policy to play more evenly contested practice games than heretofore. For several reasons this course greatly handicaps the larger colleges. First, with a large squad much more time is required to separate the wheat from the chaff. Second, the great emphasis laid on coaching the individual retards the development of team play. Even in mid-season an important team may find itself with a defense developed only sufficiently to cope with a simple type of offense, and with its complete offensive program partly learned or kept in reserve for final games.
As a rule, then, the large college team during this period is furnished with only that portion of an offensive and defensive scheme which in the opinion of the coach will be sufficient to win, in its stride as it were, the succeeding preliminary games. In contrast, a small college, naturally wishing to make better than a good "showing," against its big brother, "points" for this game by developing team play early; planning an offense replete with "long gainers" and tricks, and employing field tactics which experience has proved to involve great risks but which may sporadically produce good results. In other words, with everything to win and nothing to lose, the small college often upsets the applecart.
Under these circumstances responsibility for defeats in mid-season should be charged to the coach, who should admit this fact frankly to the players. Overdue emphasis is sometimes placed upon the victories of small over large colleges. Usually such a victory can be traced to the miscalculations by the coach of the development of the two teams at the date of the game, and can seldom be considered a criterion of the final playing strength of the respective elevens.
In the closing weeks of the season all football camps resemble a colony of ants. Everywhere there is apparently a great deal of needless bustle and running about, but arrangements for big games require a deal of preparation. Extra grandstands must be built and tickets allotted to a demand far greater than the supply. There are mass meetings where unbounded enthusiasm is ever present. Transportation and housing facilities have to be improvised for the horde of spectators. Within the enclosure where secret practice is held, although all are somewhat affected by the atmosphere of excitement, perfect order and a determined singleness of purpose prevail. Coaches and players are now so thoroughly organized that a general "speeding up" of operations takes place. All concerned plainly show the mental and physical stress of the campaign, but a bond of sympathy is aroused wherein the power of the will predominates. All gloom is discarded, and in place of joy the mental attitude of the players is poised between full recognition of the enemy's strength and a grim determination to win. Esprit de corps displaces discipline, and masters and pupils now form a brotherhood, working with one accord for a great cause.
In such an environment, it is amazing how quickly a team will develop. All groundwork which has been practised so patiently in early season now forms a visible foundation upon which is constructed the finesse of team play. Each individual player, now become a veteran, fits snugly into each offensive and defensive move; and the whole team, realizing of a sudden its completeness and strength, resembles a beautiful animal tugging at its leash, mentally alert, lean of body, and possessed of an indomitable spirit to reach its objective.