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USA Today: Sparano: Wildcat era has only just begun


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http://blogs.usatoday.com/thehuddle/2009/02/sparano-wildcat.html

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Sparano: Wildcat era has only just begun

INDIANAPOLIS -- The wildcat is not going away, even if Dolphins coach Tony Sparano wasn't completely confident it would have a shelf life of more than two plays.

Sparano said Thursday he was completely surprised the trick play he unveiled in a Week 3 upset win at New England became a season-long phenomenon adopted by dozens of teams.

"I was pretty surprised," Sparano said. "At the end of it I was wishing I had a dollar for every person that ran it."

Miami had started 0-2 and was looking for a spark on Sept. 21 when Sparano broke out the wildcat with RB Ronnie Brown converting four direct snaps into touchdowns. But the Dolphins coach was prepared to put the play back into mothballs if it didn't work.

"We knew when we rolled it out there that you're taking a chance, one way or the other," Sparano said. "We also knew that 'Hey this might be a two-play deal.' We might run it out there for two plays and if it backfires, maybe we don't see it anymore. It just so happened that we started to get the pictures that we wanted to see and we were able to go with it a little bit longer."

But the wildcat is a staple now. The Dolphins players enjoy running it and the coaches enjoy having it in their arsenal. And Sparano said it will continue to be part of the Dolphins' personality next year.

"There was an awful lot left on the bone that we didn't roll out there during the season," he said. "This gives us the chance during the offseason to push the envelope a little more."

Teams may now target players who could fit into wildcat schemes. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock told USA TODAY this week that West Virginia QB Pat White might be a hybrid-type player that helps power the play.

Sparano said he knows team officials now have incorporated his trick scheme into their talent evaluation.

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Gadgets come and go...this will die a quiet death this year.

I don't think so. Look at the HB option that's been around forever and is still used.

The wildcat is a very similar play but you use a more versatile player that has a better arm and is usually quicker than your HB. I think you'll see more teams expand upon this.

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Gadgets come and go...this will die a quiet death this year.

Agree 100%! The reason I say that is, defensive coaches pick up on things like this and create schemes to stop it.

This works when it is a suprise, but when it's no longer a surprise it won't be nearly as effective. It will pretty much turn into a normal running play.

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Gadgets come and go...this will die a quiet death this year.

so how do you explain the fact that the wildcat is just a rehashing of the base offense used back in the 40s or so? due to that its not actually a gadget play...its just a former base offense that people stopped using for whatever reason and now is coming back into favor.

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so how do you explain the fact that the wildcat is just a rehashing of the base offense used back in the 40s or so? due to that its not actually a gadget play...its just a former base offense that people stopped using for whatever reason and now is coming back into favor.

Because you have to have certain personnel to run this offense, and investing in such personnel will hinder growth or investments in other areas. Is it really worth it to invest in certain players just for a few plays a week?

Unless you have the player on your roster or the player you invest in can play numerous amount of roles, it will be hard for teams to have success with the formation.

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Because you have to have certain personnel to run this offense, and investing in such personnel will hinder growth or investments in other areas. Is it really worth it to invest in certain players just for a few plays a week?

Unless you have the player on your roster or the player you invest in can play numerous amount of roles, it will be hard for teams to have success with the formation.

If Sparano is serious about it and it's not just gadgetry for him, then I suspect he will employ more than a couple plays a week like most teams did and you will probably see a slow migration towards personnel that fit. They are still rebuilding that team and it's identity in my mind. If he has Tuna's blessing, it can't be too far fetched. Again, time will well.

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