VYPE Houston Region
Other North HS
7 on 7 Changing the State of Football in Texas
June 22, 2011VYPE MAGAZINE - North Houston
By Forrest Robeck
If you were to go back 10 years and watch a basketball game it would look very similar, if not identical, to the game being played today. If you were to go back and watch a baseball game, it would also look identical, minus a few home runs. If you were to go back and watch a football game, it would look like an entirely different sport.
While Mike Leach could receive the credit for introducing his modern-day "Air Raid" offense to college football, having an effect similar to legendary coach Emory Bellard, who revolutionized the game with the Wishbone, the real credit lies in the high school ranks.
The explosion of 7-on-7 passing leagues throughout Texas, and now the nation, will forever change the game of football. This almost anti-football game, played without pads or linemen, allows both offensive and defensive players a chance to work on the intricacies of the passing game.
"7-on-7 has been a huge part of Texas high school football since it started," said Rivals recruiting analyst Brian Perroni. "It has played a giant roll in opening up the spread offense. Over the past few years you have seen a huge number of quarterbacks from Texas have a great amount of success in college. A lot of that has to do with 7-on-7."
While they aren't allowed to visit 7-on-7 tournaments, college recruiters watch tape and also see the value of the passing leagues.
"It's really one of the best ways to evaluate kids," Oklahoma State associate head coach Joe DeForest said. "You can see how defensive backs react in space and how physical receivers can be. Unfortunately it's a dead period for recruiting. If it weren't, you would see college coaches lining the sidelines at these events."
Despite running a more traditional, I-Formation offense in high school, Montgomery's Tyler Bolfing saw the value of 7-on-7, crediting the summer league for helping develop a passing attack to compliment Leroy Dobbins. Bolfing threw for over 1,800 yards, 27 touchdowns and five interceptions his senior season, earning him a scholarship at McNeese State.
"You get so many repetitions in seven-on-seven and it helps so much with timing and chemistry between the quarterback and the receivers," Bolfing said. "Every play that we ran during the season, we ran on seven-on-seven. It just becomes second-nature when the lights are on Friday nights."
But it is not just skill guys reaping the benefits of 7-on-7, lineman are too.
"With so many high school teams running spread offenses, offensive linemen are much more prepared for the college game then they used to be," Perroni said. "You see a lot more offensive linemen, like Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) and Trey Hopkins (Texas), be able to step in early and contribute because their pass protection is much more developed then guys ten years ago."
And so the trickle effect begins. 7-on-7 allowed, almost encouraged coaches to install spread offenses in the high school ranks. The days of downhill, three-yards and a cloud of dust football is all but extinct. The future is in the air.
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