Rick Neuheisel talks about “The Pistol” offense. The third-year UCLA head coach also spoke with reporters after practice today.
Says Neuheisel, "I hope it's a permanent fix. Is it a permanent offense? No. But I want to be in a permanent place in the top half of the conference in rushing offense. If we can do that, I know we can handle the rest of it. We'll get right back into the conference race and we'll get back to UCLA winning Rose Bowls again."
A couple of quotes from Neuheisel during media day:
Describing “The Pistol”: The easiest way for me to describe the pistol, and the Nevada coaches may cringe when I say this because it may not be anywhere close to what they envisioned, but I'd say it is a veer offense from the gun. Pistol is borrowed from the gun offense so the quarterback is in the shotgun. Normally in the shotgun, backs are offset, either to your right or to your left. In Oregon and Florida's offense, they almost always have a guy to the side and there's a lot of lateral movement. Veer offense is a ride to the side, if you will, where you are reading a guy as he's coming down hill and you are leaving an end of line defender unblocked so that you can get up to the next level with an offensive tackle or offensive guard or what have you. So our tailback in this new offense is directly behind the quarterback, maybe a half a yard to a yard deeper than he would be if we were under center. So we have the ability now to hold the defense. They can't just see lateral movement and predict which way this back is going. He could go either way. It has been hugely successful for Nevada. They had three 1,000-yard rushers last year, two tailbacks and a quarterback. And as our special teams coach, Frank Gansz likes to say, `that's proof.' That's validity. We believe that this can give us an answer. I know there's been a lot of question as to Kevin's (Prince) durability, how many times he can carry a ball. In watching the offense and having my own experiences going with a veer and a couple of veer schemes when I was coaching at Washington, the quarterback certainly does get tackled at times, but you can control how many times you want that to happen. In the plays that our quarterbacks got hurt, they were both passing plays where he was scrambling. So it is not as though you can completely take him away from harm's way."
On the risk/reward of the pistol offense: "Certainly there is a learning curve, and that's why we had to dive into it during spring ball and not spend any time doing anything else that we know how to do. And we are going to invest in it this fall. Does that mean it will be 100 percent of our game plan when we get to Kansas State, I don't think so. But we have to get to a level of efficiency at it that allows us to think that it's a prudent move. But, when you talk risk/reward, there was zero risk in making a change, because what we had done wasn't working. We couldn't sit and tell ourselves, like some person looking in a mirror and telling ourselves we're skinny, when we're not. You got to go get on a diet. You got to face the facts. And we had to face the facts that we needed to change who we were as a running football team and figure out another way to do it. Our depth isn't at a place that we can go out there and line-up and whip people doing things the old-fashioned way. You have to keep up with the trends in football and not be afraid to put your neck out there a little bit. I hope it is a permanent fix. Is it a permanent offense, no? But I want to be at a permanent place in the top half of this conference in rushing offense. Because if we could do that, I know we could handle the rest of it and we'll be right back in the conference race and we'll get back to UCLA winning Rose Bowls."