Indianapolis, IN — It was about two decades ago when Kansas State made a splash in college football introducing the wildcat offense. It was highly effective, so much so that many other football teams including those on the professional level all the way down to peewee ball* incorporated it into their playbook.
In this variation of a run pass option, usually it’s a running back that will line up as the quarterback, take the snap, and either run it themselves or hand it off to another running back lined up in the backfield with them. The team’s quarterback will line up as a receiver, or simply remove themself from the field for the entirety of the wildcat formation.
Since the inception of this defense-confusing-lineup, coaches have become more aware and in turn been able to foil most wildcat variations, which is why it’s mostly fallen off most playbooks on all levels.
Enter coach Trevor Knightby. He was a graduate assistant on the sidelines of his college team when he first saw the wildcat used. It was then, he says, the idea was born for another offensive revelation.
“I had no idea I’d become a head coach one day,” says Knightby, “but my parents wouldn’t let me move back in after college unless I helped my dad out with the local high school’s sucky team– I mean– promising young team.”
The senior Knightby, then the coach of the worst varsity squad in the state, was gently forced out of his position mid-season (although he was allowed to remain on staff as a 10th grade history teacher) and that’s when Trevor took over. “It was the fourth or fifth game that year and pretty much the entire city had moved on to prepare for the upcoming basketball season. We’re known for being an almost average basketball school, so I guess most people thought even that was better than a football team that hadn’t scored a touchdown since Saban was an NFL coach.”
Knightby threw caution to the wind and started running an offense never before seen on any level of football. To call it a variation of the wildcat is a wildcat understatement. Under Knightby’s leadership, this new offense was ghostly, surprising, and could downright cause reactions of apocalyptic proportions.
In his offense, there are 11 players on the field but that’s about where the similarities to the wildcat end. In fact, that’s where similarities to any offense you’ve ever seen end. What you won’t see are running backs, quarterbacks, or passes. Knightby credits his dating life for the new radical offense. “My ‘aha’ moment was actually when I was ghosted by a girl I’d met a few weeks earlier. She was nice, but one day she just disappeared. Haven’t heard from her since.”
Take that to the gridiron and you have an offense line, a handful of wide receivers, and that’s it. The center snaps the ball to an empty backfield (where most teams position a quarterback), causing the defense to feel like the quarterback must be ghosting them. They scramble around assuming they’re missing something but don’t want to be made to look foolish.
This design has yet to earn a win for Knightby’s team, and in fact, at the time of this publication, they haven’t gained any yardage, points, or respect from the city.
-Out of the Wilderness News
*Peewee league teams using the wildcat cannot be confirmed, as none of the news staff has ever actually watched a peewee football game.