Tony Franklin is set to join new Cal Head Coach Daniel “Sonny” Dykes at Cal-Berkeley as Cal’s new offensive coordinator. Franklin was Dyke’s OC at Louisiana Tech, but a close look reveals that Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour has brought two of the original architects of the Airraid Offense, and a couple of true ball coaches to Berkeley.
The term “ball coach” was a kickname that South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier reportedly adopted for himself while coaching at The University Of Florida. Rather than get into an argument about some issue with the UF administration, Spurrier would just respond that he was an “old ball coach.” The nickname stuck, and ABC’s legendary College Football Announcer Keith Jackson echoed it, and then the media picked up on it, and while it still applies primarily to Coach Spurrier, it also refers to someone who’s purely into the development of the football passing game primarily, and a student of football in total.
Franklin and Dykes’ relationship extends beyond LA Tech, where Franklin joined the staff in 2010 as Offensive Coordinator, and all the way back to the 1997 Kentucky University Coaching Staff. There, Hal Mumme was the head coach, Tony Franklin was the running backs coach, Mike Leach was the receivers coach, and Sonny Dykes was the graduate assistant in charge of tight ends.
The Kentucky website from 1997 presented the then-new passing concepts in this way: “The Kentucky offense will have a new look in 1997. Coach Hal Mumme, who is also the offensive coordinator, has installed a pass-oriented offense patterned after the system used by Brigham Young. Mumme first became interested in the BYU style while he was an assistant at Texas-El Paso. Mumme adopted the scheme when he coached at Copperas Cove (Tex.) High School from 1986-88, then continued with it at Iowa Wesleyan and Valdosta State.”
It was at Kentucky that the first elements of what is now called The Airraid Offense were born. So it’s no surprise that both Coach Dykes and Coach Franklin, separate and as a team, have designed effective, record-setting offensive attacks.
In effect, Cal will have the Mayo Clinic East Bay of football to match Stanford’s Mayo Clinic West Bay of football in 2013, with an offensive attack that will not be as complex in individual route adjustments as is down on The Farm (where one receiver has as many as 11 different route options), but will be more innovative in formation and play design.
For example, at Louisiana Tech, the offense regularly went spread, no-huddle, with the center, not the quarterback, calling the plays. This way, the advance of the offense was less likely to be impacted by crowd noise; the quarterback says little, if anything. In this approach that Coach Franklin developed while coaching in the National Indoor Football League in 2003, the focal point of calls is the center.
If the Cal Coaches can avoid the passing game errors that Leach’s version of The Airraid Offense exhibited in the 2012 NCAA Season (like force-feeding pass plays that called for blocking times its offensive line could not sustain), Cal’s Offense will be World’s better than the 2012 version.