Wednesday, December 20, 2017

All They Want Are Football

In the history of the sport almost a century ago college football witnessed one of the most compelling clashes. On Nov. 9, 1912 the Carlisle Indian School Indians face the Army Black Knights on Collum Field at the US Military Academy at West Point. Lars Anderson’s 2007 book, Carlisle vs. Army, outlines the transformation of the Indian school squad into a national football powerhouse and its great star Jim Thorpe. At the same time the book sketches the development of the Army Black Knights team, focusing on the fortunes of linebacker Dwight David Eisenhower from Kansas.

Best known by the sobriquet "Pop," who is rightfully hailed as one of the game’s earliest innovatorst the center of the book is Glenn Scobie Warner. Warner’s fertile imagination produced mainstays of the game as the three-point stance, the tackle-eligible pass and the double wing formation. He also was notorious for gadget plays that exploited the rules’ many loopholes.

With many teams today, yet, his philosophical approach wouldn’t be out of line. Rather than rely on brawn and power to carry the day he saw the opportunity for speed and deception as a winning strategy. He stumbled on the perfect athletes to carry out his visiont at Carlisle.

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