Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Pro-Posal: Let the NFL Quarterbacks Have an Option

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Pro-Posal: Let the NFL Quarterbacks Have an Option

Article excerpt

Every time I see a quarterback hornswoggle a defense with the keep-or-give, the bread-and-butter play of many winning high school and college teams, I wonder why the pros don't use the option, too, even if only occasionally.

I know, fear of hurting the precious passer, so integral to success. But why couldn't they have a more expedient player for, say, goal-line situations? Now, broad-beamed defensive players triangulate brutally on a dropback passer. Like, for instance, a do-it-all kid like Pittsburgh rookie Kordell Stewart or a Thomas Lott.

Lott's name came to mind when the more superior Tommie Frazier was doing to Florida what many of us expected when we picked the Nebraska quarterback for the Heisman Trophy. Frazier finished second to Ohio State's Eddie George.

As one who has watched the option since Don Faurot invented it off his Split-T in 1941, I honestly believe Frazier is the best I ever saw as an all-around option artist.

Though not necessarily a better pitch-or-keep man than other option craftsmen, his 75-yard run through, over and past Florida will remain a highlight beyond the incredible 62-24 rout.

The distinction between Frazier and most other option quarterbacks is that he passes well enough.

As for Lott, his name brings up another with whom Nebraska's Tom Osborne will be mentioned as a coach. Like Osborne, Bud Wilkinson won two successive national championships at Oklahoma in 1955-56 and almost doubled the Huskers' current 25-game winning streak. The Sooners won 47 in a row.

Wilkinson, brought out of coaching retirement by Bill Bidwill with the football Cardinals in the late '70s, came to pro football with a notion he was never to fulfill. Aware how tough it is in pro football to score close in, especially on the ground, Bud drafted Lott from Oklahoma and planned to use him in goal-line siutations.

Trouble was, Lott was injured enough in preseason play not to have the opportunity. If Lott had been able to play, Wilkinson might have done for pro football what mentor Faurot did originally with the option. …

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