The Tuscaloosa News’ Tommy Deas has an article up today on both TideSports.com and GatorSports.com. Topic of the article aside, this is the kind of sports writing that separates the real deals from the wannabes. And Deas is the real deal.
The article? Well, it traces the Florida Gator’s Charlie Weis-led offensive all the way back to Bama’s own Ray Perkins.
Perkins began working as a New England Patriots offensive assistant in 1974. After leaving the Patriots, Perkins made a stopover in San Diego (1978) as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator, and then became head coach of the New York Giants in 1979:
“When I first went to New England in ’74, we spent four years fine-tuning and modifying, if you will, some of the same type offensive plays that I used when I played,” Perkins said. “But the playbook that I would eventually use and introduce in New York was the offensive playbook that we put together in New England.”
Of course, Perkins became Bama’s head man in 1983 and lasted for four seasons before leaving for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he compiled a 19-41 record before being fired during the 1990 season. Perkins was out of football in 1991, took the head job at Arkansas State in 1992, but was back in the NFL again in 1993 as an assistant for Bill Parcells with the Patriots. That’s where the playbook story picks back up:
That same playbook, which Perkins estimates is 3 1/2 to 4 inches thick, would be utilized by Weis when he was hired as offensive coordinator in New England in 2000. Perkins came back to New England as offensive coordinator in the mid 1990s, where Weis was also an assistant.
“Parcells was the head coach, Weis was the running backs coach and I was offensive coordinator,” Perkins said. “We were using basically the same playbook.
Drew Bledsoe confirms the Perkins to Weis link:
Drew Bledsoe retired in 2007 after 16 years in the league and now lives in Oregon, where he is co-owner of the DoubleBack Winery. He ran the Erhardt-Perkins offense when Perkins was offensive coordinator with New England in the 1990s, for five years under Weis with the Patriots and under Parcells with the Dallas Cowboys. He watched the offense grow in sophistication over the course of his career.
“What Charlie and also with Ray did was present a defense with a lot of looks with the personnel groups,” Bledsoe said. “At its core, it was really the same offense. Over time, Charlie evolved it. It was an evolution of the offense.”
Weis began to introduce more four- and five-receiver sets to open up the passing game, and also expanded the terminology to designate different routes for receivers lined up on opposite sides of the formation.
Note also this comment from Perkins:
“It’s a great playbook. I’ve still got copies at my house.”
I wonder if he’s sent a copy up to Tuscaloosa recently.