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Rush to judgment at OCC

Colleges

September 13, 2011

With the continual rise of the passing game at all levels of the game, many football minds, particularly those in the NFL, have gone so far as to declare the running game irrelevant.

All indications during the preseason were that Orange Coast College had embraced this notion, opting to ditch years of I-formation and West Coast principles for the spiral-bound playbook that features the spread.

But two weeks into the community college schedule, the Pirates' new offensive coordinator, Jack Wigmore, has reverted to the smashmouth double wing that he favored during more than two decades of high school coaching in Oregon and Washington.

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The result — keyed by freshman tailback Domenic Betts and a veteran offensive line with four second-year starters — is the No. 1 individual and team rushing ranking in the 37-school Southern California Football Assn.

OCC (1-1) is averaging 345 rushing yards per game, while Betts is averaging 187 per contest. And while the Pirates have used the spread in both games thus far, the ground-and-pound approach made famous in Newport-Mesa by Coach Myron Miller at Costa Mesa High in the early 1990s, has allowed OCC to possess the ball an average of better than one quarter more than its first two opponents.

OCC's SCFA-leading time of possession average is 37:26. That leaves 22:24 for the other team, which computes to a difference of just more than 15 minutes, the official length of a college quarter.

The offense, however, has not been embraced fully by everyone on the OCC roster.

Coach Mike Taylor said he spent the early part of the week that led to Saturday's 38-31 home triumph over Long Beach defusing a revolt by the team's receivers, many of whom dreamed of elevated numbers in the spread.

"A few stopped by my office with concerns," Taylor said. "They told me they came here to catch passes."

Taylor said he invoked some "Coaching 101" to emphasize placing the team above individual interests, and the meaning of being a good teammate, in an attempt to stave off such selfishness.

With freshman starting quarterback Alex Cappellini displaying difficulty completing passes down the field and touted freshman Adam Young likely out for the season after breaking his right throwing hand in the season-opening loss at Saddleback, it would be hard to suggest the Pirates will not move further in the direction of the run-oriented double-wing scheme.

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