The Southern Oregon Raiders run a no-huddle offense, so getting the play call in to the team takes a lot of effort.
‘Before every play we’ve got six players, four coaches and the head coach all working on different signals,” said head coach Craig Howard.
With all of that happening on the sidelines, it gives the Raiders offense a lot of information to process. Quarterback Austin Dodge is giving out protection assignments for the lineman, while the receivers and running backs are also getting their own info. It may be overwhelming at first but it’s also effective. The Raiders lead the nation with 51.2 points per game and 630.2 yards per game. That’s more than 140 yards per game more than the second best offense.
“It’s a good system where we can be able to get the information processed and to the players on the field but we also can cause confusion for the other teams as well,” said Dodge. “That’s how we are able to go as fast as we do.”
“What our objective is, is to play the game of football as fast as humanly possible,” said Howard. “And using the cards, using the no-huddle system, our players have to learn a new language. It’s almost like taking French or Spanish.”
That new language consists of two main components, play cards and hand signals. A lot of what’s happening on the sidelines are dummy signals and it’s up to the players on the field to recognize where the real play is coming from.
“Every drive we’ll mix it up,” said quarterback Chris Kammel. “It really depends on what coach Fas wants. Whoever’s easier to see. He’ll wear a hat sometimes, whoever wears a hat is live.”
“Sometimes we’ll reverse it around,” said quarterback Gannon Schroder. “Whoever’s closer to the coach is live, somebody will stand out further than the other.”
There are also instances where the signals mean nothing and the play call is coming entirely off the cards. It’s a system used at all levels, including DI schools like Oregon. It’s becoming more and more common as teams change the way they relay information.
“When a quarterback calls a play in the huddle you have to have all the verbage right. So it’s verbage, but non-verbal,” said Kammel.