NFL offenses finally catch up to Mouse


POSTED: Sunday, April 25, 2010

”;Nobody can stop this offense, except God.”;

— Jim Kelly

Mouse Davis remembers before he was considered a genius, back when putting a football in the air except when absolutely necessary was considered un-American.

Davis had different ideas, ones that might get him on Sen. McCarthy's list. Spread 'em out and throw the ball, as often as possible. He was cooking up things to do with the H-back for Portland State and later in the NFL, but football purists reacted like he was building an H-bomb for the Russians.

“;They called us communists,”; said Davis, while taking in Hawaii's spring practice yesterday afternoon. Then he laughed. “;Now they're all communists.”;

Tom Landry called the four-wide passing offense “;voodoo.”;

Others have replaced the “;v”; with a “;d.”;

Now, though, the cult is the mainstream. Bowties are cool. The NFL is a pass first, ask questions later kind of league now.

“;It's funny, because everybody is doing now what Mouse and June were doing 30 years ago,”; Steve Bartkowski said.

They're validated and vindicated.

With a little help from rules favoring receivers and quarterbacks, the passing game — including run-and-shoot-type four-wide formations — now dominates the highest level of football.

“;Indianapolis and New England use them a lot,”; Davis said. “;I haven't scouted New Orleans that much, but I'm told they do, too. Of course, they can do it because they have good quarterbacks.”;

Warriors Coach Greg McMackin, even though he's a defense guy, has always been a true believer, too. That's why he invited Davis — with whom he coached for the Denver Gold in the USFL — to speak at UH's high school clinic yesterday.

“;Mouse has been running it since I was at Aloha (Oregon) High School and he was at Sunset,”; McMackin said.

Why did it take so long to catch on in the NFL?

“;I think they were afraid of the quarterback getting hurt,”; McMackin said. “;And you know how it is, everybody runs the same offense. So it took some guts. Everybody uses parts of it, mostly on third down. Now Indy does it on first down.

“;In my mind, as a defensive coach, it can't be defended if (the offense) is executing.”;

With a first-year offensive coordinator in Nick Rolovich, you can count on some new wrinkles in UH's attack. But as long as McMackin's the head coach the base will remain the run-and-shoot.

There's even a documentary in the works. “;The Mouse that Roars: The Story of Mouse Davis and the Run 'n' Shoot Offense.”;

Yesterday he spoke to hundreds of Hawaii high school coaches, focusing on technique and “;doing what you can do.”;

Of course, he told them jokes.

And with the way they're spreading 'em out and throwing it around in the NFL, it looks like Mouse Davis gets the last laugh.


Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “;Quick Reads”; blog at, and