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Here's the Inside Dope About Rockne System


Some to major colleges and universities in the country use the Notre Dame system of football, and use it successfully. An offensive system of football is nothing more on than a means of getting the ball into play. It is a pretty well established fact that material is more likely to make the system than the system is to make the material. In other words of you don't have football players, of lads who can be taught to play football, no system will work. And if you happen to have a bunch of super-men, any system will work.

The Notre Dame system, developed by the late Knute Rockne, and spread over country, has enjoyed such success, however, that its use is steadily increasing, even though Rockne has been dead for some five years. Besides the army of Notre Dame graduates who are teaching the hop shift method of getting a play started in the institutions of higher learning, many others are introducing it to the high school fields. Still other men, graduates of schools besides Notre Dame which used the system, are spreading this rhythmic, colorful offensive weapon throughout the country.


The right half, fullback, and left half are lined up in the positions they will occupy after the team lines up. The quarterback, in the middle of the group, calls the signal clearly to each side. The ends line up at the end of the group with the linemen in their proper positions to wheel around and run up to the line of scrimmage.


The team hops from the huddle into the formation shown here, the line balanced, the backs in the characteristic T formation, and the ends slightly split. The T formation of the backs, from which quick opening plays and plays on which the quarterback handles the ball may be run, is, like the balanced line, characteristic of the Notre Dame system. While the signal for the play to be run has been given in the huddle, the quarterback calls another set to give the cadence of the hop-shift to his mates.

The Shift

The right halfback has moved out to what corresponds to the wing-back position in the Warner system. The quarterback lines up between his guard and tackle. The left halfback has his hands open to receive the ball but it may go to the fullback, to the left halfback's right, or to the quarterback. Every play in the Notre Dame system repertoire may be run from this formation, with the number being doubled by a shift to the left and by running the play in the opposite direction. Some former Rockne coaches have used a shift of the guards from one side to the other, to give an unbalanced line. But in this picture you have the original formation as used at Notre Dame and many of the nation's other big schools where Rockne disciples are spreading him football gospel.

The Charge

Guards in the Notre Dame system must be speedy, for, as shown here, they frequently pull out to join the interference. The right guard on this play, a characteristic Notre Dame end run, must get into the picture ahead of the quarterback. When it is remembered that one of the chief characteristics of the system is speed, one gains an idea of how fast he must move to keep ahead of the halfback, who in turn must be off before a defensive lineman can shoot through the hole just vacated by the guard. The end run is the real basis of the Notre Dame system, with the play going either inside or outside the end. The success of this play is the result of getting to the point of attack with the fullest possible blocking strength with the least possible delay. On this particular play, the left end will charge down the field to try to block the safety man and, if the rest of his mates perform their blocking duties correctly, the Fighting Irish will have scored on another perfect play.

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