This weekend's Harvard-Brown football match is less a meeting of two teams headed for the bottom of the Ivy League standings than a meeting of two of the most innovative offensive minds in football.
Brown's Mickey Kwiatkowski and Harvard's Joe Restic will never be featured in any of those "Separated at Birth" photos, but both of them have built careers on uncoventional offensive schemes.
Restic's Multiflex and Kwiatkowski's Spread-T Flex share similar philosophies, both drawing heavily upon the infamous Delaware Wing-T offense. Both of them boast successful track records. Restic is 112-89-6 in 22 years of coaching. Kwiatkowski is 71-51 in 12 years at the helm.
And both coaches can't win this season. Restic is 1-6, Kwiatkowski is 0-7. Coincidence? You be the judge. But few people are more qualified than the ever-talkative, ever-charming Kwiatkowski to discuss offensive schemes. You won't hear Restic talking this openly.
What are the strengths and the weaknesses of the Multiflex?
It's a great offense, a great concept unique to Harvard. Some of the premises may be from other areas, but everybody does that.
When you've got the people and they're performing, that baby can't be stopped. It can do too much. I mean, last year, for instance, they were going this way and that way and we were all concerned over [junior quarterback Mike] Giardi, who ends up killing us? [Fullback Matt] Johnson [who ran for 323 yards]. He had never had a game like that before and never had one again. The Multiflex allowed him to be featured that day and I think that's the beauty of that offense.
What can happen, though, is if you're not firing on all cylinders in that offense. You can sputter. I think you stop the Multiflex, and I've looked at it on film, you stop it by doing things to disconcert that thing.
It's such a sophisticated attack. While other teams in the league are introducing zone blocking and timed pitches, Harvard is steadfast in its complexity and sophistication. You've got to confuse it.
Your innovative offense doesn't seem to be winning games this season. What's the problem?
When it's clicking and we have the people, [the Spread T-Flex] is unstoppable. Last year and the year before that, it was. Specifically, I'm not sure against Harvard, but as far as the league was concerned, we had a lot of success.
Like any offense--and you didn't ask this but I'm going to volunteer it anyway, seeing as a lot of people are wondering why it's not working this year--the fact is when you're a great coach one place, then you go to another and you're not a great coach, you're still a great coach.
It's all a matter of who the trigger people are and who's running and who's catching and who's blocking. I don't care what you put on the drawing board, it's not going to work unless you've got people at least as good as the opponent.
Both teams have similar records. How does your team stack up against Harvard?
I will not make the prediction that we are closer in talent to Harvard because that would be too presumptious. I know what their record is, but I can only know what I know as far as what we've faced every week and that is that we are nowhere near the rest of the conference.
We certainly did not think in the beginning of the year that Harvard would be somebody we are equal to in talent, and I'm not naive enough to think that because of the records that we are even with them, talent-wise.
I've heard a few people talk, and I've seen a 17-point spread for the game. That's real high. I make no presumption that our talent is as good as Harvard's. I know it's not. I know for a fact that it's not. I still know that Harvard is bigger and faster and stronger.
Three wins in 27 games. Hmm. But then again, Vince Lombardi couldn't win at Brown. May the best mind win. SPORTS CUBE PREDICTS Jay K. Varma Sports Editor Brown 30 Harvard 29 Justin Ingersoll Sports Staff Writer Harvard 27 Brown 14 John B. Trainer Sports Staff Writer Harvard 27 Brown 14