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Oklahoma, One of the Progenitors of Tempo Offense, is Back in the Fast Lane vs. Flashes

By John E. Hoover

NORMAN — Brent Venables was chatting with his coaching staff this week when the conversation got nostalgic.

“Twenty years ago, tempo was a thing,” Venables said, “but people had a fastball package. They might run like three plays, and then that’s all they did.”

Teams have practiced the two-minute offense for end-of-half situations. But that fastball package was designed to catch defenses off guard.

“We literally talked about fastball today,” Venables said Tuesday. “We were bringing up different teams and their flavors, what they do, which formation. They’d run a quick toss or something like that. And that was like a really tough thing back in the day. Things are a little more intricate and complicated now. But it’s good.”

Now, of course, every college football team runs some variation of a hurry-up, no-huddle offense — “tempo,” they call it. Many go fast exclusively. Some sprinkle it in. But everybody does it.

When Oklahoma and Kent State meet on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, it’ll be a matchup of two of the fastest offenses in the country.


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