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The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football    by S. C. Gwynne order for
Perfect Pass
by S. C. Gwynne
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Odds are you have never heard of Hal Humme, yet this high school and college coach was instrumental in refining the college passing game and creating (along with his friend Mike Leach of Washington State) the football passing offense dubbed the Air Raid offense.

Influenced by LaVell Edwards' offensive system at BYU, Bill Walsh's West Coast offense that turned the 49'ers into Super Bowl champs, and the run-and-shoot attack used by a number of coaches, Humme devised an offense that changed how football quarterbacks attacked opponents. The shift was away from running attacks and to putting the ball in the air in every manner conceivable, thus creating astonishing offensive numbers.

Although he was called the single most influential football coach in the last quarter century in 2015 by ESPN Magazine, Humme has not received the attention or coverage of coaches who worked at major universities. His personality probably didn't help his cause either, but that's another story!

In this fascinating book Gwynne traces the transformation of the college passing game since the 1980s and 90s while looking at the coaches who pushed the limits and devised this all out, fast paced, potent passing attack.

Played at a fast tempo, Air Attack quarterbacks regularlyput up statistics that defy the imagination. One of Humme's quarterbacks completed 61 of 86 passes to set national records in a single game.

The teams that utilize this offense are usually fun to watch as they can strike from anywhere on the field and are seldomly totally out of a game because of their ability to score so readily. These teams often lack strong defenses, which makes for often high scoring affairs too.

More popular on the West Coast and in the Southwest, Air Attack college teams are popular with the fans and attract large TV audiences who like the all out action. When two of these teams meet, like Washington State and the University of California, Berkeley, there are usually offensive fireworks that make for exciting and high scoring affairs that are often not decided until the closing minutes of the contest.

In 2014 the two schools played a game that ended with Berkeley winning 60-59. Over 1,260 yards of combined total yards passing was completed that evening in Pullman.

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