Innovation in college football starts at the high school level

Kevin Kelley. via Pulaski Academy

Fans of the Houston Cougars football team are no strangers to watching innovative football happen here before the rest of the country catches on.

Legendary coach Bill Yeoman (coached at UH from 1962-86) pioneered the Veer offense followed by Jack Pardee (1987-89) and John Jenkins (1990-92) coordinating the high octane Run and Shoot offense. Then a legendary Texas high school coach named Art Briles (2003-07) came to Houston and brought with him spread offense he learned in Stephenville, Texas combined with concepts he picked up after a stint as an assistant at Texas Tech. The Air Raid offense continued under Kevin Sumlin (2008-11) and the Cougars continued to rack up the wins while helping change the college football landscape in the process. New coach Tom Herman has continued to innovate with his smashmouth spread concepts he honed under Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

Given all of this illustrious history of innovation we have here at UH, I love it when I learn about new concepts other coaches across the country are utilizing to win games. A high school coach named Kevin Kelley at Pulaski Academy in Arkansas is cranking up his coaching style to eleven by never punting on forth down and kicking on-side every kickoff. Talk about cojónes!

So much of the innovation we see on Saturdays in college and Sundays in the NFL originates on Friday nights at many high school programs across the country. As I mentioned earlier, it’s where Art Briles (now at Baylor) first became a legend and where other coaches like Chad Morris (SMU), David Beaty (Kansas), Mike Jinks (Bowling Green), Philip Montgomery (Tulsa), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), and Todd Graham (Arizona State) also made a name for themselves. Keep an eye on Houston tight end and fullbacks coach Corby Meekins, formerly coach of Houston Westfield High School, to be another fast rising coach in the profession.

It you want to know what types of innovative play calling or what coaches will soon be on the rise on Saturdays, just keep watching the innovative coaches in high school football.

More on Coach Meekins here.