Without a doubt, it is all very well and good to read up on the so-called “Man-In-Motion” offensive scheme that EDWIN “BABE” HORRELL installed at the beginning of his first season as UCLA Bruins head coach in 1939.
But, as would certainly be expected, it is far more enlightening to be able to actually see UCLA’s sensational combination of left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON and right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON operating this particular system out of the Bruins’ contemporary standard Carlisle Single Wing formation with one’s very own eyes.
So, in this regard, the YouTube video showing the entire UCLA vs Washington State contest from the 1939 NCAA football season is nothing short of an absolute historical treasure to be enjoyed to the fullest potential.
Those unfamiliar with the terms such as “standard Carlisle Single Wing formation” and “UCLA’s Man-In-Motion offensive scheme” might like to review the following in-depth articles already presented here at this blog :
Despite having to wait until the last quarter to finally break the game open on the way to a lopsided 24-7 victory, the UCLA Bruins, for the most part, were able to move the football all night long while piling up a season-high 413 yards worth of total offense against the overmatched Washington State Cougars, who could not cope with all the different offensive possibilities that Horrell’s “Man-In-Motion” look presented. The Bruins were particularly effective on the ground against the Cougars as UCLA ball carriers gained 304 yards, with Robinson (136 yrds) and Washington (81 yrds) accounting for a combined 217 yards rushing all by themselves. Of course, the versatile Washington was also able to toss the football forward on behalf of the Bruins with great success as the speed of Robinson and left end WOODY STRODE, each of whom scored on passing plays that were both designed and executed well, proved to be something that the Washington State defensive secondary just could not cope with.
Charting UCLA Offense vs Washington State Defense
1st half ….. 27 offensive plays … 17 “Man-In-Motion” times … 62.96% usage
2nd half … 41 offensive plays … 26 “Man-In-Motion” times … 63.41% usage
total ……… 68 offensive plays … 43 “Man-In-Motion” times … 63.24% usage
In an obvious effort to address the threat of either the right halfback Robinson taking the pigskin on a sweep around the left end after starting in motion in the Bruins backfield before the snap or the left halfback Washington carrying the football on a sweep around the right end after faking a handoff first, the Cougars unveiled a new 5-3-2-1 defensive formation for the night contest with UCLA at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
At the end of the evening, Washington State’s tactics appeared to have mattered little with the Bruins having exceeded three hundred yards rushing for the first time in nine games that season. UCLA ran their right halfback on the reverse around the left end a total of ten times for 148 yards, with Robinson carrying the ball on four occasions in each half and understudy RAY BARTLETT, another transfer from Pasadena Junior College, also lugging the pigskin twice. By the end of the contest, the middle of the Cougars line had begun to soften considerably as evidenced by the fact that Bruins starting fullback BILL OVERLIN was held to a mere eight yards on six carries in the first half but, in the second half, a trio of UCLA substitute fullbacks led by sophomore LEO CANTOR picked up a combined total of 47 yards on ten runs between the tackles.