Tony DeMeo

Questions and Answers with Frank Lenti

Bo Schembechler once said “Consistency was more important than greatness” – Bo would have loved Mt. Carmel’s Head Coach Frank Lenti. It is his consistency that has led to his greatness. The word “great” and the word “awesome” are two of the most overused words in the English language but I would be hard pressed to find another word to describe Frank Lenti’s 284- 47 record at Mt. Carmel High School. That’ not a typo, the record is 284 and 47! Those 25 years of excellence would have made Bo proud. Frank led Mt. Carmel to 13 state championship game and won NINE. He also led Mt. Carmel to 3 Chicago city championships.
Coach Lenti is still running The Split Back Veer Offense that was popularized by Bill Yeomen at The University of Houston in the mid 60s.

Tony: Who were your three biggest influences in your career?

Frank: The first would be Lou Holtz in regards to motivation and organization. Also Coach Holtz was influential in the development of our Split Back Veer. The second was Bo Schembechler who’s philosophy of: “run the ball and stop the run”-+ was our overall program philosophy. And I really enjoy John Wooden’s philosophy and his “Pyramid of Success”. I adopted the concept of worrying about your team first.

Tony: What is your Offensive Philosophy?

Frank: We want to shorten the game and keep our defense off the field. We want to avoid turnovers and win the kicking game. The Split Back Veer was the answer for us. In 1984 we went to The University of Houston and met with Bill Yeomen and Larry Zerlein and they taught us The Split Back Veer. Then we incorporated Homer Rice’s passing attack. I really enjoyed Coach Rice’s book: Homer Rice on The Triple Option Football. We liked his 3 wide receiver formation and that became our base formation. Then I added some of Lou Holtz’s philosophy of high percentage passing of screens, and delays. We also liked Coach Holtz’s Play action Pass ideas.

Tony: How big an ingredient was The Split Back Veer in your success at Mt. Carmel?

Frank: It was a major part of our success especially in the playoffs. This is a unique offense that our opponents only have 3 days to prepare for. Also by running the option we can run the ball and control the clock against bigger defensive lines. The Veer also keeps our defense off the field and shortens the game.

Tony: The option really is an equalizer because you turn the game into a fast break style of football and you get speed in space and takes the size factor out of the game.

Frank: The Option is all about ankles and numbers so it gives a disciplined team that can execute the ability to move the ball against a good defense and thus control the clock.

Tony: What wrinkles have you used in during your 25 year marriage with The Veer?

Frank: We’ve used 3 wide receivers and the dropped our HB down to get into a one back set. We also used the 2 TE set popularized by Jim Wacker. And we really adopted the use of motion to create a numbers advantage. We also developed the Wide Veer into our best play, and added Mid-line to compliment the inside veer. The mid-line really was a nice addition.

Tony: What are the trends you see in football?

Frank: I think more people are running some option. I also see that coaches are looking for athletic quarterbacks that have “escapability” The QB has got to be able to get you out of a jam.
Offense is very cyclical thinks go in cycles.

Tony: Do you still think Chicago Pizza is better than New York Pizza?

Frank: Absolutely! There’s no doubt about it, but I’ll give you cheesecake. New York cheesecake is better than Chicago cheesecake.