Tony DeMeo

Questions and Answers with Hal Mumme

Hal Mumme’s name is synonymous with throwing the ball. He has been successful throwing the ball at every level, high school, NAIA, DII, DIAA, and DIA. At University of Kentucky he went to two bowl games in four years. Mumme’s offense is an equalizer at any level and gives the underdog a chance.

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

Hal: Lavelle Edwards at BYU, Bill Yung who I worked for at West Texas, and C.M. Newton who gave me a chance hiring me at Kentucky from Valdosta State.

Tony: What is your Offensive Philosophy?

Hal: Throw short to someone who can score. Spread the ball around to people who can put it in the wend Zone.

Tony: I always loved your screens, was that a substitute for your run game?

Hal: Not really, we’ve always had a very productive running attack. We usually had a 1000 yard rusher but if not our Tailback position always rushed for 1000 yards. Mike (Leach) has had 1000 yard rushers at Texas Tech. We just try to adjust to our personnel.

Four out of the five years we were at Valdosta we had a 1000 yard rusher. We really try to get between 100 to 150 yards a game. .

Tony: I’ve known you for a long time and never realized that you ran the ball that much. What about your screens, how do they fit in?

Hal: We like to get the ball in a talented guy’s hands on the perimeter. It’s kind of like the old John Robinson sweep when he was at USC – student body right and student body left. We really started running them at Coppras Cove HS in Texas. When Mike Leach and I were at Iowa Wesleyan we would go anywhere to learn about throwing the ball and we went to Eastern Illinois to see Darrell Muddra and picked a lot of our screen game from him. We want to stretch the defense and make them chase us from sideline to sideline. It’s like making them do pursuit drill. You do that with the option. The more they chase the more tired get.

Tony: Both you and Mike are big advocates of big splits, why do you see this as an advantage?

Hal: It’s just like with option teams you create natural running lanes and also passing lanes for the QB to throw. The big splits stretch out the defense and make it tougher to rush the passer and the big splits make it easier to recognize what the defense is doing. It is more difficult for them to stunt. But your linemen must be more athletic to protect the gaps so you might recruit a smaller more athletic lineman. If your linemen are having trouble you can cut your splits down. Start with basic three foot splits and work from there. It also helps a short QB see. Chris Hatcher was 5’10 at VSU and did a great job.

Tony: So your system doesn’t require as big an offensive line as some of the Zone teams and you can use smaller athletic kids that are a lot easier to recruit. This also is similar to an option team how did you come up with this idea?

Hal: We got the idea from Roger French at BYU and Mike Leach was my offensive line coach and he really liked it and developed it.

Tony: What are the key passes in your offense?

Hal: The number one pass in the offense is the “Mesh Pattern” (the double crossing routes) this is the pattern you have got to make a commitment to. It takes a lot of work for your QB as well as your receivers and it takes a lot of practice time but you can throw it over and over again. This NOT an “add on” route, if you’re not going to commit to this pattern don’t do it at all. A few years ago there was a High School in Kentucky that just ran this route and a draw and had a great year

Tony: That’s like the Triple Option in our system. What are the other essential passes in your offense?

Hal: The “Shallow Cross” is a big pass for us. You know a shallow coming from one side and a 10 yard hunt route on the other side. That isn’t as difficult to get as the “Mesh”.

My favorite Quick route is the “Stick & Flat combo to one side and a double slant to the other. You could also use a fade and stick away from the stick and flat side.

Tony: What trends do you see in offensive football?

Hal: Well everybody is starting to use their QB as a runner. The Zone Read has become a big trend. The Single Wing style running QB like Tebow is a trend. But basically people are spreading people out to run the ball. I think it’s really going to come down to the QB’s decision making whether in the passing game or the option game. You’re going to see more running QBs who can run and throw the downfield play action pass. I hate the new clock rules. The college game is a better game than the NFL & we should stay as far away from the NFL game as possible.

Tony: Hal thanks for your time and best of luck.

Hal: Looking forward to seeing it on your website.