Football: Larry Fedora Q&A

The veteran coach who is now the Cowboys offensive coordinator doesn't necessarily look the part of football coach. With his wire-rimmed glasses, he looks the part of college professor. To be honest, Larry Fedora would be comfortable with that title, if the subject is football.

That is really what he is, a professor of offensive football. There was no doubt on the part of Mike Gundy who he wanted to lead his offense. The former Austin College All-American wide receiver helped set numerous school records and one NCAA mark in his time coordinating the offense at Middle Tennessee State. He went on to Florida and last season had the top passing and total offense attack in the SEC with the conference's leading passer and rusher. Now he is eager to bring his offense, based on philosophies from an ancient Chinese military strategist, to Boone Pickens Stadium and the Cowboys.

Go Pokes: You had a connection with Mike Gundy and worked with him at Baylor. He picked you as the guy he wanted to be the offensive coordinator and is trusting you with the role he's had the past four years.
Larry Fedora: Mike and I kind of got to know each other a little before the Baylor year because we used to get together and work some of Emmitt Smith's camps in the summer. We kind of got to know each other a little bit that way. Then in recruiting I would run across him because I came up into the state of Oklahoma at times when Mike was at OSU. Actually, R.W. McQuarters was a guy we went head-to-head on for a while, and obviously, Mike won that battle which was good. Then Mike came down to Baylor and we spent a year working together and that was a good thing.

GP: It impressed me that you and offensive line coach Joe Wickline have worked together the past six years. That is invaluable to have an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach who have that experience together, isn't it?
LF: I think it is critical, to be honest with you. I learned in this profession a long time ago that an offensive line coach is one of the most valuable guys that you can have, especially as an offensive coordinator. Joe and I have worked together for six years and are on the same page. He knows exactly what I want, and I know exactly what he wants. We know how to make the offense work. That makes it so much easier as we go in to make the offense work. There will be three guys with us who have never been in this offense and Joe will be able to handle all of the run game up front and pass protections, and I will be able to handle the rest of it. It will make it so much easier to implement.

GP: One of your coaching stints really sticks out to me. Anybody who has had the opportunity to coach with Air Force head coach Fisher DeBerry certainly knows the run game and probably picked up a lot more from the long time successful head coach at the Air Force Academy.
LF: Two years I served with him as the passing game coordinator. In fact, I went there right after Baylor to the Air Force Academy. Fisher has been there, I don't know, 20-something years now and has had a lot of success in that program. To be honest with you he's had that success with a lot of athletes that aren't recruited anywhere else in the country. Part of that is because of that scheme, the option game. It's a very special place. One, it's probably the toughest place for kids that I've ever seen in my life. Fisher has done a tremendous job there, and I was very fortunate to work for him.

GP: You have lots of books in your office, but two sit on your desk: "Wooden" and "The Art of War." What is the significance of those books?
LF: I think "Wooden" is the best book that a coach can read about teaching and learning how to make young people understand what you are trying to convey to them. It's a great book. "The Art of War" (by Sun Tzu), that is what my offense is based on. I've read it 15 times, and I'll probably read it again this summer. It is not an easy read, but the principles that he introduced fit right in with the sport of football, and I've used many of his theories in putting together a play book, a game plan.

GP: Tell us about the Larry Fedora offense?
LF: I'm about spreading it out and having some fun. I think it's going to be a very fun offense for the players. I think it's going to be primarily one-back with three wide outs and a tight end. We will be very multi-formation wise. If we have a good fullback, which I hear that we have, then we will be more two-back. The good thing about this offense is that we can mold the offense around the talent that we have. That's something that we've been able to do at both the places that we've been with, it is take the talent we have and get something out of it. The kids are going to enjoy it because we will be no huddle and we will be multi-tempo. We change the tempo of when we snap the ball quite a bit to keep the defense off guard.

GP: Plays go in with signals?
LF: All signals.

GP: You have a big group of young quarterbacks, in particular, returning starter Donovan Woods and highly touted Bobby Reid. At Florida you were coaching a young quarterback with similar type talent in Chris Leak. Does that recent experience with Chris Leak help you with teaching the quarterbacks here this spring?
LF: I think so. We had to do some different things with Chris when he came in as a true freshman. He ended up starting for us after the third game that season and has been starting ever since. One thing about offense is that you can only do as much as the guy that is the lowest common denominator, so at one point Chris was and we were restricted with what we could do offensively. As he grew, the offense was able to grow. The good thing about the quarterbacks that are here right now is that they are all starting on the same page. It doesn't matter to me what they did last year or the year before. From this point on it is all about production.

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