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TFD: How marching bands have adapted to fast-paced college football offenses

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • December 5, 2012 - 5:08 PM

Our guy @Fasolamatt sends us to an interesting Grantland piece from a couple days ago. The premise: how have marching bands adapted to fast-paced offenses like the one at Oregon?

No, seriously, check it out. Here's one paragraph:

After the 2009 season in which Kelly became Oregon's head coach, Wiltshire ditched the flipbook on which the songs were written in favor of hand signals. “By the time I flipped a page,” he says, “it was already too late.” Knowing he had to serve two masters — playing faster while still engaging the audience — Wiltshire hit upon a new idea: theme music. Now whenever one of Oregon's star players gets a first down, the band plays the first five chords of a recognizable song: the “Hawaii Five-O” theme for quarterback Marcus Mariota (because he's originally from Hawaii); “Mambo No. 5” for De'Anthony Thomas (because his nickname is “the Black Mamba”); and the “Superman” theme for Kenjon Barner (because he's really good).

Is this esoteric and kind of weird? Yes. but that's what Grantland does with sports, in this case with success.

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