That offense looks familar to me
Dec. 8, 2000
I remember earlier this season watching Delta State destroy West Alabama in football.
I remember thinking that either the Delta State offense was one of the best I had ever seen or the West Alabama defense was the worst I had seen.
I also remember thinking there was something all-too familiar about the potent attack which equally utilized the pass and the option attack.
Well after some further review, I would have to say that the offense may have been one of the best I've ever seen and yes it did look familiar.
I have to admit that I totally missed the boat on this one.
I sat through the whole game and missed it. I missed it the rest of the regular season and through last week's NCAA Division II semifinal contest.
Then late Saturday night, I was breezing through the Delta State media guide and it jumped out at me. Hey, isn't that Mark Hudspeth? Didn't he used to coach at Winston Academy? I didn't know he was the offensive coordinator.
If this were a cartoon, you would see the big light bulb going off over my head as it all came together.
A long road
Hudspeth has come a long way in a short time and seems to be one of the country's most talented offensive minds.
Hudspeth played his high school ball at Winston Academy in Louisville. Like many academy players, Hudspeth wasn't highly recruited out of high school but Delta State thought enough of him to offer him a scholarship. He started at quarterback his senior year.
He got his coaching start at Central Arkansas as a graduate assistant, coaching linebackers in 1992 and wide receivers in 1993.
He moved to Nicholls State in 1994 and coached wide receivers and running backs in 1995. Talk about another miss. I was at Thibodeux in 1994 when Nicholls beat West Alabama 77-7.
After Nicholls, Hudspeth reached a crossroads in his coaching career. His home school came calling at Winston to help bring the Patriots back to their past glory.
Heck, I even remember Hudspeth calling me and telling about all the things he was going to do at Winston. Of course, he was right. Winston went 25-1 in his two years there and won a state championship and the school's only undefeated season.
After two seasons at Winston, Central Arkansas came calling again and he went back to coach defensive backs, where the Bears had the best backfield in the GSC.
Then Steve Campbell was hired at Delta State and he offered Hudspeth the offensive coordinator job. Finally, the circle was complete, for the second time.
Here and now
After a 6-4 season last year, Delta State is one game away from a national championship with one of the most balanced offenses in the country.
With the Statesmen run through the regular season and playoffs, Hudspeth is certain to be a hot commodity. But that is the furtherest thing from his mind.
But don't be surprised if in the next couple of years that Hudspeth lands a head coaching job somewhere. And don't be surprised when he starts winning.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.