Don Coryell's offense is Jason Garrett's

July, 2, 2010
7/02/10
9:01
AM ET
The passing of former Chargers coach Don Coryell on Thursday reminded many of how his offensive scheme is in playbooks throughout the NFL.

Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett uses large portions of the Coryell offense, passed down to him by Norv Turner, who learned the offense from former offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese, in the Cowboys passing game. Garrett learned about the offense when he was a quarterback with the Cowboys backing up Troy Aikman when Turner was the offensive coordinator in the 1990s.

A book called Blood, Sweat and Chalk: The ultimate football playbook: How the great coaches built today's game, written by Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden, talks to several coaches, players and team executives about how some of the famed offensive and defensive schemes orginated.

The book has a August 3 release date.

In an excerpt, Garrett talked about how he taught Tony Romo the Coryell offense, nicknamed Air Coryell.

"Romo was pretty good from the start," Garrett says in the book. "But we absolutely had to coach him to get away from the center. And we've had to coach receivers to get off the ball. Like Ernie always said: 'Speed, speed, speed.' None of that changes."

The Cowboys use some of the same terminology that the 1990s Cowboys used that was taken of course by the San Diego Chargers teams of the 1970s and 1980s.

"To me, there was so much simplicity in the way it's taught and the way it's learned," Garrett said. "And that goes back to the three-digit system of digitizing the routes. Putting the whole passing game together is just a matter of putting the numbers together. It all flows so naturally."

Said Turner on Coryell's death: "I have the highest regard for him and his impact on the sport. Even though I didn't get a chance to personally work for him, you almost feel as though youdid because of the influence he had on the guys who I learned from, by like Ernie Zampese. He will most definitely be missed."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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