Colin Kaepernick is one of a few young quarterbacks to popularize a new offense in the NFL -- the read-option offense.
Needless to say, the read-option requires a dynamic quarterback, who can not only throw the ball downfield, but can beat a defense with his legs -- which is exactly why 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh elected to anoint Kaepernick the starting quarterback midway through the 2012 season, despite Alex Smith's excellent campaign to date.
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The 49ers didn't always run the read-option offense -- but knew that Kaepernick had success with it while in college. Former Nevada Wolf Pack head coach, Kaerpernick's college coach, Chris Ault spoke about the pistol offense with Petros and Money on Fox Sports radio -- and told listeners how Kaepernick completed the offense.
"At that time it was our third year running it. Kaep took over in the middle of the year and we didn't run the read at that time. We just ran the base power and gap plays and the inside zones and stuff. But we really liked what we saw. And then some of the colleges started picking it up in 2008. It got better and better. And all of a sudden it really hit. And of course Kaep, when we put the read in, it just made everything complete, completed that circle, made us a complete offense."
Kaepernick's numbers at Nevada speak for themselves. In four seasons with the Wolf Pack, Kaepernick threw for 10,098 yards, while rushing for 4,112. Kaepernick threw for 82 touchdowns while throwing just 24 interceptions in four seasons, and added 59 rushing touchdowns.
While Kaepernick's collegiate numbers certainly are gaudy, questions remained about the read-option offense, and if it could translate into success int he NFL.
Ault believes the pistol formation is more than a gimmick, and unlike the wildcat, will have a long shelf life in the NFL.
"I don't think it's going to go away. I think the Pistol formation is gonna stay for a while. I think they can do different things with it. And when I say that there's no question there's a giant smile on my face, and when you see it with a guy like Kaep -- your guy -- running it, it is really special - one of those times in your life that may never come again."
At the least, the pistol formation will stay until defenses figure out a way to effectively stop it. Defenses haven't found the answer for Kaepernick yet, as the San Francisco quarterback threw for 1,814 yards, completing 62.4% of his passes, while throwing 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions in 2012. San Francisco's dynamic quarterback also added 415 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
One more win by Kaepernick this season will not only etch his name into the history books, but it will reserve a special place in history for the pistol offense, which would certainly bring a smile to Ault's face for years to come.