SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers spent a portion of Tuesday afternoon's practice working in the "Wild Dog," a version of the wildcat formation featuring rookie running back and Fresno State Bulldog alum Ryan Mathews taking a direct snap.
The team did so last year as well, emulating a run-based formation made popular by the Miami Dolphins where a running back lines up behind center.
Then it was called the "Wild Frog" in homage to now-departed running back and TCU alum LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran it a year ago.
"The experiences we had with it—especially when you don't use it much—were beneficial," coach Norv Turner said. "We're not going to major in it by any means."
The formation fits Mathews' skill set. The No. 12 overall selection was a running quarterback in high school and can throw fairly well. The Chargers have options within the formation, given that receiver Legedu Naanee was a former quarterback and running back Darren Sproles can run and throw short passes well.
"That's a good formation for us," Turner said. "The thing I learned from watching Miami run it is that when everything gets spread out the back has room to improvise. With Ryan and Darren, we can do some of those things."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.