This article was originally posted on Direct Snap Football. Special thanks to Danny Spain for contacting Coach Hicks
The Gulf Coast Offense (GCO) is a hybrid spread no-huddle offense, which allows us to control the tempo of the game while utilizing numerous styles in our attack. We have blended multiple offensive systems into what we think is the future of offensive football. The GCO has taken concepts from many styles including the R&S, wishbone option, single-wing, and others and molded them into a cohesive system that relies on deception. The GCO is willing to take what a defense is giving us and work against its strength. Our staff and myself really have checked our egos at the door, and are not willing to pound a square peg into a round hole. We go into each game with our basic game plan of running and throwing the football. In my Zen mind I believe balance is the best way to attack a defense and a defensive coordinator. The more elements you make a defense have to prepare for and play against, the more distinct an advantage your offense is allowed.
This is where the single-wing has become a huge part of our offense and our success. For years I have been based out of the four wide receivers and one back set which has been a wonderful and simple plan to attack a defense. With the evolution of defenses and the amount of so-called spread offenses, we felt we needed to add another element to our offensive attack.
I went into deep study and discovered the “Yale” or “Beast” formation and immediately added it to our offensive assault, with the thought that it would add a short yardage/goal line addition to our package that we could use only when needed. Well that was the initial plan of attack.
We started by utilizing two plays the wedge and sweep and practiced these throughout fall camp. It was our thought we would use this only if all other options had been utilized, such as a 4th down situation with a touchdown needed immediately. The best-laid plans change quickly and our “Elephant” package, as we call it, was utilized four times in our very first game. We scored two huge touchdowns and picked up two huge first downs. The single-wing had made its way to the Gulf Coast and was quickly becoming a monstrous factor in our success. We had a very good season at Delta State in 2007, leading our conference both in total and rushing offense. The “Elephant” package was a vital part of that success. Throughout our 10-2 conference winning campaign we used this package to score 10 touchdowns (about 25% of our total touchdowns) and pick up numerous drive-continuing first downs. What started as a package that was to be utilized once or twice the whole season became one of our staples in the short yardage/goal line situations. As we started with the wedge and sweep the package grew to have a counter as well as a play-action passing game element. Each week we wanted to force the defenses we were playing to have to prepare for a whole different animal, all the while keeping it fresh for our guys. Our players enjoyed the success of the “Elephant” package and loved it when other teams in our conference started to use variations. The success of the package has us, during the off-season, studying new ways to utilize this formation as well as other single-wing additions to help us try and keep a competitive advantage over our opponents. You can always learn in this profession and it’s amazing to me how much past football knowledge and information has been forgotten. Sometimes you have to be willing to go back to the future to discover that little thing that can take you from being good to being great.
The single-wing and its elements will continue to make its way back into college and even professional football. The advent of spread style offenses are bringing to the forefront athletic and mobile quarterbacks who is a threat by throwing and running the football. With these types of mobile quarterbacks the idea of being able to outnumber your opponents in the box will continue. The single-wing gives a great blueprint on how to attack defenses with deception and power. You are also noticing that teams without a mobile QB are utilizing these formations and plays by using other players as the direct-snap quarterback. Any time you can gain an advantage on a defense it’s a great thing. Football is constantly evolving. For every offensive innovation that comes around defenses are finding answers. The spread offenses are the vogue thing in football right now and for them to continue to be hot, coaches will need to go back in time and study the single-wing offenses and what they offer. That being said, I look for continuing evolution of spread systems to have elements of single-wing football all through them. One must embrace the past to truly understand the future. I have added some clips of our package for you to take a look at. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
OL: Four Point Stances
SB/LG: Outside zone combo
C/RG: Outside zone combo
RT: Outside zone combo
LT/H: Slam block combo to second level
E3: Secure EMOL edge defender
E2: Kick out block on wide edge
E1: lead blocker for QB
QB: Control the snap and follows Elephants on the edge
OL: Four point stances
SB/LG: Wedge block inside
C/RG: Wedge combo
RT/LT/H: Wedge combo inside
E1 & E2: Find first open seam and block opposite color
E3: Find first open seam and block or EMOL crashing
It is the Elephants’ job to clean any opposite color jersey
QB: Control the snap and follows Elephants
Submitted by Darrin Hicks
Assistant Football Coach
Delta State University