Category Archives: Offense

Ideas From Inside the Tulsa Formation

This article was originally posted on Direct Snap Football.

Adam asked me a couple of months ago to write few words about the Tulsa Box, and I am committed to that, but I thought I would take you on a little detour for a few moments and give you a little background on my “drug” habit. I have been following the Single Wing since the winter of 1995 when I was coaching at the local middle school in my hometown. Once discovered, I spent more time tinkering and drawing plays, formations, and entertained just about every crazy idea that popped into my skull.

I mostly blame my mother-in-law for the obsession because it was during the spring when she told me that she had located John Aldrich’s book, The Single Wing and the Spinning Fullback at a high school in York, PA of all places. I kept the book on inter-library loan for weeks and it didn’t take me long to create and install a brief version complete with simplistic blocking rules, and a couple of formations. The results were nothing short of remarkable. My kids played extremely well and they loved the Single Wing!

The end result of my initial work was being offered a job at the varsity level with a new incoming head coach. He was the freshman coach and we scrimmaged each other on a few occasions. Our kids battled each other and I tried to stick it to him every chance I got. He took my aggression in good stride and approached me about my methods, my results, and convinced me that I would make a good varsity coach. He was wrong! I was awful because his system was not sound, I was too outspoken about the Single Wing, and because I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut; we endured a beating that season. My undermining was a big reason why we finished 0–10. In our last game we dressed 28 kids against one of the best teams in the mid-state and were shellacked 72–0, including a sophomore girl kicking the last 5 PATs. We needed binoculars to see the opposing 20-yard line. To this day, I remember the feeling of embarrassment as we crossed the field to shake hands. I was dying inside because the program I loved and had played for as a kid, was crumbling, and I couldn’t stop it. Continue reading Ideas From Inside the Tulsa Formation

Bruce Eien – Fat Formation

Coach Eien has always given freely of his materials and has long been known as a Single Wing Guru on the west coast of the country. And since his Fat Formation Video Playbook has been one of the most popular blog posts in the history of this website, I decided recently that I should reach out to Coach Eien and ask if he would be willing to write a little more in-depth article about this very simple yet powerful offensive system.  And not only was he willing to write up an article, but he KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK.  Sure you can find most of these concepts spread out around the internet as well as on his Fat Formation Blog, but I havent seen it all consolidated into such a nice concise little article.

Basic FAT Formations

The two basic formations are Single and Double Fat. The main advantage to Single Fat is the same player is always the kick out block.  This allows for a bigger, stronger player to be the lead block and allow for a faster, shiftier player to play in the backfield as a blocker and runner.  The main advantage of Double Fat is it adds a FB game with a lead blocker for the Power and Sweep Plays.

Single Fat

Formation 1 - Single Fat 

Double Fat

Formation 2 - Double Fat 

Basic FAT Running Plays

The base plays are enough for an entire offense.  There is a combination of power, speed, misdirection and play action passing.  The base run plays are Blast, Power, Sweep, Wham (Counter) and Shooter (Wedge). The defense cannot effectively cover all the areas these plays hit.  The main objective in play calling is find where they are weak and exploit that area.

Blast

Run Play 1 - Blast Continue reading Bruce Eien – Fat Formation

Elephant Package – Gulf Coast Offense

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.

Elephant-1

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. Continue reading Elephant Package – Gulf Coast Offense

Howard Jones Birdcage Shift

This article was originally posted on Direct Snap Football. 

I am taking the opportunity to write about Howard Jones. This great coach is one of my favorite single wing coaches. I will discuss and illustrate his “Birdcage Shift”. His teams shifted into numerous formations from the “Birdcage”.

Jones is one the few to coach teams at 3 different schools to undefeated seasons. In fact, does any one know another coach who did this feat? (Direct Snap note: Gil Dobie did the feat at North Dakota State, Washington and Cornell) Jones’ 1909 Yale team, 1921 and 1922 Iowa teams, and many USC teams went undefeated. Jones’ USC teams were 5-0 in the Rose Bowl. This feat by his teams earned Jones the nickname “King if the Rose Bowl”.

Jones use unique terminology in his single wing system. He called the traditional single wing tailback the “quarterback.” Mark Bliss is a coach who does the same as Jones. I may be mistaken, but I believe Jim Ahern uses this term, too. Jones called the traditional single wing blocking back the “left halfback” or “inside halfback”. Jones called the traditional single wing wingback the “right halfback” or “outside halfback.” Jones called the left guard or inside guard the “running guard”. This is due to the fact that he pulled on nearly every play.

The “Birdcage Shift” allowed Jones’ teams to shift into numerous formations prior to the pause before the snap of the ball. A glaring drawback to shift was the inability to snap the ball on a quick count. This was due to not starting out with seven men on the line of scrimmage. You started out with only four men on the line of scrimmage. There are four other men who are stacked behind the first line of four men. The remaining three men are stacked at the top of the 4-4-3 configured “birdcage”. Continue reading Howard Jones Birdcage Shift

Double T – Double Trouble

This article was originally posted on Direct Snap Football. 

“Revolutionary Football” — 1953

By Herbert “Swede” Phillips

With the defense rapidly catching up with the T formation offense, some coaches are turning to the single wingback formation, substituting power and deception for speed and quickness. Others will seek variations of the T; such as, the spread T, or the T with two quarterbacks — the Double T. This last-named formation is the one with which I have experimented extensively and to which I turned when my regular brand of T proved to be too weak.

Long before the inimitable Frank Leahy stated that the Double T is the trickiest football formation now known, several coaches in this section were experimenting with this tricky yet powerful offense. Besides the author, several of these strategies are Paul Vespa (Herndon, Virginia High School), Ed Shockey (Dobbyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport, Tenn.), Vassa Cate (Waycross, Georgia, High School). W.J. kirksey (Jonesboro, Georgia, High School), Maxwell Ivey (Atlanta, Georgia, Murphy High School), and Tom Nugent (Now at FSU).

Since very little has been published about this formation, each of these coaches has arrived at his theories and devised plays more or less independent of all others. Before talking to any of the others or reading the little that has been written on this offense, I drew up a series of plays with two quarterbacks and conducted a spring practice using this offense only. The results were very satisfactory. In three scrimmages with other schools (then legal), we found most of our plays very effective. By typing the unsuccessful plays, checking with the boys, talking to other Double T men of my acquaintance, and re-reading the Vespa (Southern Coach and Athlete, Oct., ‘46) and Shockey (Southern Coach and Athlete, Nov., ‘47) articles, I was able to establish principles which have since served as a workable basis for a deceptive, powerful offense. Here they are:

I. Place all pressure upon one sector of the defense. My first idea was to run every play the same way to both sides at the same time as if it might be in duplicate. We even called them double dive, double quickie, double cross buck, double pass. It soon became apparent that the defense caught on to this much faster than they did to the others for it played each side separately. When I began to put all the pressure to one side, the offense ran much better. Continue reading Double T – Double Trouble