Tag Archives: football

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.


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

The Spinner S’Wing T Offense

This article was originally posted on Direct Snap Football. 

After 22 years as the Head Football Coach at Western Branch High School here in Chesapeake, VA, I retired after the 2006 season. We ran the Delaware Wing T offense for the last 19 years of my career and had great success with it. I even created a spread shotgun version of the Wing T that proved to be highly successful for us the last 6 years that I coached Varsity.

I took the 2007 season off but found myself missing working with the kids. The rest of the headaches were not something I missed but the daily interaction with the players made me hungry to get back into coaching. A friend of mine, who was also a former coach, is the Principal at our local middle school. He offered me the opportunity to get back into coaching at that level. My pastor calls it: “Football Lite… less filling!” I get all the fun of working with teenagers with a minimum of the stress and aggravation that comes with coaching at the high school level.

Upon being hired, I decided that this was going to be “fun” so we were going to run a “fun” offense. After consulting several Single Wing coaches and web sites (especially this one, Direct Snap), I came up with a concept where I combined the plays and blocking rules of Delaware Wing T football with the principles of the Single Wing attack. Thus, the moniker Spinner S(ingle)’ Wing T offense.

I would like to share some of the basics that we used and if you are interested, contact me via email and we can talk more.


We ran an unbalanced line (with the unbalanced to the right only) with a wide receiver to that side. Our splits were 6 inches, which meant basically foot to foot! The SE’s width was anywhere from 5 yards from the “Power Tackle” to 15 yards wide.  Our TE aligned to the weak side and was an eligible receiver. Continue reading The Spinner S’Wing T Offense

Triple Wing

This article was originally posted on Direct Snap Football.

12 Feb 1966

Dear Bill:

Am very sorry that I have not gotten some material to you on the triple wing back as I promised. We have been getting this office transferred to Bill Murray at Duke and I haven’t had a chance to go into the archives and dig out the materials before going on an extended foreign trip in a few weeks.

The best I can do now is to give you a short resume and development of it and how it evolved. Also the formation and the variations that I used. It never had a good test. We hit a peak with it in 1932 — an 8-1 season — after defeating Princeton 3 years in a row on their own field with it.

I will jot down some illustrations on the enclosed pages.

Sincerely Yours,
D.O. McLaughry

P.S. The enclosed will give you a rough idea but when I get back I will dig out the orderly material that I know is somewhere.

The idea grew out of the close double wing, we were using it with a balanced line but it would be nearly the same from the unbalanced line. The first play used with a third wing back was the final game in 1928 vs. Colgate. I took the inside blocking back and set him outside the def. left end to block him in on a double reverse that finished up around him. It went from the 16 yd line for a touch down, the first time it was used.


Continue reading Triple Wing