Tip of the Week – December 6

 

My first “tip” involves one of my favorite formations. Where I learned the Wing-T, the HC gave almost all of the formations names that contained an “R” if the TE was to line up on the right side of the line, or an “L” if he was to line up on the left.  The formations were mirror images of each other. Red and Blue were the base formations, and we had Rip/Liz, Rock/Load, and so on. While many teams use different terminology, Red and Blue look the same for a large percentage of Wing-T teams. (see below)

 

………………………………..Red

 

SE…………………..ST..SG..C..TG..TTTE

…………………..HB………..Q……………….WB

……………………………….FB

 

 

…………………………Blue

 

…………TETT..TG..C..SG..ST……………………………SE

…….WB……………….Q………….HB

…………………………FB

 

 

Here is where my “tip of the week” comes in. Since I prefer to run the ball, rather than pass the ball, I added a formation that would help us. (By the way, I am under NO illusions that I invented this formation, but I didn’t copy it from anybody.) Below is a diagram of what I call “Ratso.” (The compliment/mirror is “Bluto.”)

 

………………………ST..SG..C..TG..TT..TTTE

…………………..HB………..Q……………………..WB

……………………………….FB

 

At a glance, it looks just like Red. To a defense, especially the defensive linemen (and maybe linebackers), it still looks like Red. I have taken the SE off the field and put in another offensive lineman. My preferred method of substituting is to take a backup TT and put him in between the starting TE and TT. I tell that “extra” TT that his rules are exactly the same as they always have been, so there is NO NEW LEARNING for him or ANY OTHER lineman. Actually, there is no new learning for anybody. I would have thought that the timing would be an issue for plays like Bucksweep, where the HB now has to run an extra five feet or so, but instinct just kicks in and it was never an issue.

Now, if you don’t put in a backup TT, there may be some teaching involved. During practice, the kids would volunteer enthusiastically when I would ask, “Who wants to be the extra tackle on Ratso?” If the kid played a position other than tight tackle, he DID need the additional instruction. Factor that into your decision to use this formation.

So, what do we have? No additional teaching is involved (usually), and we have spread out the defense another five feet or more. What often opens up is a large hole for the Down play. The 3 technique (DT on the outside shoulder of the TG) will still likely line up on the TG, and the DE will still likely line up on the TE.

 

What if they have seen this on film and are prepared to adjust to the unbalanced formation? Jeff Herron, Camden County (GA) HC and OC spoke about using this formation at the National Wing-T Clinic. Although I had always looked at this formation to use for TE side plays, he said that they focus on this question: When they adjust, what does the backside look like? The DE will likely stay in a five technique on the ST, but what will the weak side DT do? If he shifts down toward the C, then the Belly play has a large hole to go through.

 

To sum up: If they don’t adjust to the unbalanced side, you can take advantage. If they DO adjust, you can take advantage. In any case, you can run Belly and Down versus an even or odd front with just six linemen, so the same defense will be spread out more if you have seven linemen.

 

**Bonus tip: Coach Herron also used another tactic to control the defense with what I have been calling Ratso, is to replace the ST with a second TE. He points out that this has to be a pretty smart player, since he needs to know both TE and ST. Of course, if you use this formation as a part of a limited package, then the “extra” TE might only need to know four or five plays.

 

………………………TE..SG..C..TG..TT..TTTE

…………………..HB………..Q……………………..WB

……………………………….FB

 

Why do this? If you have a well-coached defense, and they see that you have that ST on the end of the LOS, then the Safety will probably slide over toward the TE side (more eligible receivers). If they see an eligible number (the TE) where the ST would normally be, then the astute Safety will probably stay in the middle. This will aid your strong side attack. What if he still slides over, not recognizing/respecting the backside TE? You can still execute your weakside run game, or you can send the TE out into passing routes.

 

Earlier, I mentioned that I implemented the use of this formation to improve the running game. Can you still effectively pass from this formation? Certainly! If they pack the box with defenders to try to shut down the run, you can call a play action pass and take advantage of their positioning. Without taking Coach Herron’s advice (TE replaces ST), you still have Down KP, Waggle TE, Bunch Pass, and more to the TE side. If you DO replace the ST with a TE, then you get the additional crossing pattern by the TE from the weak side to the strong side on the passes I just mentioned, as well as opening up weak side pass plays, with that TE running the SE’s routes. (This becomes more complicated with regards to blocking, since the TE is leaving and not blocking like the ST would.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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