Preparation

You’ve decided to make the change. How do you do it? What do you do to prepare yourself AND your assistant coaches?

The story of my “journey” toward Wing-T knowledge is not much to listen to, but it was an important process for me. When I finally felt like I had a good understanding of the offense, I could look back and see what worked, and what didn’t.

 

**To introduce yourself to the Wing-T and its concepts, I will suggest that you prioritize 1-3 below. After you know the basics, consider the later points.

 

In short, here is what I think that YOU (the decision maker) need.

 

 

  1. Read The Delaware Wing-T: An Order of Football by Tubby Raymond and Ted Kempski, both of the The Wing-T from A to Z books by Denny Creehan, or both. Coach Creehan’s books came later, so they read a lot like the Raymond/Kempski book, but are a little more polished. Both break down the philosophy of the offense, detail plays, discuss play calling, and so on. While An Order of Football is considered the “bible” of the Wing-T, I found the A to Z books just as valuable. (Substantially cheaper, as well.)

 

 

Dave McDonald, Gerry Gallagher, Tom Herman, and Brian Gallagher

 

  1. Acquire the DVD set detailing Tom Herman and Dave McDonald’s “National Wing-T Camps.” Depending on when the set was updated, it will contain eight or ten DVDs. There is no substitute for learning from an expert in person, but these DVDs are the next best thing. There is a “chalk talk” where a play is diagrammed vs. an odd and even front, with coaches discussing each player’s assignment. After that, the camera follows players to their position groupings for individual drills and play installation. From detailing each play to seeing many specific drills for each position, this DVD set is invaluable.

 

  1. Get to one of the “National Wing-T Camps.” Tom Herman and Dave McDonald host camps in Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and elsewhere. The DVDs that I mentioned are filmed at these camps.

 

The instructors at the camp begin with a chalk talk for you and your coaches. One play at a time is drawn up against an odd and even front. Generally, Tom Herman will explain the assignments and rules for the offensive line, Gerry Gallagher will then detail the backfield action of the RBs, and Dave McDonald lays out the QB’s action.

 

After a couple of plays have been covered, it is time for practice. Player groups go with their respective instructor for fundamentals, drills, and play installation. While the camp instructors are coaching, you and your coaches will be watching and learning. They do a very professional job of covering all of the details. Which foot do you step with, and why? You will know. Where EXACTLY do you line up? You will hear it from them. If you want to ask, “Why?” then you will find what you are looking for.

 

Following practice with the camp instructors, time is allotted for individual schools to have team time. Pioneer HS, in Indiana, brings three full offensive squads to the camp at Trine University. Some middle schoolers, freshmen, and upper classmen attend each year, receiving the same (basically the same) instruction, so that each player gets better at his fundamentals each year. At the same time, Pioneer’s coaches attend each year, growing in knowledge like the players. Once the Panthers get together as a team at camp, and once they go back home, they use their own terminology and make their own tweaks to the way the Wing-T is taught at Tom and Dave’s National Wing-T Camp. For example, they run out of a two TE set, rather than having one TE and one SE.

 

This process of chalk talk, individuals, and then team time repeats itself over the course three days. By the end, your players have a solid knowledge of about ten plays, which would be PLENTY (maybe too many) for a team that would be installing the Wing-T for the first time. You would not have any of the bells and whistles like a no huddle offense, shifting, trading, various motions and formations, etc., but those can be added as your kids are ready.

 

I have attended their camps six times. I have taken one or two coaches at a time, eventually getting five other coaches to go over the years. I tell them going in that they should try to copy the camp coaches as much as possible. Once we get back home, I want to see Tom Herman’s offensive line instruction and Gerry Gallagher’s backfield instruction. We are going to run Bucksweep and Keep Pass THEIR way.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, my website and the advice I give are intended to help coaches who are new to the Wing-T and who are going to install it from scratch. I am sure that anyone who made a go of it for a year and did not get the desired results, but still believes in the offense, will benefit from my experiences. If you want to start it out right, and have all of the coaches and players on the same page, then I’d advise you to copy the camp coaches. Once you really feel comfortable about your personal level of expertise, then you should put your own twist on things. (This is not to say that you can’t use your judgment at any time when you feel comfortable/uncomfortable about anything.)

 

  1. Go to clinics with your staff. Clinics can be a great opportunity to get away from home and bond with the staff. In my opinion, this opportunity to get to know one another is invaluable. Additionally, you have the chance to learn new information and variations that could fit well with your system. Other benefits can include networking with other coaches, including college coaches.

Setting aside your smart choice to run the Wing-T as your offense, you do still need a defense, and the variety of topics covered at many large clinics will help you decide which one fits your philosophy, or the philosophy of your defensive coordinator.Special teams will also need to be a priority, and clinics can provide you some ideas to give your team an edge.

Glazier clinics often have a speaker or two who focus on the Wing-T and cost about $100 per coach, and a whole staff can go for about $350. They are like a buffet of knowledge, offering a little bit of everything. I seriously doubt that you can come away from attending a clinic talk with enough information to make sweeping changes to what you do, but you could come away with a better idea of what you’d like to do.

  1. Message Boards:

bucksweep.com has a section dedicated exclusively to the Wing-T. There you will find questions and answers posed by coaches at ALL levels. There is no “drama” at all on this board, ever. “Noob” questions are treated with respect. Just lurking on this board this board will ramp up your knowledge level.

coachhuey.com is a much larger site than bucksweep.com. There is a wide variety of sections, including offense, defense, youth football, rules and regulations, etc. Most of these are broken down into more specific subsections. My tip: learn to use the “Search” function before posting a question.

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