Author: Eric Strutz
Originally Published: July 2nd, 2004

8 Reasons Why The Single Wing is Superior to Other Youth League and High School Offensive Systems

  1. It is Radical. Odds are good that no one else in the league runs anything remotely like it. That makes it hard to prepare for. On top of that, how much luck do you think the opposing team will have simulating it in practice with their scout team? Since nearly all the books on this offense are out of print, it’s a major challenge to get information on how to defend it.
  2. It is Tested. Coaches have been developing, refining and polishing the single wing offense for nearly a century. How many offenses can you say that about? You can run more effective and complimentary series out of one or two formations with the single wing than perhaps any other offense. Considering the fact that so few teams run the single wing, the number that have recently won high school state championships (or have placed in the top four with it is nothing short of amazing. Plus, there have been many single wing youth teams winning championships and breaking scoring records in recent years.
  3. It is Powerful. In the single wing, players are not wasted just taking the snap and handing off. Everyone is either a blocker or carries out a meaningful fake. What play could possibly be more powerful than the single wing tailback wedge, a 9-man wedge with the fullback as a lead blocker? How about a weak side power play with 5 lead blockers? And in the single wing, the power sweep is really the POWER sweep.
  4. It Promotes Toughness and a Team First Attitude. Since there are no prima donna positions like quarterback and wide receiver, there are no excuses for any player’s failure to make the block he is assigned to make. Physical and mental toughness is demanded of everyone. You are not forced to have the quarterback be the field general. The natural leaders on the team can assume the leadership roles regardless of their position.
  5. It is Deceptive. The single wing coaches of yester-year invented the hidden ball trick. The ball handler (which could be any of the backs) does not need to stick the ball into the belly of a runner that he is faking to. On most single wing fakes he has his back turned to the defense and the other back(s) carry out the fakes. Single wing misdirection plays are legendary, and with wrong-way blocking schemes you can make it nearly impossible for the defenders to read keys. Plus, you have the unique element of snap deception, where the defense’s attention is drawn to player(s) who never even touch the ball on the play. On top of that, the play action passing is especially deceptive because you will naturally use players at 3 (maybe even 4) positions as passers.
  6. It Can Bring Exceptional Striking Power Anywhere Along the Defensive Front. The tailback half spin and shallow motion series can bring tremendous power to the weak side in a hurry. The tailback half spin is essentially a jet sweep, fullback delay, waggle combination with a snap deception quick fullback wedge to go with it. The single wing power series can attack the strong side directly both outside and off-tackle and the wedge plays up the middle can be almost unstoppable.
  7. It Forces Radical Adjustments. Since in the normal single wing formation there are seven players on the offensive strong side, the defense cannot line up in their base set. If they do, they will be overpowered. Even if they shift everyone over by one man, they are still numerically inferior on the strong side. The degree to which you force adjustments creates situations where the defense will eventually make an adjustment that is unsound, leaving them wide open for a direct attack at their weakest point.
  8. It is fun! What is more fun than having your backs running untouched through the secondary because the defenders cannot find the ball? What gives a team more confidence than knowing that they will not be stopped in a short yardage situation? What kid does not get a huge level satisfaction out of daring to be different, being part of a unique team, carrying on one of football’s greatest legacies and dominating on the field in the process?

Eric Strutz