Author: Ted Seay
Originally Published: March 14, 2005

The American Boy, 1916

Part 1

The following plays and descriptions were taken directly from the October, 1916 edition of The American Boy magazine. I will be reproducing a couple of plays and their descriptions, by some of the greatest coaches of the first two decades of modern football, on a regular basis for Direct Snap. This week’s plays feature direct snap offensive plays from the punt formation. (Note: Although this week’s plays are no longer legal, future contributions will focus on plays that can still be run under current rules.)

A Deceptive Series Maneuver
By Glen Scobey Warner, former coach of Carlisle Indians, Head Coach at University of Pittsburgh (sic)

The following play, or rather series of two plays, has scored touchdowns for my teams in important games, on long runs from our own territory and is one of the best football maneuvers that can be devised. The plays should only be used on first and second downs because if used on third or fourth down and it should not happen to work, it would lose the ball on downs.

The signal can be given as for any other play, but the players understand that the numbers called indicate that the two plays are to be pulled off in quick succession without any further signal for the second play.

The players line up after hearing the signal in punt formation. The first play is a quick opening play between the opponent’s right guard and tackle. This is a good play in itself and may result in a good gain, but the main object of this play is to give the rest of this team to very quickly get into position for the next play, which is pulled off before the opponents realize what is going on. The first play is chosen because there are practically only three men needed in the play (the runner and the two men opening the hole) and all the other players need to do is to run quickly into position for the next play. The upper diagram shows the first play and what each man should do.

Center passes the ball to the left halfback, who shoots straight through between his own left tackle and guard, who open a hole for him. The other players run as indicated, being careful not to run ahead of the man with the ball.

Supposing the runner is downed when his run terminates in an arrowhead [That is, where the line showing his run stops in the diagram], the other players should be in the positions indicated by the other arrowheads, left tackle and guard moving into position after opening their hole for the runner. The runner in the first play acts as center and himself passes the ball to the runner for the second play. He can pass the ball between his legs as a center ordinarily does, or, better still, he can pass it to his right side, leaving his position at the same time to back up the play. The second diagram shows how the second play of the series should be worked.

Right end and one of the backs line up against the opponent’s left and the five center men keep close together. Left end comes around into position on the first play and he and the other back and the left guard and tackle make interference for the runner, who makes a sweeping run to the right.

Next time: A trick punt play, and power off-tackle from the single wing.

Ted Seay