germany-flag
Author: Jens Loschke
Originally Published: August 30, 2004

I’m one of the two coaches from the Erlangen Sharks. In Germany we play in spring, so our season is over and I can give you the complete results.

First Game
We won 34-6 against the Bavarian-State Wolverines
We rushed for 230 yards and scored one defensive touchdown.

Second Game
We won 48-0 against the Poppenroth Knights
We rushed for 294 yards and scored 34 points in the first quarter.

Third Game
We won 52-0 against the Knights
We rushed for 544 yards, and held the Knights offense to -13 yards passing.

Fourth Game
We lost 28-18 against the Hof Jokers
We rushed for 343 yards and outgained the Jokers by 100 yards on offense, but we made too many mistakes.

Fifth Game
We lost again 20-12 against the Wolverines
We lost about 80 yards due to bad snaps and rushed for only 75 yards, but we held the Wolverines to -2 yards total offense. We lost because of a bad snap recovered by the defense in our own endzone.

Last Game
We lost 34-0 against the Jokers
The Jokers were just too good that day. We rushed for 85 yards. This was the only game we got fewer total offense than our opponent.

This is the formation of the Goettingen Generals (the other single wing team in Germany. Yes there are only two teams)

Indoor

Here in Germany we got some tournaments (indoor bowls) on indoor basketball fields. 8-man-football, the field: 50-yards long and about 20-yards wide. It’s nice!

Advantage

In Germany the single wing gives you a big advantage. Football in Germany is influenced by the NFL, in the worst way you can imagine. Every team plays I-formation and Spread, I know only one other single wing team and a handful of teams using Double Wing or Wing-T. None of our opponents could name our offense. There are not many coaches here who know what the single wing is all about. So most defenses have no clue how to defend the single wing, and the more they try the more they open up for big plays. Where would I be without it? No wins that’s for sure. The single wing fits our players so well, small linemen, good running backs and no hands!

The Plays

We got the basic package with an unbalanced line.

  1. Off-tackle power
  2. Sweep to long side
  3. Fullback Dive
  4. Fullback and Blocking Back Wedges
  5. Wingback Reverse
  6. Tailback Counter
  7. Sweep Pass
  8. Counter Pass
  9. The Great Wall of China
  10. (We tried a Fullback Spin series, but never really use it)

Where Did I Learn the Offense?

That’s a nice story. I think it was fate. In 2000 I played as player against the Goettingen Generals, the other single wing team in Germany. We got slaughtered 78-18. We scored 18 points because we were bigger, stronger and more players, otherwise it would have been a shutout. In 2001 I bought a book on ebay. The seller called it “Old Football Book”. I bought it for about 15 dollars. I didn’t know what I got and the book landed on my “books-I-will-read-later” list. Half a year later I started reading and realized what I great book I got. I loved the ideas and the offense. The book I’m talking about is “Simplified Single Wing Football” by Ken Keuffel. And the rest is history. I still don’t know how the greatest football book (my opinion) found its way to me. I mean many coaches in the U.S. really want this book and a young coach in Germany got it. Must be fate. The other influence came from Coach Hugh Wyatt and his double wing. I played double wing as a player and coached it in my second year as a coach. And I use Severe Angle Blocking from Coach Gregory.

A story about me…there is one person, that has to be mentioned in this story. My friend, co-coach and mentor Mario Meissner. I’ll tell you my whole coaching/player biography, so you can see why Mario is so important to me.

I started with football in 1999 as a player. Before that I was only a NFL viewer. In 2000 Mario got the job of the defense coordinator. I was playing defense line, so Mario became my coach. This was Mario’s first coaching job. Mario told me if I ever started coaching I should read as many as I could get. Mario got fired in 2001 with 5 games left in the season, not because of his coaching, instead it was a dispute between him and the management.

In 2001 I started coaching. I coached a junior flag team (8-15 years old), and we finished 0-6. Late in the 2001 season I ruined my knee and my time as a player was pretty much over. In the off-season I persuaded Mario to coach the junior flag team with me. He agreed but he wanted to build up a junior tackle team (15-19 years old), too. Together we started a new season. Mario showed me one thing: the means of the internet. I visited the youth coaches forum, Coach Wyatt’s site, Derek Wade’s site and so on. I learned a lot, 1000 times more than I learned as a player.

Mario taught me how to scout a team with game tapes. Together we wrote our playbooks, he taught me that a playbook has to be simple, but complete. He learned how to coach, and I learned from him. That year we finished 3-3 with the junior flag team using the single wing (I read Ken Keuffel’s book that winter, after Mario said I shouldn’t leave a book like this unread). We also finished 3-3 with the junior tackle team using the double wing. And that’s the difference between the two of us — he is a Hugh Wyatt double winger, and I’m the single winger.

In the off-season Mario was fired again because of a me-first coach who wanted our successful junior tackle team after his own adult team went 0-8. Although I wasn’t fired, I left with Mario. We got hired by an adult team in Kummersbruck. We coached the double wing again and I coached the offense backfield. I also put the pads back on and played quarterback for two games and offense line for 4 games. It was a great experience to play in our own offense. We finished 3-6-1 with many injuries on key positions.

After the season with the Kummersbruck Red Devils in 2003, a new team was built in Mario’s hometown Erlangen by two brothers I played with in 2000. They really needed us, (so they said) so we left the Red Devils and we helped build the Erlangen Sharks. This time I could sell the single wing to Mario and we decided to mix Ken Keuffel with some double wing. You know we finished 3-3, but more important is the fact, that the players really identified with the single wing. The idea of old school football is part of our team identity.

The players see themselves as The Meat Grinder because of our strong running game. Mario played linebacker and blocking back this season, so I was alone on the sideline during the games. Mario trusted me to call the games. He trusted me with the single wing. Mario helped me from the beginning to become the coach I am. And he helps me to get better everyday. Mario Meissner is a great coach and friend and I admire him.

Greets,
Jens Loschke