Originally Published: November 25, 2007
12 Feb 1966
Am very sorry that I have not gotten some material to you on the triple wing back as I promised. We have been getting this office transferred to Bill Murray at Duke and I haven’t had a chance to go into the archives and dig out the materials before going on an extended foreign trip in a few weeks.
The best I can do now is to give you a short resume and development of it and how it evolved. Also the formation and the variations that I used. It never had a good test. We hit a peak with it in 1932 — an 8-1 season — after defeating Princeton 3 years in a row on their own field with it.
I will jot down some illustrations on the enclosed pages.
P.S. The enclosed will give you a rough idea but when I get back I will dig out the orderly material that I know is somewhere.
The idea grew out of the close double wing, we were using it with a balanced line but it would be nearly the same from the unbalanced line. The first play used with a third wing back was the final game in 1928 vs. Colgate. I took the inside blocking back and set him outside the def. left end to block him in on a double reverse that finished up around him. It went from the 16 yd line for a touch down, the first time it was used.
The reverses off tackle went as follows: the front running guard took the place of the inside blocking back on most all inside blocking.
The fake reverse inside tackle was very strong. Sometimes we pulled the guards the opposite way on it.
#1 Back always faked blocking the end on all inside plays and forward passes. He set left as well as right.
The passes were thrown by the #3 back dropping back or by #4 on reverses. #3 would rise up with the ball, fake a pass and run up the middle. This was our draw play.
When the defenses over shifted toward the “setter” we had the following variation — particularly end runs to the short side.
As an illustration the following end run went 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play at Princeton in 1931.
Shifted back with a cross over step and a skip as he landed the ball was passed
Cross over step, then Rt. always facing the line
Fake reverse after the rt. wing back had shifted back.
We hit every hole 2 or 3 different ways, both running from the straight triple wing and with the one man shift.
It is necessary to have a good blocker and faker in the #1 spot, two good running guards.
The strength and advantages:
1. Blocking angles on all defensive players except short side end.
2. Five (5) eligible receivers either on or one yd back from the line of scrimmage.
3. Reverses — single and double very strong — build up the fake reverse with guard going opposite way.
4. Quick passes over the short middle to the #1 man, after the fakes at def. end — very good.
Following pass defeated Holy Cross in 1932 late in game.