Author: Ted Seay
Originally Published: September 2, 2005

Some arguments to make with skeptics…

Anyone who subscribes to the idea that “different is better” in football will, sooner or later, be faced with someone who just doesn’t get it. The more different the scheme, the sooner you will probably face this response. In the case of the single wing offense, the average time is roughly 10 minutes into your first practice.

Seriously, there are always going to be armchair quarterbacks who ask dumb questions about the oldest offense in modern football (dating from 1906, the first year after Teddy Roosevelt mandated changes to the old style of football). In order to prepare to deal with these geniuses (or even to answer innocent and intelligent questions from parents), I offer the following outline:

Different is better

  • The Single Wing is Waaaaayyy different
  • Even with John T. Reed’s book, the single wing is still a highly unusual offense to encounter in youth football
  • The mechanics of the offense are radically different from the usual I formation/wishbone/fullhouse T attacks
  • The unbalanced-line version of the single wing (UBSW), which I am focusing on here, is even harder for defenses to adapt to (although it also requires some adaptations on offense in the form of consistent rule blocking)

Brings Order to Chaos

  • The UBSW is designed to attack the strongside off-tackle hole
  • Everything else in the offense should be an adjustment to defensive attempts to shut down the strongside off-tackle hole
  • Counter to wingback
  • Sweep/Optional Running Pass (ORP)
  • Wedge
  • Play action pass
  • This is even more true from within the various misdirection series with which the UBSW is blessed
  • Full spin
  • Half spin
  • Buck lateral
  • The end result should be far less grab-bagging when calling plays on offense

The Power of the Built-In Bunch

  • Promotes Pre-Packaged Passing — with the TE, WB and BB all within 5 yards of each other, pass plays that cross these three receivers are easy to execute and require no motion or shifting
  • Complicates Defensive Coverage — the proximity of the three potential receivers makes the job of man-to-man coverage nearly impossibly, and threatens to immediately flood zone coverage
  • Makes Mechanics Much More Simple — the quick throws to the strongside flat are much, much simpler for developing young passers to make. The Bunch does not depend on the ability to throw the 15-yard out to a wide receiver for its success

So there you have it — the bare bones of the argument for the superiority of the UBSW as a youth offense. It is different/contrarian, its design lends itself to sequenced play calling, and it contains the hidden, built-in Bunch to make passing easier and more effective, even for the youngest teams.

And if all else fails, tell them you got the idea from Urban Meyer…