Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

“I’ve Drunk the Koolaid!!!”

Posted by admin October - 10 - 2018 - Wednesday

The more college football games that I watch, the more I see the influence that Gus Malzahn and his Delaware Wing T roots have on Offensive Coordinators. I watched my Hokies of Virginia Tech get their “backs broken” by Notre Dame the other night when ND broke a 97 yard run vs. the vaunted Bud Foster defense. Guess what the play was? Buck Sweep left!!! The TB took the ball, started left… stuck his foot in the ground and made that 90 degree cut behind the back-side pulling Guard and went 97 yards UN-touched! It was classic Malzahn “Spread Shotgun Wing T!”

Our offense was always built around a powerful running game. I learned this from my former HC, Lou Holtz. You can throw it around all you want but… when it comes to crunch time, you better have an effective ground game or your chances of winning decrease significantly! We also ran most of our Wing T offense out of the base under-center Delaware formations (100/900 and Red/Blue.) It was effective for us because we mixed in some of the Spread Shotgun Wing T. What I’m realizing is that: even in the 3 years since I retired from coaching, the game (even on the high school level) has evolved. All you see anymore is “spread” offenses. I was opposed to this until I visited practice at my local high school where I used to coach.

They’ve been struggling. The HC is a Double Wing/Wing T guy from way back. The offense was just not clicking. Two weeks ago, he turned over the reigns to one of his assistants and the guy installed the “Spread.” Watching practice yesterday, I saw an energy that was missing a month ago. The kids were running around and everyone was having fun playing up-tempo. Four and 5 wide-outs with motion and shifts. I said to myself, “THIS is what kids like to play these days.” It’s what they see on tv; it’s what they play on their football video games.

My title this week is indicative of the feeling I left the practice field with yesterday: “It’s time to convert! It’s time that I start promoting the Spread version of the Wing T.”

When you can still run multiple formations with lots of shifting and motion, you’re utilizing the principles of Delaware Wing T football. When you can still run buck sweep; trap and waggle/bootleg, you’re utilizing Wing T base plays. One of the beauties of Malzahn’s concepts is having both zone/reach blocking and power/down blocking as integral parts of his run game. Defensive linemen today are so well-coached in “beating the zone/reach” block that when O linemen block down, it looks like the D lineman needs to move with him. That plays right into the down blocking scheme!

Then you add play action passes and a “bombs away” attitude with your drop back game (4 verticals), you have an offense that creates all kinds of problems for DC’s!

I’ve been won over! Yes, I have drunk the koolaid. I’m still a Wing T guy but, I’m sold on the effectiveness of the Spread concepts!

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