Wing-Bone Offfense

The topic I am discussing is the wing-bone offense and its advantages/disadvantages.  During my final season as a coach (thus far), we experimented with this offense and had much greater success over the previous years (running flexbone).  We improved offensive output by over 40 yards/game and scored a touchdown more per game.

To sum up the offense:  It most resembles a Paul Johnson style flexbone team.  On top of that, we have split-back aspects (outside veer to a split back to the TE side) and the ability to become a 2 back offense and take advantage of a talented tight end.  My particular style of wing-bone bases out of the following formation(s).

fig 1

At first glance this looks like wing-T, but the principles are very different.  Again, it is a hybrid between flexbone and splitbacks.  The personnel should have a slot type at Z, a flexbone type B-back, and your best pure running back at A.  You could have an H-back type at Z and use A as pitch both ways when running inside veer.  The formation is balanced numerically, which allows you to attack the numbers and angles simultaneously.  Also, the formation (typically) sets the front and simplifies playcalling.  Our Z is 1 yard off the tackle with his inside foot splitting the crotch of the tackle.  Our B-back’s heels are 4 yards off the ball and A-back’s heels are 5 yards off the ball.  This was for the best possible timing on our dive reads as well as allowing the A-back to more easily motion (for rocket toss) and get the ball on straight hand-offs.  Additionally, I teach point mesh which makes it much easier to have multiple positions meshing with quarterbacks.

We motion the Z several ways:

  1. Tail motion (similar to flexbone)
  2. Flat motion to a pro formation (Could be a Jet team – similar to Army, but we were not)
  3. Flat motion to wide twins
  4. Counter or “Twirl” motion (similar to flexbone)

Giving us the following formations with motion (or can be called without having to motion to them):

fig 2fig 3

fig 4

Obviously, all of these formations can be called to the left as well.

The running game consists of 3 series:

  1. Option series
    1. Inside veer with B as the dive and A/Z as pitch.
    2. Outside veer with A as the dive and B as a blocker or pitch (depending on the personnel).  Could also use Z as pitch if you run B downhill as a blocker.

i.      We usually flat motioned to pro and blocked the force with B but changed it up during the game.

  1. Midline with B as dive.  Many tags can be used to change who you insert as a blocker into B-gap.
  2. Zone dives off of inside veer action and outside veer action + Qb follows off of each.
  3. Counter option and counter trap.
  1. Belly series
    1. Belly iso or Belly G to B
    2. Belly option with Down/log blocking (against squeeze and scrape teams) or outside veer blocking
    3. Counter trey off of belly action to Z or A
  1. A-back series
    1. Quick pitch/rocket toss – Same play for us, just depends on where the A-back is in the formation
    2. Power

One thing to notice is that the TE and A are “married” and are always on the same side of the formation, allowing us to have all 3 dive read plays with the best angles possible.  Midline and inside veer with a B-back (similar to flexbone) and outside veer with a split back (similar to Splitback).  This allows us to attack all different defenses with “option-on-me” in a hurry-up style.

So the advantages of this offense are:

  1. A numerically balanced base formation
  2. The best angles on all 3 option plays (midline, inside, and outside veer)
    1. This allows you to put defensive linemen in a lot of conflict.  Will I be double teamed?  Will I be a read?  Will I be reached? Will I be trapped?
    2. Capability to be a 2 back, 3 back, or 1 back offense
    3. The formation typically sets the front, allowing you to attack the shade with inside veer, 3 technique with midline, and 4’s, 4i’s, and double eagle with outside veer.
    4. The “strength of the formation” is actually to the split end side.  This is because no motion is needed to run inside veer.  However, this is typically where we get the shade and therefore the best angle to run inside veer.

Disadvantages are:

  1. The Z position has a lot of skills and techniques to learn.  They must be a flanker, a wide twins receiver, and a flexbone slotback.  You can use a tight end/fullback type here and treat the offense as a 2-back offense.
  2. The box is crowded in the base formation and the quarterback must be able to throw playaction.
  3. Less threat of 4 vertical receivers (although if A is quick, he can get into the 4th seam pretty quickly)
  4. It is more involved formationally and rules for inside veer to one side are not exactly the same as to the other (although they are still simple).


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