T Nation

Return of Single Wing?

Is the old Single Wing offense making a comeback?  Watching Florida beat OSU and Tim Tebow I started thinking that sure lookes like the single wing to me.  Of course teams have been running the shotgun for years to get their passers in the pocket with more time to read defenses.  But I am talking a series of running plays with the ball snapped directly to the runner, pulling gaurds and blocking backs etc.  The only thing missing were the spins and fakes.

Then there was the Pats two point conversion play against the Chargers to Kevin Faulk with Faulk lined up next to Brady and Brady faking the the catch and the ball snapped directly to Faulk. That looked pretty single wingish.

What do ya’ll think? Is this a trend? I think Vince Young would be a natural single wing tailback. Maybe Tennesse will put in more plays designed for Vince to run out of the deep snap?

It’s not really a true single-wing, since there’s no fullback. But I believe that Meyer said back when he was coaching for Utah that the single-wing was an influence. If you look at the running schemes though, I would say it has more in common with the veer, just starting it deeper.

I mean, that basic shotgun inside handoff/qb boot option that everybody runs nows is not that much different than the veer. I think the way you see him use it with Tebow has some single-wing qualities in that the primary ball-carrier is getting the direct snap deep in the backfield. The Carolina Panthers were even running something like this with a direct snap to the tailback after motioning the quarterback wide.

That’s very interesting. I don’t really know anything about Urban Meyer or his coaching career. I wasn’t aware of what the Panthers were doing.

I think you are right it isn’t “true” single wing but more like a Veer with a direct snap. But I’m glad that coaches are starting to think outside the box on these things. I remember reading in Halberstam’s book on Belichick that his assistant Adams may be a sort of single wing afficionado.

I think I have a playbook floating around somewhere on a bunch of the Utah running schemes that Meyer is now running in Florida. Not sure how accurate they are but they seem to be. It’s pretty interesting.

It’s just an obvious (looking retrospectively) way of utilizing talent while covering up for a lack in one area. Just like the West Coast offense optimized certain skill sets while making up for a lack in one area.

The problem is that copycats often try to force a system upon a talent set it’s not condusive to. Or they get pressure from above (like a few years ago in the NFL when every owner was pressuring their coaches into installing the West Coast offense) and get forced to use a certain system because one coach has success with it.

Every now and then you see teams run plays that look similar to the single wing in nature, but aren’t quite there. You see it more so in college where the play-calling can be more creative. Most people don’t even think of it as single wing, they think they are trick plays.

I think a perfect team to run the singe wing was the Atlanta Falcons of a few years ago, when they still had TJ Duckett(they could probably still do it today, I’m just not familiar with their current fullback/blockingback). Imagine Vick as a spinning fullback, Warrick Dunn the wingback, and Duckett ad the blocking back. Their running game would absolutely terrorize the NFL. Between the strength of their individual runners and the unfamiliarity of the single wing they would be very close to being unstoppable.

Anyway, like I said, you actually see single wing, and double wing, tendencies and formations somewhat regularly. There are even some teams that base their offense around these playbooks. However, in the buttoned-up NFL, you only see these plays on occasion as a trick play or a play to change pace. It’s a shame. A team could really put on a show.

[quote]jtrinsey wrote:
I think I have a playbook floating around somewhere on a bunch of the Utah running schemes that Meyer is now running in Florida. Not sure how accurate they are but they seem to be. It’s pretty interesting.

It’s just an obvious (looking retrospectively) way of utilizing talent while covering up for a lack in one area. Just like the West Coast offense optimized certain skill sets while making up for a lack in one area.

The problem is that copycats often try to force a system upon a talent set it’s not condusive to. Or they get pressure from above (like a few years ago in the NFL when every owner was pressuring their coaches into installing the West Coast offense) and get forced to use a certain system because one coach has success with it.[/quote]

Good post. I do think, however, that one advantage the single wing would have, regardless of talent, especially at the NFL level, is the opposite coaches unfamiliarity with it. It would take 3 or 4 games worth of game film just for people to start to understand the plays being ran.

It was interesting to see some of the formations the Saints used last weekend. They had three backs in the backfield with the QB in a kind of arc, rather than a straight line. Almost like a very deepset Veer, as someone above called it.

Of course, it doesn’t do you much good if you abandon the run or drop the ball all the time.

Malonetd

Sounds like you have some familiarity with the single wing?  You're right about the Falcons a few years ago.  That would have been interesting.

Do you think with the speed of modern defenses that the single wing could effectively be run at NFL and D - I college level?  Single wing plays tend to be slow developing plays.  The incredible speed of the modern game might make that tough.

[quote]deputydawg wrote:
Malonetd

Sounds like you have some familiarity with the single wing?  You're right about the Falcons a few years ago.  That would have been interesting.

Do you think with the speed of modern defenses that the single wing could effectively be run at NFL and D - I college level?  Single wing plays tend to be slow developing plays.  The incredible speed of the modern game might make that tough.[/quote]

I still think it could be run successfully. Not only are defenses faster, but offensive players, too. Offensive lineman are bigger, stronger, and faster then ever.

There are also many slow developing plays in use in the NFL every Sunday. Draw plays, screens, reverses. These are all slow developers. I don’t think there would be a problem there.

Also, the single wing has its share of quick hitter, or fast developing plays. In fact, I would say that the fast developing plays are even faster. Many of the run plays in the single wing are direct snap plays with no time wasted with a handoff. No handoff equals a quicker play and less chance for fumble.

I really think the single wing would do well in the NFL with athletes at the highest level running it, but we’ll never see it done as a complete
offensive package because you’re basically eliminating the quarterback position. Yes, there is passing in the single wing, but not the kind of numbers people are used to.

This is why I think it would have been a great fit for Vick and the Falcons. He’s a natural runner with weak passing stats that the owner and fans have come to accept. But he does have the ability to pass and be a threat with the pass.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
Good post. I do think, however, that one advantage the single wing would have, regardless of talent, especially at the NFL level, is the opposite coaches unfamiliarity with it. It would take 3 or 4 games worth of game film just for people to start to understand the plays being ran.[/quote]

Yeah, but that would require an NFL coach to put himself in a situation where he could be blamed for a loss rather than his players. When coaches put on 4th and 2 from their opponents 40 yard line…

[quote]jtrinsey wrote:
malonetd wrote:
Good post. I do think, however, that one advantage the single wing would have, regardless of talent, especially at the NFL level, is the opposite coaches unfamiliarity with it. It would take 3 or 4 games worth of game film just for people to start to understand the plays being ran.

Yeah, but that would require an NFL coach to put himself in a situation where he could be blamed for a loss rather than his players. When coaches put on 4th and 2 from their opponents 40 yard line…[/quote]

You’re right. There’s very few coaches that would do that, especially considering the number of young and first time head coaches in the league. Rare is the coach who, after waiting years and years for his break in the NFL, will choose a completely different approach to the game in his first shot.

I think the only chance for this happening, and this is a very slim chance, is an offensive coordinator who has spent years slowly trying bits and pieces of the offense and tweaking it to make sure it works. Even then, if had spent many years as a coordinator, he might not want to ruffle any feathers either in what may be his only head coaching opportunity.

Still, I would love to see it happen.

[quote]jtrinsey wrote:
malonetd wrote:
Good post. I do think, however, that one advantage the single wing would have, regardless of talent, especially at the NFL level, is the opposite coaches unfamiliarity with it. It would take 3 or 4 games worth of game film just for people to start to understand the plays being ran.

Yeah, but that would require an NFL coach to put himself in a situation where he could be blamed for a loss rather than his players. When coaches put on 4th and 2 from their opponents 40 yard line…[/quote]

Exactly. They are risk averse. Also QB’s are paid too much to risk having them get hurt running the ball even though there are good running QB’s in the NFL.

Malonetd: I would love to see it happen too! I know it works on the High School level but I’ve always wondered about it at higher levels.

We don’t have a pro team here but last year I got a chance to watch Vick play live and he single handedly won the game for the Falcons with his running and passing on the run. Sometimes on TV it is hard to gauge what a difference he makes. But you can see it live. He spreads the secondary out incredibly and freezes corners with his running ability.

It’s called the spread option.[quote]deputydawg wrote:
Is the old Single Wing offense making a comeback? Watching Florida beat OSU and Tim Tebow I started thinking that sure lookes like the single wing to me.