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The Single Wing Offense, Hottest Thing Going Now Even in the NFL

The Single Wing Offense, Hottest Thing Going Now Even in the NFL
The Single Wing Offense, Hottest Thing Going Now Even in the NFL

The Single Wing Offense is the Hottest Thing In Football Right Now

Single Wing Football is growing by leaps and bounds at the youth level, but how about all the buzz about it now at the High School, College and even NFL levelall What’s this all about? Sports Illustrated even did a very flattering piece on the Single Wing in their December 2008 Issue.

Why Now?

Much of this newfound attention can probably be attributed to the “TV” factor. Most coaches are copycat innovators, they see something that works, the modify it a bit to what they are doing now or the personnel they have in place and viola a new “Single Wing” series is born. Ten years ago the only Single Wing teams you would ever see on TV were in High School State Championship games on local TV. If you were real lucky you could get a coveted VHS copy of a youth team running the offense in some far away land. Thank goodness those days are gone. Now we have u-tube and message boards where you can see lots of youth and High School teams running the Single Wing offense. But what is more important than the proliferation of successful High School and Youth teams running the Single Wing is the “Saturday-Sunday” factor.

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The “Saturday Sunday Effect”

Many coaches, parents and players don’t think an offense is “legitimate” until they see their favorite College or NFL teams running the offense. It’s a “gimmick” offense until they see it on TV. Todays offensive guru/mad scientist of college football is a man by the name of Urban Meyer. If you look at the interviews he has given about his offense he’s an unabashed Single Wing man from his early days at Bowling Green. At Bowling Green he had a player by the name of Josh Harris, a tailback Meyer moved to “QB” in his Senior season. Harris lead the country in scoring for most of that season.

Well now coach Meyer has significantly more talent as the Head coach of the Florida Gators and what is he doing? He’s running the Single Wing with his Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow at the controls even resurrecting a few old time Single Wing favorites including the Jump pass.

The Single Wing got huge TV exposure last year with the Heisman race, It came down to two players that were both classic Single Wing Tailbacks, Tim Tebow and Darren McFadden from Arkansas.

Who Has Joined the Mini Band Wagon?

Some other college teams using the Single Wing this year:

  • Clemson: The call it the “Stallion” with running backs James Davis and CJ Spiller taking snaps.
  • Missouri; They call it Rucker right and Rucker left, getting the ball to Tight End Martin Rucker. Missouri did the same with Wide Out Jeremy Maclin.
  • Nebraska- They call it the “Joker” with running back Marlon Lucky taking snaps, He has even thrown a Jump pass for a TD this season.
  • Pitt: They call it the Wildcat with running back LeSean McCoy taking snaps.
  • California: Running back Justin Forsett taking direct snaps including 2 for touchdowns against Arizona.
  • Colorado- Rack-Luck is what they call it, with running back Demetrius Snyder taking direct snaps.
  • Georgia Tech- Running back Tashard Choice taking direct snaps.
  • Miami- Running back Graig Cooper taking direct snaps.
  • Texas A&M- The J-Train, with running back Javorskie Lane taking snaps.
  • Mississippi- Houston Nutt calls his the “Wild Rebel”

So having just two teams, Florida and Arkansas running the Single Wing in 2008 has spawned an entire flock of college teams utilizing the Single Wing offense at least part of the time just one year later.

Even the NFL Follows

But the biggest proliferator of the Single Wing probably has to go to the former hapless Miami Dolphins. After a 1-15 season last year, the Dolphins are just one game out of the lead in their Division this season. More importantly, the Dolphins unveiled their version of the Single Wing offense to break the New England Patriots 15 game regular season win streak. Putting running back Ronnie Brown at the Single Wing “Quarterback” position and putting Quarterback Pennington in the Slot. Brown ran for 4 touchdowns off of direct snaps and even threw for a touchdown pass against the befuddled Patriot defense.

This didn’t turn out to be a one hit wonder, as the Dolphins have continued to use their “Wildcat” series in every game since unveiling it against the mighty Patriots. What did we see in coming weeks out of other NFL teams? More Single Wing series plays from the Ravens, Bears and Jets to name just a few.

The Youth Football Implications

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What does this mean to you as a youth coach? The Single Wing is still a niche offense, used by less than 3% of youth football teams across the country. While you still have the advantage of running something most teams don’t see very often, expect to see more of it since it has been “blessed” by the Saturday-Sunday phenomenon.

It also means maybe us back-to-the-future Single Wingers were a bit ahead of our time. It also means those that decide to follow will have to deal with fewer of those odd looks from non savvy on-lookers.