We finally made it to my favorite and best youth football play since I started coaching youth football in 1994; Beast Right Tank. In my rookie coaching season with Plano Sports Authority just north of Dallas, I bought a Apple Macintosh football simulation game and started using it to formulate plays. I knew from my youth football days that the youth game is mostly running the football for both offenses and defenses. I think the game was called Playmaker football and it had several single wing type formations and I happened on what I called Loud Rowdy Monkey for Left, Right and Middle alignments of this weird power football offensive formation. In 2008 while reading about the double wing formation, I came across a paper by Jack Gregory. Coach Gregory calls the formation, the Beast, which sounds tougher and meaner than a Monkey so I now call it Beast too. From what I can tell in my research, Yale ran the Beast formation in the early 1900’s.
I know you are looking at this mess and thinking NO WAY is this football. I know I know, but it is not today’s football but it is early football. And most importantly it WORKS at the youth football level and if you search on YoutTube you can find a few HS in California running the Beast. So before you blow off the Beast make sure you read on because if you like the Wedge play then this is just a flying wedge trap to one side of the Center. This play also uses the principle of putting more players at the point of attack than the defense can handle. It is just Pure Power Football. Plus it is very simple for everyone to understand which is a big deal with 7 year olds. Look, not every youth football coach has studs and can run a Spread or have a few Peyton Mannings to run our offense. Congrats if you are a coach that has always had studs. When I moved to Denver, I was given a team of undrafted players just thrown together by the league. If I wanted to coach in the league had to take this team, so I did, and the Beast formation got us to the playoffs. Don’t blow it off before you try it. You may need those 2 yards some day. :)
I have run the Beast formation as my only offensive formation for two seasons, and both seasons made it to the play offs. So it does work. I now run the Beast as one of my power formations. We usually run one or more of the following along with the Beast ; I, Split, Spin or Double Wing formations. I believe in at least two formations in a youth offense, so the Beast works great as our power formation in most situations.
The play is all about the blocking. The play is all about the blocking. The play is all about the blocking. Yes, I said it three times. It is not about your running backs although that is a big plus. But you must block for this play to work. The formation starts with an overloaded offensive line to the right. They all angle block left and try to drive their players into the LBs. If they have a tough defensive line you can Severe Angle block if you need to. Your offensive lineman must try to keep their shoulders together to stay close similar to maybe a flying wedge. There can be no leakage playside otherwise the play dies. If defensive players start submarining the formation, have your offensive lineman use their arms like fork lift arms and stop the penetration then lay on them if unable to move the defensive player out. Because the QB is running right off the o-lineman hips, you cannot allow penetration.
Your running backs are lined up directly behind the tackles and tight end. I usually have our QB run the ball or my full back. So if the QB runs the ball the order of backs on second line are FB, WB, TB. See above play diagram. The RBs actually put their hands on the top hip of the lineman to give them a nice push to the left at the snap. They do not push hard nor do the push the lineman straight but a little to the left as the running backs step right. The RBs do not step straight but to the right. The TB or last back in the second line just turns to his right and blocks the DE setting up the contain box. If the DE tries to shoot the gap the TB must pick that up. A pre-read by the TB will help him see the DE’s intentions. The WB and FB angle block to the right riding the offensive line hips basically setting up a flying trap on CB and LB as they reach the second level of the defense. The FB should look inside for his block and WB to the outside. Once again, the RBs should make a pre-read and anticipate who they will block. As you can see this play is all about blocking. If you cannot block well this play will not work. If your team just relies on your RBs to make all the plays and your players do not learn how to block then this play will not work.
The QB usually snaps the ball on a quick count not to let the defense get set. Not giving time so the defense can adjust is a big deal. Your players must hurry to the line and get set so the QB can snap the ball. We practice the huddle break. We really do not want the defense over shifting their line into gaps and subbing every gap. We want the defense confused and moving around. IMPORTANT POINT…. Your QB will not open deep or eve a little bit but down the line. He must stay close to the hips of your offensive lineman. His closeness to the o-line prevents any loss greater than one yard on this play. If you are losing major yardage on this play your QB is running the play too deep. The QB should feel his inside forearm slide over the butts over the lineman until he sees daylight to turn up between the FB and WB blocks and ride the wave to the numbers and finally to the end zone. One last thing on the QB run. Sometimes, the defense stacks the gaps over the running backs and leaves a big hole over the playside gaurd. Many times there will be two holes on this play; the hole over the playside guard and at the outside tackles butt. Make sure you QB is looking for the early hole because the defense will sometimes sell out to the outside hole and the inside hole is wide open. We scored a 99 yard game winning TD hitting the early hole in one of our playoff games a few years ago. Our opponent blitz the tackle hole and the QB saw the early hole open and sprinted 99 yards to the goal line.
I know many of you think this formation will not work. But when I start running this formation in youth football leagues the next season I will have one or two of my opponents start running the Beast. That is a great compliment and reference to the success of the formation. The Beast is just a simple Single Wing variation. We do not run the Beast as our main formation anymore but as one of our power formations. I like to run the Beast when I need two yards or to run out the clock. It eats up a ton of time on the clock.
And yes, I am biased about the Beast. I started coaching youth football using the Loud Rowdy Monkey Beast so I love the formation just like many of you love the Spread. But, beware of the Beast when it shows up on your grid iron, do not take it lightly or enjoy losing. :)
Please let me know what you think about the Beast. I wrote the article today because a coach emailed me about his playoff success using the Beast, and he wanted me to breakdown the Beast this week. Thanks for that Coach John!
Play for Fun and Winning is Funner.
Have a great Spring Football Season,
Keller, Texas / DFW / Fort Worth, TX