Single Wing Offensive Formation Diagrams Part 1 – Single Wing Offense

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Coaching Youth Football Playbooks and MoreThis is part 1 of my Single Wing Offense Formation series. Below are the various Single Wing Offensive Formations that I have researched for the Single Wing Offense along with some of my SW formation variations that I use. Over the last 20 seasons or so I have toyed with many of these SW formations at the youth football level and written two playbooks (PWBO and WMSO) that outline my interpretations of the Yale Single Wing or Beast, the Notre Dame Box variant (Pie & Cake) and the Princeton Single Wing with the Idaho and Pop Warner Single / Double Wing formations. In my Wildcat Multi Spread Offense playbook I start spreading out traditional Single Wing formations which start to look like modern day Spread Formations. So it was never a stretch for Hal Mumme or the Eric Bieniemy to use the Single Wing in the last few weeks in pro football games.

  1. Intro to the Single Wing Offense Series
  2. Single Wing Offensive Formations

I am a power football guy and I love the simplicity, beauty and power of single wing football. Of course, I am biased toward the Yale Single Wing and Notre Dame box variations over the the standard UBSW, but I am an iconoclast and almost always difficult. Welcome to my world.

Unbalanced Single Wing Offense – UBSW Offensive Formation Diagram

Unbalanced Single Wing Offense Formation Diagram

The Unbalanced Single Wing is the standard Single Wing Offensive formation and is what the majority will describe as the main Single Wing Offensive formation. Pop Warner is credited with inventing the UBSW in the early 1900’s.

Balanced Single Wing Formation – FAT SW Offensive Formation Chart

Balanced Single Wing Formation DIagram

The Balanced Single Wing Offense was run by many teams. Evening out the offensive line helps with backside counters, runs and passing.  In the modern era, Coach Bruce Eien describes his version of the Balanced Single Wing Offense as FAT. I have played around with the FAT formation and arrived back at a more Notre Dame Box SW variation I call Cake which I have called Fat in the past.

Weakwing Single Wing Offensive Formation – Weakside Wingback SW Slide

Weakwing Single Wing Offense DIamgram

I ran the Weakwing Single Wing quite a but one year combining the Double Wing and Single Wing together after reading, Cisar, Reed, Valloton, Gregory and some others.  I like to throw out of this SW offensive tag adjustment and run Rocket Motion Sweeps behind the TB. I diagrammed this Single Wing formation since I heard that many coaches also use this tag.

Notre Dame Box Single Wing Offense – ND Box Formation Chart

Notre Dame Single Wing Offense Formation Diagram

Around 1910, the Notre Dame box was invented by one of the greatest football coaches of all time Knute Rockne. The legendary Four Horseman were coached by Rockne at Notre Dame. Constant alignment changes and motions with the backs made the Box more about deception than power. In the 1930s and 1940s the Green Bay packers also made this offense famous by winning several Championships.

Below are a few of my Single Wing Offense variants based on the above traditional SW formations.

The beauty of the Single Wing Offense is really the flexibility of the historical football power offense. Because it is so simple, one can easily manipulate the offense into more simplified versions or much more complicated versions like modern day Spread Offense concepts for passing the smaller football than was used in the early 1900s.  When I see the NFL Spread or the Power Spread used by many colleges today, I see the Single Wing aka the Wildcat to the younger guys.

PWBO Cake – Unbalanced Tight ND Box Single Wing Offense Variant 

Cake ND Box Single Wing Formation Variant Diagram

The above ND Box Single Wing Offense variant, Cake, is from my Power Wing Beast Offense Playbook. I see this as a tight ND Box formation with the WB and BB side by side, the TB & FB side by side with the o-line either unbalanced or even.  I love this offensive formation and the flexibility it provides my youth football players.  We switch backs and ends around for power, passing, misdirection and speed.  We adjust blocking back alignments to find bubbles or empties in the D-line and we spread it out with an even balanced o-line when we need to block a quick backside rush or want to pass. I’ve called this formation Fat in the past. To avoid confusion with another SW Formation, I am using Cake for the name now. I use the formation below, Pie, instead of Cake when I do not have a very good center, the backs cannot handle the snap or if the weather is really wet and cold. 

Pie – Tight UB ND Box Single Wing Offense from Power Wing Beast Offense Playbook

Pie Single Wing Offense - Nd Box Single Wing Variant Diagram

Pie is the cousin formation to my above Cake variant of the ND Box single Wing.  I use Pie when I am having issues with the shotgun snap.  I can use almost all the same Cake plays but leads with the FB when he is aligned next to the TB. For me, the Pie formation came before Cake since I grew up running the Power I in HS.  I saw another team in our league running something similar to Fat, Beast Wall, and the UBSW and I tried out Cake when I lost my QB one season before the playoffs.  We won the 12U Super Bowl that season using Cake. In that game we ran off the first 12 minutes of the game on offense.  Another great feature of the Single Wing Offense, clock management.

Yale Single Wing Offense – The Beast

Yale Single Wing Offensive Formation – Beast SW Offense Drawing

Yale Single Wing Offense Formation Diagram - The Beast

Now, back to a traditional Single Wing Formation that is near and dear to my heart, the Yale Single Wing offense. I found this offense on Playmaker Football game for the Mac back in 1994.  I ran over 100 play simulations in the Beast formation tight, wide, and double wide one night.  I must have scored 70% of the time because we implemented the next day with our 8U youth football team in Plano, Texas. This first year team pee wee football team, came in third that season and just lost to the undefeated team in a triple tie breaker. The Yale Single Wing also known to me and my players as Loud Rowdy Monkey Beast has made me a successful coach. Yes, I ran the UBSW for several years but I still use the Yale Single Wing Beast Offense each year as my short yardage offense or as my main package for younger youth football players. It is so simple, and this is why its the main formation in my Power Wing Beast Offense Playbook.  They are several other youth football and high school coaches across the country that run Beast Offense variations of the Yale Single Wing.  Beware of the Beast!

Beast Offense

This is the end of Part 1 of the Single Wing Offensive Formation series.  Stay tuned for part 2 soon.

I hope you enjoyed the blog post. If you have anything to add, make an edit, adjust, correct, please comment below or contact me directly om my contact page.

Remember to play for fun and winning is funner!
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas

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