T Formation; Full House, Split T Offense, Power T; 30 Plus Formations

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T Formation

The T Formation is said to be the oldest football formation. Not surprisingly the T Formation was developed in the mid 1880s by the father of American football, Walter Camp at Yale. Fielding Yost and Pop Warner referred to the old T Formation as the Regular Formation.

Many modern football offenses can be traced back to Yale’s T Formation, especially after Halas’ Chicago Bears along with Clark Shaughnessy (Father of the Modern T ) upgraded the T Formation to The Modern T Formation with Man in Motion and Don Faurot’s Split T option offense. Not to leave out Harvard, but they had a Shotgun T variation around the same time as Yale’s old T. Very interesting. What is old is new.

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Take a look at my latest series on T Formation Off-Tackle Plays.

T Formation Overview

  • The Yale Formation / Regular Formation
  • One of the oldest Offensive Formations
  • The T Formation is a Power Running Formation
  • Pre Single Wing and Double Wing
  • Created by Walter Camp at Yale in 1880s
  • Pop Warner & Others called it “Regular Formation”
  • Passing Rule Changes hurt T’s popularity for Wing Offenses & Split T, Shifts, T-Motions, Wing-T
  • Revitalized & Popular in Modern era 1930s-50s
  • End of 1940s – 250/350 colleges running a variation of the T Formation
  • Run by Bears, Browns, Stanford, ND, OK, Michigan, Ohio State and many more
  • Clark Shaughnessy at Bears and Stanford – Father of Modern T Formation
  • Don Faurot Missouri – Split T – Veer Blocking
  • Modern T has motion and Spread-Out vs Tight T
  • Many T variations – Tight T, Split T, Motion T, Power T, Full House, Standing T, Sliding T, Double Split T
  • Older T was more Misdirection & Traps; like a SW
  • The T Formation is very Quick to the Hole
  • Split T is an Option Series with IQ OL Splits and QB down the LOS vs in deep backfield
  • Motion T is a Wider T Formation with shifts and motions better for Sweeps & Passing
  • T Formation is weak to the outside, strength is inside the Tackles
  • T Formation is not a great passing formation
  • Split T Option Evolves into the Wishbone / Wing T Veer Series

And just to drop in a Beast Offense tidbit. Since Yale developed the Yale Single Wing aka The Beast. One can see the evolution to shift the three T Formation backs right or left behind the offensive line to run a power dive play.

The T Formation became very popular from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. At one point 2/3s of the US College football teams were running some variation of the T Formation. Stanford, Notre Dame, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Delaware, Ohio State, Arkansas and Minnesota all had T or Split T coaches that pushed the development of the T Offense and or Option or Multi T Offenses leading to the Wing T. The Chicago Bear’s even have the T Formation in their fight song lyrics.

Check out my New T eBook – Look Inside

The Tight T is a very strong formation and good for power plays inside the Tight Ends. It is weak outside the tackles and Sweeps. The Split T and Modern T variations expanded the Regular T into a multi formation offense able to hit wide and expand the passing capabilities of the Old Dead T offense. I like the possibility of a Multi T Offense with Power, Misdirection and Spread capabilities.

Simple Split T OLM Gap Split Rules – Coach Tatum

  • Max Split When DLM Head Up
  • Min Split When No One Head Up
  • Min Split When DLM inside Gap
  • Adjust if DLM does not Adjust with OLM Splits

T Formation Names and Variations

The T has a ton of names and variations. So many it is hard to keep track of; see below. The two main T formations are Tight T aka Power T and the Split T. The Power T is all about, well Power; Inside Power and Misdirection. The Split T is all about the Option. According to James Tatum in his book, Coaching Football and the Split T Formation the main differences of the Split T from the Tight T is the intelligent wide offensive line gap splits but more importantly the QB’s depth is down the line vs deep in backfield like the Old T and Belly T power series.

  1. Yale T – Walter Camp Yale
  2. Tight T – Yale T with 2 TEs
  3. Harvard T – Shotgun Yale T Formation
  4. Regular Formation – Yost & Warner T
  5. Old T – Yale and Tight T
  6. Dead T – Yale and Tight T
  7. Power T – Coach Andross Double Leads
  8. Split T – Don Faurot Option
  9. Missouri – T Split T / Seahawk
  10. Sliding T – Minnesota Split T Name
  11. Shifted T – # backs shifted R or L
  12. Modern T – Clark Shaughnessy / Stanford / Bears
  13. Bears T – Halas, Shaughnessy, Jones, Chicago
  14. Straight T – No Motion T, Tight T
  15. Full House – Tight T all 3 backs backfield
  16. Robust T – Woody Hayes Ohio
  17. Multi T – Combo of T Variations
  18. Bay City T – Detroit / Michigan T
  19. Michigan T – Multi T style offense
  20. Arkansas T – Arkansas T Variation
  21. Standing T – No Motion T
  22. Belly T – Inside and Outside T Offense
  23. Double Split T – Pau; Brown Cleveland Browns
  24. Slot T – Kentucky – Homer Rice
  25. Unbalanced T – Munn Michigan – T Formation overloaded
  26. Diamond T – QB in Shotgun / Harvard T
  27. Double Winged T – DW Style Pop Warner
  28. Winged T – evolving Dave Nelson to Delaware Wing T
  29. Spread T – HBs in 2×2
  30. Pro T – TE / Split End / Wide Receiver
  31. Short T – T with a HB as a roving Sniffer
  32. Wide T – T formation wider (C/D Gaps) in backfield
  33. Tilted T – HBs are tight to FB pigeon toed
  34. Hybrid Winged T – Multi T variation
  35. Side Saddle T – QB moves to sniffer blocking back
  36. Flanker T – FB or HB becomes a flanker
  37. Flexible T – More Spread Motion HBs
  38. Gun T – more like a Spread T
  39. Pistol – Diamond T variation Pro Style
  40. Wishbone – Split T inverted Oklahoma / Texas

I did put the Wishbone, Pistol, Winged T and Double Winged T on this list. Some will argue these formation should not be on this list. But after reading many book son the T and seeing the evolution of the formations, I left them on the list. Just like all the T names above, each coach took the T formation and tailored for formation to their needs of their team and roster to gain the edge.

I’ve grown to love the T Formation. Great power running formation which is perfect for youth football. I will be adding a offensive play series into my playbook. I think it will be a great add to my play series in the Power Wing Beast Offense Playbook for Youth Football.

If I left one of your favorite T Formation variations out please contact me. Or maybe you have additional information on one of the above. Thanks!

T-Formation Diagram

Here is the spacing for an Old T and or Power T Formation. Of coarse your variation may be adjusted. In my upcoming Tiger T Selected Youth Football Plays ebook I will be using the Tight T as my base. See the T diagram below.

Some teams will use a straighter T and not off-set the 4 Fullback and other teams will move more into a Diamond looking T, and spacing with the HBs and FB will vary. I can see using multiple to cheat backs on certain plays. What do you do or think?

Here’s a T play from an older youth football blog post. T Spin 44 Blast play for youth football.

Look for my upcoming Tiger T Formation ebook. I hope to have out by the end of January 2022. It is currently in Working Draft format. I may have a draft copy for pre-sale by 1/15/22. Stay tuned here and my FB page or Twitter.

Do you run youth T Formation, Split- formation or any variation of the T Formation Offense and or T plays for youth football? What youth football offense do you use for your pee wee football team? Is there an offensive formation you would like me to draw up for another youth football plays ebook in pdf? Let me know.

Please leave me a comment below or contact me anytime. I love talking youth football and the T Formation and T variations or plays for youth football and of course the Power Wing Beast Offense playbook.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas

PS: Stay Safe!!

T Formation / Offense Resources

Just as an FYI, we use affiliate links for 3rd party books and products we may link to and refer you to on this website. We make a small commission if used to help pay for this type of content. Thank you.