T Formation Variations; 5 Proven T Off-Tackle Plays – Part 2

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These are T Formation Variations with 5 different proven off-tackle plays in the different T Formations and alignments. See all the T plays diagramed. This is part 2 of the T Formation Off-Tackle Play Series.

The T Formation is the oldest American football formation. It originated in the Yale football program in the late 1880s under Walter Camp. Alonzo Stagg and Fielding Yost were also big contributors to the early T Formation. Pop Warner even ran the T Formation which was called the Regular Formation. The T Formation had a resurgence in the 1940s when the Chicago Bears introduced the Man-in-Motion and Flanker T variations. This new Bears T opened up the T formation to wider outside runs and passing.

T Formation Off-Tackle Play Comparison SeriesPart 1, Part 3 & Part 4

Check out my New T eBook – Look Inside

Also in the 1940’s, the Split T was introduced and had a major impact on many college football programs. At one time in the late 40s or early 50s about 2/3 of all colleges were running some type of T Formation variation.

The biggest differences from the traditional T Formation and the Split T formation is the offensive line splits. In the traditional Tight T the gap splits for OL will be around 6 inches to 18 inches. In the Split T, OLM gap splits can be 3 to 4 feet or even bigger for the Ends. But the biggest difference is the depth of the Quarterback. In the traditional tight T the QB would usually Belly and or drop back to the backs and in the Split T, the QB will slide down the line of scrimmage just behind the offensive linemen possibly running the option at the Defense’s edge.

T Formation Variations

This is Don Faurot’s Split T Formation variation. Coach Faurot is said to be the Father of the Split T option offense. The Split T formation variation was developed in the early 1940s. Bud Wilkinson and Jim Tatum were assistant coaches under Faurot at the Iowa US Navy pre-flight school during WW2. The team name was the Seahawks. Faurot’s Split T is also called the Missouri T, Sliding T, and Seahawk T.

Split T Formation Diagram

This is Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma Split T Offense with the QB Option off-tackle play diagramed. Depth and Width of the running backs in the Oklahoma T was determined by the speed and quickness of the back. The offensive line splits were intelligent line splits based on the Split rules for the play, Defender, playside, and or Defense but started out at 1, 2 and 3 feet for the OLM. I call them IQ Splits.

This is the Woody Hayes Robust T formation variation. Hayes coached for Ohio State State from 1951 to 1978. He was a power football coach. In his book Football at Ohio State he outlines three T Formation variations; Belly Series, Split T Series, and the Power Series. The OSU T OLM gaps were 1 to 4 feet depending on play, series and Defense. The play below is a Tight T variation and has tighter gap splits for the Inside Belly Series of plays.

The Bay City T is a regional T formation variation that is mainly in the State of Michigan. It is known as the Bay City T, Michigan T, Power T, Wing T and Dead T. It is a very tight full house straight T formation that uses Spin and misdirection action with only about 6 to 8 base plays that are the same right or left. In my opinion this is very similar type play series as the Double Tight Double Wing.

When I run the DW we will use this tight set up with the backs to warm up and run through plays. I’ve often thought this might be an interesting formation and now through my research it is real. Small World!

Since we just mentioned Michigan, here is Michigan State’s Coach Biggie Munn’s T Formation variation; the Unbalanced T. Munn would have his HBs pigeon toe or tilted toward the FB. This might be were the Tilted T name came from in the past. Munn ran a ton of SW, DW and a Wing T type series in his Michigan State Multiple Offensive System. Below is the Unbalanced T Off-Tackle power play.

Sometime, Munn would have the Center snap the football between the QBs legs to the backs. In this play, the 4FB might Spin Buck and handoff to the 3HB running the off-tackle play and the QB would lead or kick out the Defensive End.

This is the end of Part Two in the T Formation Variations Plays Off-Tackle Play comparison series. Stay tuned for Part 3. Read Part 1. Here’s another T Formation play; 44 Blast.

Below are the T Formation plays resources that helped me write this article.

T Formation / Offense Resources

  1. A Course in Football for Players & Coaches – Pop Warner – 1912
  2. The Modern T Formation with Man-in-Motion – Shaughnessy/Jones/Halas – 1946
  3. Championship Football – Dana X Bible – Prentice-Hall 1947
  4. Notre Dame Football – The T Formation – Leahy – Prentice-Hall 1949
  5. Football: Secrets of the Split T Formation – Faurot – 1950
  6. Oklahoma Split T Football – Wilkinson – Prentice-Hall 1952
  7. Coaching Football and the Split T Formation – Tatum/Giese – WMC Brown 1953
  8. Michigan State Multiple Offense – Munn – Prentice-Hall 1953
  9. Bobby Dodd on Football – Dodd – Prentice-Hall 1954
  10. Football at Ohio State – Woody Hayes – Ohio State – 1957
  11. Offensive Football – The Belly Series – Olivar -1958
  12. The Explosive Short-T – Homer Rice – Prentice-Hall  1963
  13. Power T Football – Smith / Andros – Parker Publishing 1971
  14. Complete Guide to Football’s Option Attacks – Tallman – Parker Publishing – 1977
  15. American Football How the Game Evolved – Herget – 2013
  16. Evolution of the Game – Chronicle of American Football – Francisco – 2016
  17. Wikipedia
  18. Power T Football

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Do you run youth a T Formation variation of a few T Plays in your youth offense? Is the Off-tackle play your favorite power run play? 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 variations and T 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!!