Tag Archives: youth football offense

Spread Offense – Spread Formation Football Book Review

Spread Formation Football Book Review

TCu Spread Book

Spread Offense Book - Dutch MeyerI just finished reading maybe the best Spread Offense book; Spread Formation Football by Coach LR “Dutch Meyer published in 1952.  Coach Meyer was the Head football coach at TCU in the 30s, 40’s and 50’s.  He and his staff created the original Spread Offense used today.  You can read his bio to the right.

The Spread Formation Football book outlines why the Spread Offense works and how it was effective for TCU.  Coach Dutch reviews the two base Spread formations; Basic and Normal.  Basic is a double to one side and trips to the other.  Normal moves the FB below the TB and looks like a traditional Double Double Spread.  What is interesting about this first form of Spread is that what we think of a Quarterback was really the Tailback.  The first Spread formations were what we call in the modern era Wildcat since a “true modern” QB is not used in this early variation of the Spread Offense.

Spread Formations from TCU Spread

Spread Formation Football Coach Meyer TCU

The TCU Spread Offense was a running offense but with equal parts of passing.  “The spread tailback must be a passer. As observed before, the threat of the overhead attack must be constant if the Spread attack is to operate effectively.” writes Coach Dutch in his section on the Tailback position.  The TCU Spread evolved from the wide Double Wing Offense into the Triple Wing into a passing triple and double wing.  The TCU Spread was not an Air Raid but lays the foundation for the upcoming passing revolution in modern football.

I have run variations of the Spread Formation a few youth football seasons over the last 24 seasons, when I had the right talent and skills to do it successfully.  I’ve run a Wide Double Wing in the Spin / Double Wing variation I call Speed and the Beast Jumbo is a overloaded Triple Wing Spread formation.  These Spread like formations have been effective for my youth football Offenses when I had tier 1 Speed at TB and or Wings and a very good shotgun Center.  I was not able to run Spread effectively without Speed and a great consistent Center.

In the book, Coach Meyer talks about the player profiles needed to effectively operate his TCU Spread.  First, the Tailback (Modern QB) must be rugged, fast, intelligent and a good passer.  He says the TB is the “soul” off the Offense.  Basically the TB is a stud because he  wants the TB to be a “natural runner” and a passer.  So you need a Sammy Baugh / Dak Prescott in your backfield to run the Spread effectively.  And I tend to agree.  Your QB / TB position must be a tier 1 stud to really run the Spread Offense.  He must pass and run like a man child if you want to run the Spread in youth football and for that matter in HS.

Spread Offense - TCU Spread Book

I was surprised to find out his Guards must be top linemen with serious speed to pull outside for sweeps.  “On them will depend the success or failure of almost every operation” say Coach Dutch.  He says he wants Guards that can MOVE and THINK.  Speed over strength in the Guard positions.

The FB must also be a pretty good runner for the Spread to work.  The FB is going to carry the short yardage plays.  Your Center must be a stud because sometimes he will pull.  His snaps must be perfect and know how to long snap, medium snap and short snap to the FB either Left or Right.  The Slots or Wings can be average but must be good receivers.  Tackles are basically regular tackles and the Ends must be able to block in the open field and catch the football.

The book goes over many run and passing plays from the TCU Spread against a 5 or 6 man front, which is great for youth football coaches since youth football coaches will see these fronts.  He also reviews the umbrella secondaries common for the TCU Spread at the time.

I loved the theory and strategy of the Spread Formation Football book  I think it outlines exactly what I have been saying you need to run the Spread effectively.  You must have a passing threat  to run the Spread effectively.  Just lining up in the Spread does not mean you have a passing threat.  I’ve watched a ton of youth, middle and high school football games, and the teams should never run a Spread formation the whole game since they did not have a stud QB, great pulling guard, stud FB or anyone that could catch.  There was no passing threat, so those offenses were shut down immediately by Defenses that did not respect the Spread.  I have also faced stud Spread QBs and receivers that shredded me and others for an entire season.  I have also shredded teams with my Spread when I had the talent.

Like Coach Meyer says in his final chapter, “The Spread Formation is no panacea. Football is still football and the team with the best and most skillful manpower will still have the advantage no matter what style of attack is used. As we say in the Southwest, you will have to “have the hosses” to win the race.”

If you are interested in the Spread Offense or trying to defend against the Spread Offense I recommend this book.  I enjoyed the book and the theory of the TCU Spread.  I will be using some of the info both on Defense and Offense.  The book is a little pricey since its out of publication.  I found mine on Amazon for $95.  Spread Formation Football by Coach Dutch Meyer, 1952.

Here’s a winning Extra Point from last Spring.  Enjoy

If you have read the book or run the Spread, I would love to hear your thought below in the comments.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner.

Thanks,
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, TX

 

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Single Wing Sweep TB 28 Right – Favorite Youth Football Play

Ah, the Single Wing!  Love it or hate it, the Single Wing offense works perfectly in youth football.  Like football from yesteryear, youth football is all about running the football.  The Single Wing offense is tailored to power run the football over youth football defenses.  The Single Wing offense puts more blockers at the point of attack than any other offense and overpowers the defense.  And the Single Wing Sweep is all about bringing the house on the sweep.  Which is why the Single Wing Sweep is number 7 on my top offensive plays in youth football.  Many probably have seen a form of this play in the NFL and the pros call this formation the Wildcat.

Single Wing Sweep TB 28 Right Favorite Youth Football Play Best Top SW Play

Single Wing Sweep TB 28 Right

The Single Wing Sweep starts with a direct snap to the TB that is standing next to the QB.  The TB sweeps to the right staying behind his wall of blockers and climbing the stairs to the sideline and end zone.  The QB and FB sweep and block the corner and any linebacker flowing to the sweep.  The Wing Back blocks the defensive end or outside LB and sets up the sweep walling off the contain man.  The offensive line severe angle blocks down or left and the playside guard if uncovered pulls to help pick up flowing LBs.  The backside TE chips the DE and flows to the safety for down field blocks.  If the defense is prepared for the sweep by a wide corner or de, then have your running backs block them to the outside and the TB should cut underneath their blocks.  This adjustment is very much like the old Lombardi stretch sweep play.

Youth coaches should love the Single Wing offense or its variation THE BEAST.  Most youth football coaches think they need to run the Spread offense and throw the football to prepare their players for High School football.  Because your pass completion rate is typically below 25% in youth football, a pass play is usually a wasted play.  As a defensive coordinator in youth football, I love to coach against a passing team, because I know they are going to waste a ton of plays preparing for the future and I am coaching to win this game not my son’s high school game in five years.

Although the Single Wing offense is set up to run, you can always throw in a Tight End Pop Pass and Wing Fly.  These plays are very effective, especially the TE pop pass.  Usually the defense has put 9 or 10 in the box against the Single Wing and a TE pass usually results in a long gainer, plus it has a very high completion rate.

So what do you think about the Single Wing Sweep or Wildcat?  Let me know if you love it or hate it.  Would love to hear from you.  Please leave me a comment below.

Remember to play for fun and Winning is Funner!
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller, TX / DFW

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Thoughts on Choosing Youth Football Offensive Lineman

Big Center

A reader posted a comment a few weeks back asking; “What’s the best way to devise an o-line depth chart? How do you decide who plays guard or tackle?” These are two great questions and there are many strategies to develop an offensive line. Let me offer my thoughts which I am sure there will be much debate.

When I coach youth football players from 2nd grade to 6th grade, I prefer to protect the Center – Quarterback exchange as much as possible; Guard, Center, Guard. By protecting the middle we can snap the ball and the QB can make the necessary hand offs in the backfield. Your number one priority on offense is to get the snap to the QB and this is tough when your opponent knows you have less than effective guards and center. Another advantage of a strong middle offensive line is the wedge play in youth football.

Many seasons I have a play side line (strong) and a backside line (weak) so my strongest G, T and E will move to play side for better blocking. I also overload the O-line with an extra Power Tackle since pulling a backside guard seldom achieves the same success as an overloaded offensive line in my experience coaching youth offensive lineman.

Something that I learned late was that you should expect your offensive lineman to learn advanced blocking calls just like your running backs must learn running lanes, holes, and pass routes. Lineman can handle the challenges of advanced blocking techniques if you expect them to do so. Lombardi said football is blocking and tackling, so don’t forget to spend a majority of your time teaching your players how to block during your offensive time period. I know working with the running backs is very popular and glamorous but championships are won in the trenches.

And finally before moving to the individual offensive lineman position specifics, do not forget to involve your running backs into your blocking schemes. Many coaches forget to teach their running backs who to block and any adjustments for shifts or blitzes. You can’t block all 11 defenders with just your offensive lineman. Your main blocking back usually your Full Back should be able to block LBs and Defensive Ends in the open field. Make sure you teach open field blocking and how to push a pile to your running backs.

The Center

The Center is your most important offensive lineman. Every offensive play starts with your Center. Your Center must be smart, good hearing, understands ball protection, good hands, quick, and must be able to snap the football. Centers come in all sizes but I prefer big Centers so their size makes it difficult for the defense to see my smaller QB and harder to penetrate in the “A” gaps. I’ve had small Centers a few seasons and this is ok if your O-Guards are bigger and can protect the Center / “A” gaps. Lastly, your Center must be smart, know how to snap the ball and mistake free.

Offensive Guards

Since I prefer big Centers, I like my offensive guards to be medium size and very quick footed with good hand speed. Usually in youth football the “A” gaps are filled with MPP defensive players so a good Center can handle them and let the offensive guards pull, double team with the OT or track to the LBs. The OGs also must help protect the Center on mid line stunts and blitzes. We have a blocking call for “A” Gap LB blitzes to protect the middle. My play side guard will usually be one of my top blockers on the team and my weak side guard will be an expert at crab blocking (fill block) or quick enough to pull / track a play side LB / SS. As a general rule of thumb, slow FBs make great offensive guards.

Offensive Tackles

Your play side or strong side offensive tackle is usually one of your biggest lineman and maybe your best blocker, especially power drive blocking. Your offensive tackle must be able to move one or two big defensive players out of the hole with support from your TE or OG. The OT must be good at double team blocks and holding their ground when they are over powered by the defense. Your strong side OT must also be quick enough to deal with a stunting DE or OLB. I will give up some size for quickness for my play side OT. Your backside OT must be good size and able to fill block if you are pulling a OG.

Tight Ends

The TE in youth football is another position that is suited well for slow FBs or quick OTs with good hands. If you are mainly a running team, you may want to consider your play side TE another O-Tackle and not worry about catching passes. Last season, we played a weight limited lineman only player at our play side blocking TE because he was also as fast and quick footed as a FB. He was able to handle the DEs/ OLBs without many issues which allowed us to block other players with our FB. If we threw the ball, we would throw to a slot or wing lined up next to him or threw to our backside TE. At the backside TE, I prefer a tall medium sized player that is a decent blocker with good speed but has great hands for the TE quick pass play. I prefer tall TEs because QBs can find them easier over the middle on pass plays. The TEs don’t have to be fast but quick off the line.

When choosing youth football lineman, remember weight should not be your biggest factor determining offensive lineman. Look for quick feet and hands.  Our best blocker last season was our 85 pound half back / quarterback. He could easily block much slower 130 pound lineman without much trouble. We actually made up several plays called “playerX chow” so this particular HB moved to the OL so he could chow the opposing defensive player and our running backs ran over his block. Most of the time, a smaller but quicker OL will outperform a slower oversized OL. If you are drafting an offensive line, try to draft big FBs. These versatile players in youth football are diamonds.

How do you choose lineman? I would love to know your thoughts. Post a comment.

Cheers,
Coach Parker
Keller, TX / DFW / Fort Worth, Texas
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Youth Football Playbook eBook by Coach Parker

youth football offensive play book by coach parkerSince many of you have been asking for a copy of my youth football playbook, I put together a pdf ebook of some of the youth football plays I ran in 2010 for a 3rd grade and 6th grade team.  These plays are still in draft form without individual responsibilities and blocking call not finalized.  I do NOT want to give my opposing coaches all my complete offensive plays, especially since I keep running into more and more youth football coaches reading my blog.

The youth football plays in the playbook are drawn in my Speed variation of the Double Wing and Double Wing Spread Gun formations along with my Space version of the Single Wing and Beast  (Loud Rowdy Monkey) formation that I have been running since 1994.  The Speed plays can also be run from the Spread and Spy or my I formation variation.

You are more than welcome to use these plays in your offense, but please do not post large portions or the complete pdf document to other websites and do not use the information on commercial websites. Please feel free to copy, edit, update and customize the playbook for your private individual non- commercial use, but please do not reproduce for commercial use on football playbook sites or any other commercial site.  I intend to publish my complete finalized plays in my youth football book to be released in the Summer of 2012.  I wish you the best using these youth football plays.

Update – See here….. Buy Playbook

I would love to hear your feedback.

Thanks,
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller

Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

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