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The Double Tight Wishbone Offense

The Philosophy:

The double tight wishbone’s main concept is running the football every
down to punish the defenders. With adjustments in blocking and running we
can create situations that are unfavorable to the defense at all times. By
having the mass of runners in the center it creates an unbalanced field of 8
verses 7 throughout the entire game. With 6 basic strong running plays
backed by 8 weaker plays and 5 passing plays every game can be won.

Player Requirements:

The Quarterback must be a very good athlete but not necessarily the best.
He does not even need to have the best throwing capability. He needs to be
fast, smart, talented, and deceptive.

The Backfield needs to be explosive and very tough. Each player must have
the ability to run hard and block. The fullback needs to be the toughest of
the three but not necessarily the biggest.
The Linemen need to have 2 things: Heart and Speed. This offense is very
friendly to the linemen in the fact that it is easy to remember and there are
not very many plays. The center needs to be the best all-around lineman,
followed by the tackles that need to be exceptionally fast.

The Tight Ends need to have the capability of blocking every single down.
They will be needed to run pass routes if needed as well in emergencies.

Player and Gap Numbering:

The numbering system is extremely simple and easy to remember. The

evens are to the right and the odds are to the left. The 0 and 1 holes are
basically the center’s body; the holes 2 and 3 make up the guards’ body and
so on. The quarterback is 1, the fullback is 4, the tight ends are 7 and 6, and
the running backs are 3 and 2.

Where to run?
On a play such as ‘Base 42’ the ball can either go to the outside or inside of
the strong side guard. This will be determined by where the defensive tackle
lines up. If he is in B gap the guard will call “OUT” meaning he will block
out and the play will run inside of him. If the defensive tackle is in the A
gap he will call “IN” meaning he will block inside and the play will go
outside of him. Against a 5 front the guard and tackle block the DT.
On a play such as ‘34 Outside’ the offensive lineman will yell ‘OUT’ if the
end is in the C gap. He will yell ‘IN’ if the tackle is in the B gap. The
backside linemen will do the same thing (in a different order of course) to
throw off the defense so they don’t know which side the play is on. The
backside will be lying to the defense obviously and they will scoop. When
against a 5 front the coaches make the call ‘Inside’ or ‘Outside’.

This will be explained in greater detail later on.

Play Calling:

The first number will be the person who runs or has the ball and the second
number will be where we want that person to go. The only exceptions to
this system are the plays 44(45) and 56(57). Who carries the ball is very
subject to change though. The way a play called is very simple and efficient
when the players have the offense down. Two examples would be:

44 Outside Dive Slant (below)

45 Outside Give (below)

Further Explanation:

In the next chapter there will be more terminology that the line and backs
will use that will enable them to understand the plays fluently. The First
thing mentioned is the play (e.g. 44). The second thing would be where we
want the backs to do (e.g. Outside Give). The last thing mentioned is the
lineman scheme (e.g. Slant). These will be explained later as well. More
examples of plays are as follows:
36 Loop (below)
43 (below)

Terminology of Plays:

There are two forms of terminology to use for the plays of the wishbone in
the huddle. The first type of calls is base calls and used against any defense.
The second type are adjustments set during game time that require
knowledge of what the defense is doing. These will set the offense on the
correct path and are great to use early so adjustments don’t have to be made
so late as half time.

Basic Calls:
Base – Run the play normally
Dive – The FB carries the ball
Give – The RB carries the ball
Keep – The QB carries the ball
Inside – The ball carrier is wanted to go inside the base gap
Outside – The ball carrier is wanted to go outside the base gap
Option – Instead of running ISO we run option
Slant – The RB blocks the defensive end
Cover – The RB blocks first man coming at his man (option)
Slant – The TE blocks down up field (MAX)
Option – The line blocks the same, but reach more
Inside – The linemen adjust to the defense
Outside – The linemen adjust to the defense
Secondary Calls:
Gone – The center blocks up field, guards block down
Leave – The guard reaches up field
Clear – The tackle reaches up field
Empty – The guard and tackle reach up field
Lost- The play side guard pulls to wrong side (vs. 4-4)
Loop – Tackle blocks down, guard runs a SEAL
Combo – Guard scoops DT, tackle helps a second, goes to ILB
(Also be used for center and guard on a DT in A gap)
On – Tight end blocks man on him despite play
Arc – Tight end reaches up field (OLB on 4-4)
Crosser – Tight end blocks down, tackle blocks out
Smack – OT and TE block down, guard hits end
(The way the OT and TE block will differ by play)
1. This is a “Gone” call. It is used mainly against the 6-1 defense or 8 man
fronts (10-1). The backside guard scoops hard and keeps that nose along the
LOS to run him into the play side nose guard, creating a harmless pile in the
middle. The center doesn’t have a great angle, but the middle linebacker
surprisingly won’t see him coming.

2. This is a “Leave” call. The center scoops hard, hoping to create another
pile like the “Gone” call.

3. This is a “Clear” call. The tackle leaves his man to go block up field.
“Empty” would be a combination of “Leave” and “Clear”.

4. This is “Smack” while running 44(45) Inside Give. The goal is to draw
the DT to the FB (who doesn’t have the ball). Look at the hole…

5. This is “Smack” while running 46(47). We’d do this to make a big hole
for the FB.

6. This is “On” call (I also have a “Gone” call made as well). This is used
during option plays where the TE would normally max down.
After-huddle Calls
In – The player blocks inside
Out – The player blocks outside
Dog – The play should go outside the tight end
Tag – The guard and tackle double-team their man

An after-huddle call is not an audible. It is a call the line makes to tell the
offense how they are blocking the defense. If they are told to run ‘34 Inside’
against a 5 front defense then the guard would block the DT (he would yell
“OUT” to indicate that’s where he is blocking), the center would take the
nose (alone), and the OT will ‘Tag’ the DT to help DRIVE him back.

34 Inside (below)
The same system can work against a 4-3 defense. On the defense’s weak
side ‘34(25) Outside’ would require an “OUT” call by the offensive tackle,
he would block the defensive end, the tight end would block the corner, and
the guard would block inside. Another example of an “OUT” call would be
if the DTs in a 5 front were in a 5 tech (C gap). OT blocks out, TE blocks
outside, the guard blocks inside… this will leave a huge hole for 34(25).

“DOG” is used against a 4-4 defense where basically the B and C gaps are
shut down leaving the D gap (hence Dog). The tight end should drive the
DE to the C gap (or back is always good!)


The audible system is very simple and easy to remember. If the quarterback
doesn’t see something he likes he can change the direction, runner, or both
with different calls while under center.

‘RED 27’

The last number (7) means that we want to change the direction of the play.
So 44 Give would become 45 Give. It’s that simple.

‘BLACK 31’
The last number (1) means that we want to change the runner of the play. So
a 44 Give Outside would become 44 Keep.

1 – QB
2 and 3 – RB
4 – FB

‘WHITE 29’

This can be obvious to the defense but it works in emergencies. The first
number is the runner and the last number is the change in direction. 44 Dive
Outside would become 45 Give.

‘GREEN 39’

Green works for pass plays. The (9) means that we want Blue 34 to become
Blue 25.

Strong Running Plays:

This ISO play is a great play because when you delay the FB the Middle
Linebacker also freezes as well. The FB should run at a little angle so the
linebacker doesn’t have a good attack route on him. Against a 5 front the
“OUT” call is made, but not against a 6 front… against that we will run
outside. The great thing about this is the ‘Option’ call that can be made after
it. The line still blocks the same and the corner and safety are forced to
respect it. The tight end should make an extra effort to scoop of course…
This is the base power ISO for the wishbone. There are two ways to running
the ISO… one would be the basic power, double team at the line, run right
over them kind… the other would be the less powerful but better when it
came to match ups in the box. When you run double combo you do it
assuming the box will be stacked. When you run the base you assume they
are easing up a bit in the secondary because your QB can pass the ball. How
many times do you think that corner will want to tackle the running back?
Double-teaming in NON-EXISTANT. The backs are trying to find the gaps
and holes. The line’s main job is to keep his man at bay and not let him into
the backfield. Larger splits can be made to delay the defensive linemen.
Dive – FB dives into outside shade A gap
Outside Dive – FB dives into the outside shade B gap
Give – The RB dives into C gap
Inside Give – The RB dives into B gap
Outside Give – The RB dives into D gap
Keep – The QB keeps into outer D gap
Inside Keep – The QB keeps into C gap

Triple Option at it’s best. If the defensive tackles are trying to get up field to
disrupt the belly series then you run triple option and kill them with the
fullback dive. Even if the defensive tackle takes the dive you can still run
option efficiently even though most of the time they will be numerically
equal to the number of players running the option. The lead blocker reads
the second option (first guy outside the tight end) If he goes up field for the
pitch the lead blocker bellies up field and destroys the corner. Quarterback
should see this and follow.
This is a power off-tackle play. It is blocked just like 34(25) with the
exception that the tight end will max down. It looks a lot like the 34(25) as
well if you look at it. With a “smack” call the guard can pull and block out
on the end. When “smack” is called the running back and fullback should
block as if it were 34(25). If you notice vs. the 4-4 the tight end should
block out on the outside backer who’s close to the L.O.S.
On paper unstoppable. Against a 5-2 defense invincible. An off-tackle play
can be made out of this by adding the ‘Slant’ call. On this play we don’t
really wish to have the fullback carry the ball, we want to pitch it to the
running back to get the most yards. The biggest problem with this play is
that it tends to string out so much that the QB doesn’t know what to do…
this is why the QB can’t be afraid to run. Another good play that doesn’t
fool around with reads so much is “46 Combo”… explained later in the
“Additional” chapter.
8 Backup Plays

In the very small chance that some of the main plays aren’t working some
other plays are available to mix things up more.

This counter dive play involves a great deal of speed for the OT. If the
safety is fooled the play can result in a lot of yardage against the 4-4. If the
defensive backfield is drawn inside you can run ‘Option’ if you wish… you
just might to have the FB block that DT instead of the DE.

It’s like 44(45) with the trap factor involved. If the DT closes very good (or
too good) run a ‘Give’ or ‘Keep’ call. The play side tackle and tight end’s
block will vary depending if the call is ‘Dive’, ‘Give’, or ‘Keep’. Against a
6 front a ‘Wedge’ call might be used to mean everyone scoops inside and the
FB just tries to burrow his way for that one-yard.
This play is just straight out ISO. The blocking is the same as 42(43) but
there is no FB delay factor so it’s not as good. Run ‘Option’ if needed.
This cross buck ISO is great against defenses with a MLB that read FB.

This veer play is to help get a better angle on the dive. All of the calls
shown can also be used with the 46(47) Veer, considering they are both,
basically, the same play. An “arc” call means we want the TE to reach up
field and block the OLB. This “arc” call can also be used in 16(17). If you
like you can have him blocking the corner instead. Running “leave” for a
Veer play is dangerous but most effective if the center is good enough to
keep his man along the LOS.

This counter play is great against the 5 or 6 front defense. It requires a line
that is somewhat fast and willing to run that far! The guard kicks out the DE
and the tackle runs a SEAL. The FB picks up the loose defensive tackle,
while drawing away the linebacker(s) at the same time. Deception is a big
key… when executed properly it can lead to a lot of yards.

This miss direction series is great against teams that rely on the FB to figure
where the play is going. If their defense somehow flows with the FB then
use this to throw them completely off-guard. The blocking is just about the
same as 44(45) and no matter the call (Dive, Option, Give, Keep, QB Curl)
that blocking remains the same (except on QB Curl where the center blocks
front side). The hardest part is getting the linemen to remember that 18(19)
doesn’t mean pull like in 28(39)… but you can also adjust your blocking to
make it like that (which appears as such on the web page).
The line DOES pull this time. This sweep is also supposed to throw off the
defense because you can run a ‘Toss’ or ‘Keep’ call to run a QB keep to the
backside. This way there are little-no backside defenders running the RB
down. This is very good against 6 fronts.


46(47) Combo
If you use the call “Combo” with 46 Veer, you can adjust the play so the
fullback (along with the nearside back) helps lead block on the pitch (or the
QB belly if the DE goes up field). This resembles much of what Nebraska
runs out of their main Straight I formation. The line must reach their man
and at least slow him down.

Depending on how good your TE is you can arc release him or have him just
block the first man inside on the second (or third) level.
18(19) Sweep
This is a solid QB sweep play. It is basically a giant QB Iso with a guard
The blocking is very simple. The tackle blocks the first man down, the
guard pulls and hits the first thing inside… the fullback always has the
corner (we want him to destroy the corner).

38(29) Power Sweep

There was the old 28(39) Toss Sweep that was very good if you had a
smaller back who could make things happen. If you just want to run them
over (and if they are stacked in the middle) run this. It is a quick little pitch
from the QB so he can help block.

The variety of the sweep (whether the QB or RB handles the ball) is to add
flexibility to your offense. If your QB is faster than the RB than he should
take it. If your QB is of the larger not-as-fast side, then have him lead block
and get someone.
This is a fullback trap play with a twist. It’s called 40(41) cutback because
instead of a direct trap the fullback goes to the opposite side then he cuts
back into the hole. This brings advantages because it gives the blockers
more time to block the flowing linebackers and it gives the fullback a bigger
hole to run through this way. If the linebackers are flowing big time run this

6 Base Pass Plays

Blue 34(25)
The most effective pass play of the wishbone is 34(25). The Linebackers
think that it is ISO so they fill the gap. The QB should have around 3-4
options of who to throw it to.
Blue 34(25) Screen
The line scoops to the backside and then blocks up field. The trick is to fool
the backside into thinking that this is a 34(25) play and have them help
support it.

Blue 42(43)
This is a great trick play to use against defenses that have their corners
playing basically a Cover 1. We are looking for the throw back. The safety
should be playing run support.
Blue 44(45)
This is a desperate play action bomb to the tight ends. Hopefully you will
never need to use this in a game.

Blue 46(47)
This is a great goal-line play to use against defenses with corners that are
playing close run support. Having the tight end run a quick out catches them
Blue 48(49)
This is a very good screenplay to use when the defense tends to move their
backside to the play side very quickly. The FB screen catches them off
guard and it results in a lot of yards.

Tight-End pass plays

The tight end pass plays are a system of play-action passes where we send
the tight end a certain route while faking a 44(45) play. The goal is to draw
the defensive backfield to the LOS forgetting that there is actually a tight
end that they are assigned to cover. This works great against teams stacking
the line with the corners.

The way these plays are called is very simple. A ‘Right’ or ‘Left’ call is
made to determine the direction of the fake 44(45) play. Even though it is
not shown, the running back faking the ‘Give’ can go out to the flat just in
case. After that the tight end’s number is called followed by the pass route.
The lineman-blocking scheme is very simple: block AWAY from the
direction of the right or left call.

Right 62 (below)

The line must find someone on the LOS to block; we don’t want to give the
defense even a clue that we are going to pass the ball. This throw back is
excellent against any defenses because the play side corner is thinking ‘run-
stop’ more than ‘pass-protection’. The play side running back should block
the defensive end or first man uncovered if the tight end that is running the
route happens to be on that side.

Sending both tight ends out is also possible.

Left 73 62 (below)
A play like this isn’t recommended. The whole purpose of the tight end pass
plays is to get our tight end in a certain spot easily. Think of this almost as a
sneak pass play. Something like the play above would give it away. Here is
another example of a good tight end pass play. The QB can call a play like
this from under center.

Right 79 (below)

Lineman Blocking Scheme

The double-tight end wishbone offense is very lineman friendly. Here is an

outline of each of the lineman’s blocking responsibilities on the right side.
Here is the blocking scheme to the left side. Notice how it’s the exact same.

Against the Stacked Fronts:

The 8-man front is a GAM defense that relies on the defensive lineman’s
ability to control his gap. The linebackers are lined up just inside the tight
end and are suppose to jam him (slow him down so the stud middle man can
mop up). This defense is terrible against the option because there is no one
reading the quarterback. This defense is also weak against the double tight
wishbone because splits can be widened on either side and the defense won’t
be able to know which side the play will go to. This is why the double tight
bone is so great. Here are some plays against the 10-1.

This is a bit weak of a play but it can work nonetheless if that weak side DT
tends to go up field.

On 34(25) the splits between the tackle and tight end should be significant as
well (or guard and tackle again if you wish to run ‘34 Inside’). On the
option, veer (basically anything that ends in 6) the splits should be tighter. If
all this fails (and it won’t) just pass the ball with the tight ends!

Once again notice the splits. This is more like a 36 off-tackle play but it
works if that linebacker jams the tight end. Use the “Gone” call to send the
center up field to slow/stop the middle linebacker.
Life is good… well… not so good if you’re running an 8-man front. On
16(17) the guard doesn’t block up field if there is a nose or man in the A
gap. An “On” call is made to instruct the tight end to block the linebacker.
26(27) or 46(47)
Same thing. This works just as good. “Gone” call is made… and yes it does

“Gone” call again… it really does work… that linebacker won’t even see it
Double-team that defensive end to drive him out of the way.

Against Double Safeties

What I mean by “double safeties” is that the teams you play move their two
safeties inside to read the two running backs. There are a number of ways to
beat these kinds of defenses. On paper they can be seen as trick plays… but
in reality they are just exploiting the weaknesses. Notice that they have to
change their defense to adjust to yours; they are automatically at a
disadvantage. Giving a play a call can change it significantly enough to beat
these kinds of defenses. The 3 plays I show are the strongest.
If the DT doesn’t go for the FB run 44 Dive Empty or 16(17) Option.
In this adjusted 5-2 the linebackers read the FB and flow to the play side
gaps. This is the key in beating this kind of defense. The nose will try and
read the center but as we all know this doesn’t work to well come game
time. When the fullback gets in their backfield and their safeties are forced
to take him run Give and Keep all night.
Remember that the line needs to be fast enough to at least disrupt the safety.
Or you could just run sweep all night long…
More on Belly

The 6 plays I gave you don’t really go into the

wishbone’s belly too much. They key for this kind of
play relies on the linemen. The center must be fast
enough to get to linebackers, the guards must be good
enough to reach and base an outside shade, and the
tackles have to do some things that don’t look so
great on paper… but will still produce yardage.
The blocking of the center and guards are assumed… if there are two inside
shades as defensive tackles the backside guard reaches (or cuts) the man
inside him while the center goes for the linebacker. If the center has a man
over him he will base him. If the nose guard is in-between the guard and
center he will be blocked by the lineman he is closest to. If he is in the
middle the guard will reach him if he can… if he can’t make this very
difficult block this should be communicated.

This part is very simple… but the tackles have it difficult in some aspects.
Depending on your patience you can either have the tackles block the first
man off the line of scrimmage inside or you can have him block the first
man ahead of him like I show on the 44(45) Belly in the “Strong Running
Plays” chapter.

When the tackle blocks the first inside it can cut off any defensive flow that
the defense is running. In most cases this means that the tackle will be after
the inside linebacker… if the tackle can get to him before the linebacker fills
the gap you can run dive all night long. If this is not working you can call
“clear” and have that tackle block straight up field.

With this you can really eliminate the random “loop” calls and such. Now
you can mix it up on the line, and completely bewilder defenders at what
your next move is.

The highlighted plays:

44(45) “Base” “Clear”
46(47) “Base” “Combo” (46 Combo is better ran the way the “Additional”
chapter shows it)
Notes on Running Plays
On 40(41), 30(21), 56(57) splits of the linemen need to be made according to
where the gap is. For instance the gap between the center and right guard on
40 need to be split a little more against a 4 front to give the left guard time to
block the tackle. The same goes for 30. On 56 the play side tight end needs
to split just a little more to give the guard more time to hit the defensive end.
If the defense picks up on this split scheme STOP. Another thing on 40(41)
is technique. If the play is ’40 Give’ then the guard should use his inside
shoulder to hook the tackle just incase.

On 32(23) the fullback can also be given the ball if a ‘Dive’ call is made.
This would be used if the linebackers don’t fall for the fake... against a 4-4
defense he could be sent in the opposite A gap instead of so wide. This
could lead to huge yards if the inside linebackers don’t believe he has the

On 34(25) the play can be ran with a “Combo” block by the play side guard
and tackle verse a DT in the B gap. The tight end should read the DE and
make him overrun his assignment. If the DE goes inside the tight end should
run him into the DT who is being scooped by the guard to make a pile. The
FB should aim for the outside heel of the OT and block the second man
inside not on the LOS. The other lead blocking RB aims for the first man
inside. This way the safety is the only one left to tackle the running back.

On 42(43), 26(37), Blue 42(43) the play side running back needs to edge up
a little more (not so much parallel to the FB but closer) to have a better start
to the hole. The number 2 and 3 running backs are standing up and the
fullback is down in a 3-point stance. The defense shouldn’t see this coming.
If ‘Option’ is called the line blocks the same.

On 44(45) the lead blocking RB blocks the first man filling the hole each
time unless a ‘Slant’ call is made. If the defense is playing the wishbone as
a “hit the first man you see” then you can run ‘Outside Dive Give’ meaning
that the FB dives into B gap but the RB has the ball! When an ‘Outside
Dive’ call is made the offense tackle should make an extra effort to bring
that DT down into A gap (basically making him overrun the FB).

On option plays like 16(17), 26(27), 46(47) the line just needs to create
havoc for the backside defenders aiding the play side. We want to PITCH
the ball, that’s where all the yards off these plays come from. The lead
blocker can be assigned ‘Cover’ at the end of the play to just pick up the first
man attacking pitch. If they are playing Robber coverage then forget about
pitch and play out the option. On 16(17) the play side linemen reach up
field. “Combo” and “Leave” calls will be used a lot in this offense.

You can rename 18(19) to 54(55) or 14(15) if that helps the linemen
blocking scheme. Remember that the running backs need to take a counter

On 28(39) if the center is fast enough he can cut the DT so that both guard
and tackle pull. This would be used against the 4-4 or 4-3 on the strong side.

Notes on Passing Plays

The only thing the linemen need to know is that they can’t go up field, they
need to block away from the last number (on Blue 42 they block left and on
Blue 45 they block right), and they need to hit something on the line of
scrimmage. They can’t give the defensive backfield the notion that we are
trying to pass so they find someone as quick as they can or if they detect
blitz pick that guy up. Splits should be a little bit closer than normal.

Final Notes

Deception and Power are the key elements in the wishbone. If any member
of the defense is not sold on the fact that a certain person has the ball this
offense can fail. 34(25) is undoubtedly the most obvious play in this
playbook as to has the ball. Defensive coordinators will scheme and figure
innovative new ways to try and beat the wishbone and the line of scrimmage
will be crowded in most of your games. What needs to happen is that you
have to work on the option and deception factor of the wishbone. A team
cannot prepare for an offense like this in 4 days. Find the cracks in their
defense (and there are always cracks and weaknesses), have people watch
their defense and see what the scheme is, adjust to what they do and kick
their ass. Have fun!

Andrew Ward
14313 Lakeview Drive
Wichita Kansas, 67230