By Bill Renner
Offense is such a personal choice. The type of offense you run really reflects your personality. No one can tell you that one offense is better than the other. It is a personal preference. Yet you need to understand different types of offenses: I, Wishbone, Wing-T, Single Wing, Spread, etc. There are also different styles of offense: time consuming, no-huddle, power running, option, etc. You have to determine what best suits your style or personnel.
For two out of three years we were 5-0 and playing our district rival for the district championship. They were one of the best teams in the state with one state title and another state runner-up on their resume in a four-year period. We lost the first time we played them. However, with a running back who had 1,800 yards and 23 touchdowns and four linemen who went on to play FBS football, we were poised to finally beat them with our running game. We didn’t. We lost 35-7 and rushed for 57 yards. If we were ever going to beat them we had to find a way to make them play out of their comfort zone.
With experience running the Wing-T, I, Power I, unbalanced lines, two tight end offenses, option, and a few others, I decided to create a style that fit my personality and allowed me to dictate to the defense how they can play. The result was The 5-Wide Attack Spread Offense.
What is the 5-Wide Attack Spread Offense?
I wanted an offense that limited the defensive scheme possibilities, forced them to play our style, did not allow them to attack with a numbers advantage and was simple enough to know what play to call. The 5- Wide Attack Spread Offense fulfills these objectives, by not using a tight end in the formation, using a no-huddle system with a change of pace with the ball snap, having combination routes that always have a short throw vs. the blitz and attacking individual secondary techniques like the running game does.
Limit the Defense Possibilities
Formations in this offense don’t have a tight end. They include 2×2, 3×1, and 3×2 formations (See Diagrams 1-3).
Not using a tight end limits the defense in alignment possibilities. Without a tight end, you know that they have to play two 5 techniques on the tackles or possibly 4i techniques. With a tight end, the defense can play a 7 technique, an 8 technique or a 9 technique.
No-tight-end simplifies the defense for the O-line. The tackles know that they will always be covered and the guards know there are always three in their “inside box”, two D-linemen and a linebacker, or one D-lineman and two linebackers. With only five or six in the box, the O-line can be easily coached on how to run or pass block those defenders. If the defense gambles and wants to put seven in the box, then one of your five receivers, four wide receivers and one RB, is left unaccounted for. With a simple pass scheme you can easily and readily take advantage of their decision.
Force Them to Play Our Style
The 5-Wide Attack Spread Offense puts five receivers, four wide receivers and one running back in pass routes every time. No one is kept in to account for a defensive blitz. There is no run blocking by the receivers. It is an attacking offense. The five eligible receivers all run pass routes on pass plays and the four eligible receivers run pass routes on running plays while the running back carries the ball. This philosophy does not allow the pass defenders to know if it is a run or pass when the ball is snapped. They have to play pass first and run second which is not what defensive coaches want to do.
The defense also has to keep at least five defenders locked in on our five receivers for a potential pass. If not, someone is wide open. To get a numbers advantage in the passing game they have to commit six defenders to the passing game which limits the defenders in the box to at most five defenders (See Diagram 2).
Most defensive coaches believe that stopping the run is the key to winning games. However, the 5-Wide Attack Spread Offense does not allow this. With a full amount of eligible receivers on every play, the defense is forced to play the pass first and run second which gives you an edge in the running game. If they choose to play the run first and pass second, it gives you an edge in the passing game. In either case, you can take advantage and run plays where you have the numbers advantage.
The tempo of play is another style that this offense forces the defense to play. In this fast paced, no-huddle system, the offensive linemen line up as quickly as possible. This makes the D-line and linebackers stay in their stance on every play prior to the snap. The change of tempo from fast to even faster using scripted formations and plays does not allow the defense time to think about what is coming next on offense.They are just trying to get aligned properly.
With pre-determined rules for formation alignments to the field and boundary, the receivers can get aligned ahead of hearing the formation call. This causes the defense to start moving to align with the offense instead of getting signals from the sideline or defensive captain on the field. The point is to make them play at a mental and physical pace which they are not used to and tire them out. It is a constant attack mode that never lets them rest but since we have practiced it over and over again, we are mentally and physically conditioned for it.
Take Away the Blitz
The 5-Wide Attack Spread Offense always has a short route built into each route combination. On a pass call, this enables the quarterback to beat the blitz without checking to another play at the line of scrimmage. Any adjustments by the offense vs. a blitz means the offense is being dictated to by the defense and is not attacking the defense.
In the run scheme, the 5-Wide Attack Spread Offense runs the ball in the A gaps. This makes both the B gap and C gap blitzes ineffective because they are too wide to stop the A gap runs. Remember, there is no D gap without a tight end. The ball is run downhill on the midline at the center of the defense with the inside zone play or a counter that hits quickly and splits a blitzing defense. In essence, you only need blocks by the two guards and the center to split a blitzing defense.
In the pass scheme, for the defense to blitz to create a numbers advantage, they must either start with six in the box or move someone to become the sixth man in the box (See Diagram 4).