Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Another College Team "Steals" a Youth Football Offense

Darren McFadden
With Tim Tebow winning the Heisman, not many people seem to be talking about Darren McFadden. This talented Arkansas running back finished second in Heisman voting this year and in 2006 as well, the first time that has ever happened. Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt, like Urban Meyer at Florida incorporated the Single Wing into his offense. This Arkansas �Wildcat� series was designed to put the defense in conflict horizontally with McFadden in the �Quarterback� role.

Arkansas Runs Single Wing Jet Series
Below you see the Offensive Coordinator for Arkansas detailing the base series. These football plays sure look like a lot of the stuff we and other Single Wing teams have been running for decades. Later in the year Arkansas would run additional football plays off of this formation uncluding some using full spinner action. This base 3 play series using jet motion put lots of horizontal pressure on the defense and is nearly identical to our base Jet series. Of course unlike Arkansas and its zone blocking, we use an easier and more effective system specifically designed for youth football. Arkansas ran their Quarterback, Darren McFadden very heavily out of this series, whereas most Single Wing teams typically spread the ball around quite a bit more.

 

Applied to Youth Football
My youth football offense has featured the spinner series in 7 of the 8 seasons I�ve used it. We added Jet motion to our base with great results. Like Arkansas, we wanted to stretch the defense horizontally as well as give us another way to run our base plays along with the ability to get to the edge a bit quicker. Unlike Arkansas, we were able to run nearly all of our base football plays not only out of our base set, but out of a spread set and using Jet Motion. By doing it that way it was much easier to put in and very easy for the kids to remember. The only thing that changed was the formation and the motion for the most part. What Jet Motion meant to us was fewer “players in the box” and the ability for our offense to run what we have been running for 8 seasons with a different look. Unlike Arkansas, our biggest plays off the Jet motion was not the �Quarterback� keeper, it was the complementary plays off the Jet motion to our other backs. These football plays to our other backs averaged over 10 yards per carry this season.

Be Careful, Youth Football is Not College Football
While we have to be careful not to let the College game cloud the youth football coaches thinking, it is interesting to see some innovative college teams like Florida and Arkansas turning to offensive concepts that are being run by High School and youth football teams. They use simple misdirection, overwhelming at the point of attack and putting the defense in conflict and they do it without having to throw the ball 50 times a game or run the option which are both tough to put in with youth football teams. When coaching youth football, you don�t want to get caught up in trying to be like the college teams. You often end up asking kids to do things they aren�t able to do with limited practice time and younger bodies. If you copy the college guys to the letter you can end up with a scheme that often times does not give your kids the best chance to compete. But when it�s the other way around and the innovators start running the stuff you are running and doing real well with, it�s fun to watch.

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