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Youth Football Offenses – Which is Better, Single Wing Or Double Wing?
Double Wing- Single Wing Offense Comparison
For youth football, which offense is better, single wing or double wing?
Many of you may not know that I have coached both single wing and double wing offenses with several youth football teams. When I say double wing I mean a traditional double tight, fullback at sniffer offense, not a flexbone but a double wing with a toss power off-tackle, fullback trap, fullback wedge, wing counter, some sort of sweep (many options) and a toss action pass off. Play action.
I have prosecuted both offences
After careful study we decided long ago that my then 16-team organization would have the option of running a single wing or a double wing. We played in leagues of 70 or more teams ages 6-14. As recently as 2004 I was conducting a double wing clinic for youth coaches in my organization. In 2005 my organization went 100% single wing board. Personally I have been flying a single wing for the past 8 seasons. While many coaches who weigh in on this choice have coached one or the other, or sometimes neither, I have studied and coached both.
A double wing is a good offense
While this article is in no way trying to disparage the double wing offense, I want to share with everyone why we do what we do. I have coached multiple teams with both offenses as well as being in the enviable position of having taught both systems to 200+ coaches in the youth programs I run. Again, I’m a fan of all series-based offenses that can hit every point of attack while defending in a scrimmage, and both of these offenses do that well. I’ll always be a fan of great execution and offenses that allow teams with average talent to succeed, and both of these offenses work just fine. This is not meant as a slam to the Double Wing, I think it’s a good system and we ran it just for that reason.
Here are some basic reasons why I prefer single wing over double wing:
A single wing requires only 1 puller, a double wing requires 4. In non-select football, I rarely have 4 effective pullers even with great coaching. If I have a lot of athletic linemen who can pull, I guess they’re two way players. Do I really want to pull these 2nd starters out every play but the wedge? Most bases play double wing, toss, sweeps and counters require 2 pullers.
The single wing snap is very simple and secure. Too many drives die in youth football because of bad QB/center exchanges. In our version of the snap the “QB” is only 2 yards behind center and very low, the snap doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective and the QB has a 2 yard cushion if there is a problem. With leg to foot splits, penetration is minimal. It’s very rare for us to have more than 1 bad exchange result in an entire season (DVDs with full season games can attest to this)/ That’s 1 turnover per season, not a game. Indirect snap (QB under center) teams just can’t make that claim.
The single wing does not have a hard time executing the footwork for the quarterback on most ball exchanges. Just to give you one example: On the base off-tackle toss play that is a staple of every double wing attack, the QB has to take the snap over the middle (already more dangerous than the single wing snap), making sure he clears. Tosses the ball to the wingback with enough speed to get out of the way of both the backside guard and the pulling tackle, making sure to get to the wingback, then out in front of the running back inside the fullback’s kickout block while making sure to make a block on the playside corner. The toss itself often involves a drop step and a quick spin, and in order for the QB to have a chance to get out in front of the moving wing, the QB needs to actually toss the pitch when not jammed by some big noseguard. In the middle of his thigh.
All this means is that training your QB takes a lot of time in the double wing and you better have at least 2-3 QBs ready. Should they be great players? No, but it must be clever, like contact, must be durable and well trained, the offense is complex and requires precise timing, it is not very forgiving. Compare to a single wing “QB”, he rarely has to hand the ball off, doesn’t have to worry about getting run over by pulling linemen, and takes less than 15 seconds to learn to take a snap. In 2005 we won the state championship with the 4th string “QB”. Our 1st team guy broke his arm in Game 5, our 2nd team guy had a swollen knee, and the 3rd team guy pulled his groin after slipping on some wet tiles at a pool party right before the big game. We won the game with a 4th team QB who was out by right guard and had only carried the ball 10-12 times by then. I doubt many honest double wing coaches will tell you they can do the same as a fourth team QB in that offense.
In single wing we can get the ball to any player very easily and in very short time. In double wing you have to teach motion, pitches and handoffs etc. Over the last 3 seasons every one of my eligible players has carried the ball and 36 different guys have scored touchdowns. Once we get going it’s easy for any player to take straight snaps and run the off-tackle hole. Parents and kids love this about our offense.
A single wing has an unparalleled deception. With the single wing you can run every play in the double wing offense, but in every case the play is easier to get out of the single wing. But the double wing cannot run many of the series that the single wing can, including the trickiest series in all of football, the full spin series.
Single wing plays are hit faster. Most plays in the double wing take a while to develop like an off-tackle, you have to wait for both backside pullers to get there, the WB to get his slow motion toss and the QB to get out. the corner In contrast, the single wing off-tackle plays at full speed, with the “QB” driving the ball in a straight line to the hole, which is what we want when playing a very fast and athletic team.
It’s easy to break out of a single wing, we’re already in small shot gun formation.
The double wing requires very weak players, with the tight ends (in most cases) blocking 2 gaps inside to “shoeshine” while the tackles and guards free up to pull. There is no such requirement from single wing ends, although I don’t think the block is as difficult to execute as Koch makes it out to be.
The single wing gives the incredible illusion of being able to snap the ball to 3 different players on each play. The defense has no idea which of the 3 balls the ball has been bowled and is responsible for all 3. There is no other offense that can match this claim or create such a headache for the average youth defense.
The single wing was more fun for the kids and for me too. I got tired of running 3-4 plays per game and fell in love with the full and half spinner series in the single wing.
In the end, the single wing fit our mission better than the double wing, it was much easier to train and we got better results. That’s why we switched.
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