Tubby Raymond and the Wing-T
There is probably no other coach in history that has had as much of an impact on this game than Tubby Raymond. In the Early 1950s Tubby and his staff developed the offense that would eventually permeate every single offense in the country in some form or another if not directly copied. That offense was the Delaware Wing-T. More than just a style of play, it is a systematic method of attacking a defense, allowing smaller less athletic players to be successful using angles and numbers on the edge. My personal exposure to the Wing-T came as early as I can remember. My father was a head football coach since before I was born, early mornings for me consisted of buck sweeps, bellyG’s and down options. At that point the offense was over 30 years old, now in 2017 it is still prevalent everywhere you look from peewees to pros.
Numbers and Angles
The numbers advantage of the Wing-T is very apparent on the edge. The wings are on the line of scrimmage creating extra run gaps for the defense to account for. This forces the defense to incorporate the secondary into the run fits, opening up deadly play action passing opportunities. Coupled with unbalanced you can place a lot of stresses on the defense. The numbers advantage also extends into the back field as it can be a true 4 back offense, allowing the skill players to share the load. The versatility of the Wing-T is on display today as several major Division One football programs have incorporated the Wing-T into the spread offense. Auburn and Clemson are the obvious examples here.
Probably the greatest advantage of the Wing-T is the use of angles for the offensive linemen to complete blocking assignments. Typically on the front side the blockers will “gap” block. Meaning they will come down on an angle on the first man inside of him to the nose of the adjacent blocker, if there is nobody there or the man disappears he will climb to next level. It is all quick pin blocking to allow the ball carrier to quickly get to the crease. This makes it possible for small, undersized, out muscled linemen to still be successful.
Conflicts and Misdirection
Play calling in the Wing-T is all about creating conflicts. You do this with play series and “companion” plays. The example we will use is buck sweep and bellyG. If the defender on the edge is playing to stop the buck sweep, then by nature he is leaving himself open for the bellyG. He cannot play both. When he starts to squeeze, so he can make a play on the bellyG you go back to buck sweep. Both of these plays place the secondary in conflict as well. This is due to the extra run gaps they are responsible for filling. Once you identify that the secondary has begun playing run aggressively you can then go for a play action shot for the end zone. The misdirection comes into play because the QB has his back turned to the defense after the snap and a fake is carried out for each plays companion play, further placing the defensive into conflicts of assignments.
Permeation and Evolution
Since it’s the development the Wing-T has permeated every level of football. I used Auburn as an example of how the offense has been incorporated into the spread. But how about the NFL? Lately we have been seeing some buck sweep and even bellyG in the NFL, but the Wing-T’s impact started much earlier.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Tubby Raymond and his staff began doing something that would eventually dominate NFL offenses. They started running jet sweep and zone blocking with the offensive line. The lateral movement of the offensive line and cut blocks on the backside would be the basis of the modern widezone. Naturally they also began faking the jet sweep and handing the zone play to the fullback, looking very much like the zone plays you see in almost every run play in the NFL today. Just like the buck sweep and bellyG the jet sweep and zone to the full back is about numbers and angles, instead of pinning inside, the zone series stretches the edge out, creating run lanes for the ball carrier.
Closing and Resources
As always please feel free to comment, share and follow with your email. You can also give me a follow on twitter @thecoachvogt.com. Also check out bucksweep.com it is an outstanding resource on the Wing-T offense. And here is a video of Tubby explaining why he created the Wing-T with a quick description of the buck sweep and the BellyG.